2.12.2009

Fire: Underground and Overhead; The Alternative Fire (UK, 1967/69)

Formed in Hounslow, Middlesex, in 1966, and originally known as Friday's Chyld, their first 45 was a fine slice of pop psychedelia complete with frantic chord changes and a catchy tune on the 'A' side, whilst the 'B' side was almost as good. Their second 45 lacked the sparkle of the first, however, and is consequently far less sought-after and expensive to obtain.
Prior to recording their first 45, they cut some demo's in early '67 at R.G. Jones' Morden studio, and auditioned for Decca with demo versions of Father's Name Is Dad and Treacle Toffee World. Suitably smitten, Decca offered them a deal, and on the strength of the recordings, they were also signed by Apple Publishing.
Their first 45 was released in March '68, many months after it had been recorded, and two versions exist - after Paul McCartney heard it on the radio, he arranged for the band to recut the 'A' side with backing vocals, and doubled guitar riffs an octave higher... It didn't make much difference however, although both versions have now been preserved on the Underground and Overhead album. Following this failure, the band recorded a number of demo tracks, many of which are again featured on the Underground...

Rather inexplicably, both sides of the Round The Gum Tree were written by Mike Berry, head of Apple Publishing, after he had rejected all of The Fire's demos as 'unsuitable'. The band refused to play on the disc, and The Fire's contribution to the 45 is limited to Lambert's vocal on the 'A' side.
With their relationship with Decca and Apple Publishing damaged, the band set about demo'ing tracks for what would become The Magic Shoemaker a concept album that revolved around a cobbler and a pair of magic shoes.

their 1st lp here


23 comments:

Anonymous said...

The origins of Fire can be traced back to their formation in 1966, in Hounslow, Middlesex, near the Heathrow Airport. The trio -- David Lambert (vocals/keyboards/guitar), Dick Dufall (bass/vocals), and Bob Voice (drums/vocals) -- originally were called Friday's Chyld, and released one single before changing their name. Based on the promise of their next batch of demos, they were offered a contract by Decca Records, in 1967. Their managers also negotiated a publishing deal with Mike Berry, head of Apple Records' publishing division. Fire's first single -- "Father's Name Was Dad" -- was produced by Decca staff producer Tony Clarke, but wasn't released until several months later, in March 1968, before being withdrawn a week later. Apple's Paul McCartney heard the track, however, and arranged for Fire to record it again, this time with Lambert doubling his guitar parts (they were also brought up an octave). Macca's improved mix was re-released, but it too failed to chart.

The band's next batch of demos were rejected, but the band was persuaded to record "'Round the Gum Tree," which had been written by Apple's Berry. This didn't sit well with Fire, and they refused to play on it, although Lambert eventually agreed to provide the A-side's lead vocal. The single was released, with minor results, in November 1968, and Fire was dropped by Decca. Pye Records eventually signed a licensing agreement with the band's management. In January 1970, the band began recording The Magic Shoemaker, a whimsical concept album about a shoe cobbler named Mark and his pair of magic shoes. This time, Fire was assisted by the Strawbs' frontman Dave Cousins on banjo, and guitarist Paul Brett (of Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera). When it failed to perform, Fire disbanded.

Voice and Dufall joined Paul Brett's Sage in 1970, while Lambert did session work and recorded demos with the Strawbs' Rick Wakeman. He later provided soundtrack music for a Michael Caine movie, X, Y and Zee, before being recruited to join the King Earl Boogie Band (they had evolved from the chart-topping act Mungo Jerry). Shortly after the release of their Trouble at T'Mill album, Lambert accepted Cousins' invitation to join the Strawbs, who were moving in a more prog rock-glam direction. Lambert also guested on Cousins' solo album, Two Weeks Last Summer, and after the Strawbs broke up, recorded his own solo album, Framed, released in 1979. Today, Lambert works a ski instructor in Austria. Fire's "Father's Name With Dad" frequently appears on compilations of British psych-pop, including Nuggets II, and many others.

Pablo"Pochola"Cazorla said...

Passw:
mza-garage.blogspot.com

(one of my favourite bands,this cd is just outstanding! ! ! )

vega said...

Many thanks for this post,great blog keep up the great work,thanks again.I don't no if you are aware but there is a article about 'Fire'in the new Shindig magazine as they reformed and did two gig in December last year.

mad4music said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've always wanted to hear more from this group besides "My Father..."---which is such a killer song!

alessandro said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi,
thankyou very much for this Album !
I'm looking since long time for "'Round the Gum Tree,"
Can you help me wit this Song ?

kind regards Ron

Anonymous said...

