26 February 2021 (released)
25 January 2021
This band only existed for two years and two albums but the lineup included one bona fide pop star, 2 future members of Uriah Heep and a future member of Jethro Tull.
The two albums were also excellent examples of the British Progressive Rock scene with the first an absolute belter.
The band were formed by Cliff Bennet, previously with Cliff Bennet & The Rabble Rousers who had had two top 10 singles hits in the sixties, Ken Hensley on guitar & keys, Lee Kerslake on drums & vocals, John Glascock on bass (later to play with Jethro Tull) and Mox Gowland on flute & harmonica. Production was by Jonathon Peel (not the Radio 1 DJ) who was virtually the house progressive producer at EMI for its various labels.
For the second album Kerslake & Hensley had left to join Uriah Heep and Brian Glascock had joined on drums along with Alan Kendall on guitars.
As an intriguing aside the late & great Peter Green plays on the 12 Bar ‘There’ll Be Changes’ although he has never been credited before.
So, what were Toe Fat musically? If I were to be harsh, I’d say that they were fairly typical Progressive Blues – fuzzed guitar lines, belted out vocals – you know the type.
But they go a fair way past that: Bennet’s vocals are soulful and throaty but he has the ability to handle the more melodic stuff too while both Hensley and Kendall are very capable guitarists and the solos on these two albums are really excellent. Lee Kerslake’s drumming is powerful and has real subtlety while Brian Glascock is a more straight ahead type of drummer but his tom tom work really brings extra punch to the music.
The second album is a little more straightforward Blues while the first really does have a sound that is different to the rest.
If you aren’t already familiar with this band then it’s a great place to start and if you have earlier releases then this is still worth getting for some superb remastering by Ben Wiseman - the sound quality really is very good indeed.