Rock Workshop — “Spine Cop”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 30, 2022

433) Rock Workshop — “Spine Cop”

Sean Trane calls “Spine Cop” a “steamy instrumental . . . where the horns offer a Chicago-highway to [the] wailing guitar. Enthralling and exciting stuff.” ( Rock Workshop’s first album (’70-’71) was “a bold attempt at fusing what would be termed rock jazz as opposed to jazz rock.”( Whatever you call it, it is a balls to the wall (can I still say that?) instrumental driven by supercharged horns.

Who was Rock Workshop? Sean Trane tells us:

Behind this bizarre . . . name (for a jazz act) stands one of the largest amalgam of British jazzers, but if anyone remembers it, it’s probably because of Alex Harvey’s . . . stance behind the microphone. But in reality, this was guitarist Ray Russell’s vehicle for some high-energy brass-rock that can be often likened to Chicago Transit Authority . . . . [I]f RW’s main claim to fame is their singer . . . I’m not far from thinking that the band is better off when Alex shuts up . . . .

There might be some truth to that!

Angel Air, the label that put out the CD reissue, states that:

Lead Guitarist and principal songwriter Ray Russell had been gigging with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames when he met Alex Harvey (later of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band) with his younger brother Lesley Harvey (lead guitarist with Stone The Crows) both of whom were playing in the musical “Hair” in London. Out of this meeting of likeminded musicians came the collaborative free-basing British band Rock Workshop – a very Chicago/Blood Sweat & Tears first-album brass-driven 11-man fusion outfit . . . . Both of these platters sank without a trace . . . .

The collective’s first album was issued . . . to great critical acclaim. However, due to their record company wanting to market them as an English ‘Blood Sweat And Tears’, they never achieved great commercial success. . . .

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