Hi, there is a terrific Fire Myspace site (I know - I run it!!! Ok, modesty was never my strong point!) Seriously, all the information about the band can be found at www.myspace.com/2007fire
and that includes information about the album released in October 2008 - "The Magic Shoemaker Live" (Angel Air Records).

The album includes STUNNINGLY GOOD live versions of "Father's Name is Dad", "Treacle Toffee World" (Fire classics, recorded by countless artists including samples by The Pet Shop Boys (!!) and the entire "Magic Shoemaker", which had never been performed all the way through before.

Please visit the Myspace and join up! I'm happy to answer questions, and so is Dave Lambert so if you send any via the Myspace I'll pass them on to him.

And by the way...he isnt still a ski-instructor! He rejoined Strawbs in 1998 and has been constantly gigging and recording with them ever since - they are touring the UK at the moment as a 3 piece acoustic outfit(actually, they were in Italy last night!) - Strawbs (electric 5 piece) will be in Canada in March, have a lengthy tour of the UK in May, etc. etc. A new Strawbs album was released last year too, The Broken Hearted Bride.
All info on Dave's work with Strawbs at www.myspace.com/davelambert07.

Get along to a gig if you can - I'm sure you'll enjoy it, and Dave loves to meet fans after shows.

Cheers!

Pablo"Pochola"Cazorla said...

hey man thanks x your comment ! !
shure next post of Fire will be those live albums! !

stay in tune!
Cheers!

Anonymous said...

thanks for what is an amazing album and band- your site look amazing. Can you please tell me the password for this album please and keep up the excellent work.

stevedarn said...

can anybody provide an alternative link to this album? The Turkish government have blocked Megaupload.

Pablo"Pochola"Cazorla said...

PASSWORD:
mza-garage.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hey Pablo!!! Did you find Fire´s Magic shoemaker live 2007 /2008 ? It is a f***** drag that no one has posted it yet!!! I've searched the web and there's no sign of it. Hope you have better luck than i!!!
Cool Blog!! Cheers.

Pablo"Pochola"Cazorla said...

Hi mate ! ! stilll havent found a copy of this live album! lets keep an eye for it ahg?
chirs-stay in tune

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris!!! I've got it!!!! I Bought The Magic Shoemaker live! (There was no other f****** way to get it). It rocks!!!! I'd like to make that contribution to your blog, if you don't mind.
Cheers.
James

Anonymous said...

Sorry, i meant Pablo. (Chris is another cool blogger)

Pablo Cazorla (a.k.a. The Bomber) said...

heheh Chris and I (jajaj) want that album very very muuchhh (ooo)

It would be great if you can upload it and share it with us James ! !
Cheers mate
waiting x you.

Anonymous said...

Ok Pablo tell me how to upload it.

Cheers.
James

Pablo Cazorla (a.k.a. The Bomber) said...

Ok James:
1st rip the cd of course...to mp3 (you know how dont you?)
in the bitrate you want, 128, 256 ,320 (if possible)
then zip those files (using win zip or rar)
2nd go to
http://megaupload.com/
and upload the album in the part that says explore, add the zip or rar file (the whole folder)
and upload it..it would take some time and then it will be appear the link that you created.

Let me know if anything happens.

CHeers my friend.

Anonymous said...

ok Pablo, I let u know.

Cheers.
James

Anonymous said...

Hey Pablo! I'm uploading it at 320. Available in 3 hours. Tried to encode it with your pass(mza-garage.blogspot.com)but couldn't. As you may know by now, i'm quite a technological ass so I leave all the encoding and reviewing up to you.
When ready i'll paste the link.
Cheers
James

Anonymous said...

Hey Brother, may this serves you well: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=2FXFR3Y3
And don't forget, whenever you're in ecstasy listening to this record, the name of James Apio, the first man who posted it in the whole f****** WWW!! (ho ho ho) No seriously, enjoy compadre!!! By the way, i'd like to check out what's in store in Pablo`s Private Garage, d'you think it would be possible?

Cheers bro'
James

Alex Cruz said...

I found this on Google - check it out: www.reelinintheyears.com/britishinvasion - What you think?

The Bomber said...

Hi there Alex!
try to get it if you can...Gerry&Hermans are nice, I dont like the Small Faces that much, or Dusty, but quite enjoyable.

Cheers!