Pacific Drift — “God Has Given Me”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 13, 2022


550) Pacific Drift — “God Has Given Me”

Manchester United! — Pacific Drift was a brief stopover point for members/members-to-be of Wimple Winch, Sponge and Blodwyn Pig. The Drift’s sole album (’70) was, as David Wells describes, “a sparkling, West Coast-influenced amalgam of post-psychedelic pop and early progressive rock, skillfully weaving [together] wistful hippie laments and riff-laden rockers”. ( “God Has Given Me” is indeed sparkling, wistful, hippie, West-Coast (and we ain’t talkin’ Liverpool) -influenced prog rock.

All Music Guide notes that:

This UK band, formed in the late 60s, comprised Barry Reynolds (guitar/vocals), Brian Shapman (keyboards/vocals), Graham Harrop (bass) and Lawrence Arendes aka Larry King (drums). King, formerly of Liverpool’s Wimple Winch [see #49, 384], founded this new quartet from the ashes of Sponge, a jazz rock unit that imploded when saxophonist Jack Lancaster left in 1968 to join Blodwyn Pig. The quartet’s debut single, a version of Spirit’s ‘Water Woman’, was followed by a self-titled album in 1970. However, although they appeared live at the requisite underground haunts and festivals, Pacific Drift were unable to sustain a career and split up by the end of the year.

David Wells adds:

Released to widespread indifference back in January 1970, Manchester band Pacific Drift’s album Feelin’ Free surely deserved a better fate. . . . Though their sole album wouldn’t emerge until the dawn of the Seventies, Pacific Drift had been around for some while by that point. A product of the highly incestuous Manchester group scene of the mid-to-late Sixties, they had first come together in 1967 as the Sponge – essentially an updated, psychedelic-era version of the Tony Merrick Scene, with singer Merrick and guitarist Graham Harrop involved alongside other musicians, including an Asian drummer. But there were several early personnel changes, culminating with Merrick leaving in early 1968 to form a new Manchester ‘supergroup’, Sweet Marriage. Barry Reynolds . . . quit in late September to link up again with Jack Lancaster in Blodwyn Pig, Pacific Drift duly imploded. Brian Chapman hooked up with Chicken Shack, Graham Harrap reunited with a couple of his old Toggery Five colleagues in Young & Renshaw, and Larry Arends left the full-time music scene to move into photography.

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