Ishmael – The Charge Of The Light Brigade – 1975

I know you’ve always said I wish Ishmael United did an album with After The Fire. OK no one ever actually said that but here it is anyway. This is a fantastic album. It has that quirky Ishmael sound a lot of us would grow to love. You probably never heard of this album but there’s a reason. As explained by Ken Scott (The Archivist by Ken Scott, 4th Edition)…

“Probably one of the most controversial Ishmael albums and banned from a large chain of Christian bookshops due to the song content. The lyrics graphically announced of the dangers of occult, the stupidity of preaching to seagulls and the problems of Church unity. Oh yes, and the first and last album that is likely to contain a song called ‘I am just a Charismatic’. The Ishmael ‘dry humour’ which was added to help lighten some of the subject matter proved to be very unfunny to the less jovial Christians of the day.”

Well that explains that. Low and behold it has a Rock & Roll song., “Sixth Virgin” which id a style we never heard from Ishmael or ATF for that matter. Personally my favourite track is the ballad “Spiritual Stagnation” which was years ahead in it’s styling, remember it was 1975.

Tracklist
1 – Charge Of The Light Brigade – 3:40
2 – Spiritual Stagnation – 4:21
3 – Mission To Seagulls – 3:21
4 – Simon And The Gypsy – 3:12
5 – I Am Just A Charismatic – 2:50
6 – Laodecean Church – 3:18
7 – Christian Straitjacket – 3:18
8 – Sixth Virgin – 3:32
9 – King Of Glory – 5:10
10 – Amen And Praise De Lord – 5:20

Credits
Design – Dave Gillard (2), Geoff Gillard
Songwriter – Ian (alias Ishmael)
Band – After The Fire

Companies, etc.
Published By – Thankyou Music – 1975
Published By – Word (Uk) Ltd. – 1975
Pressed By – Tranco Limited
Designed At – Gillard Bros Graphics

After the Fire – Signs of Change – 1978

After Peter “Memory” Banks Narnia project he changed gears and headed to secular music. This 1978 project was self produced and distributed and the original 2000 copies sold out in 2 weeks despite no distribution. The only band members that didn’t survived this version of After The Fire to the next version was bass player Nick Battle who was replaced with Narnia Bassist John Russell. When I refer to “This Version” it is because this album has a sound that did not continue on in their future very successful albums. It has a progressive rock sound that is actually very well done but I think they were catching the tail end of this sound so their subsequent switch to a New Wave/Pop sound for their next album was well timed. This album was re-released in 2004 by Roughmix Records with 4 Bonus Tracks.

Tracklist
1 – Dance Of The Marionette – 7:00
2 – Back To The Light – 4:00
3 – Now That I’ve Found – 8:10
4 – Signs Of Change – 8:04
5 – Jigs – 2:58
6 – Pilgrim – 11:22

Credits
Bass Guitar – Nick Battle
Design – Steve Bamford
Drums – Ivor Twidell
Guitar – Andy Piercy
Keyboards – “Memory” Banks
Mastered By – BilBo (3)
Vocals – Andy Piercy

Companies, etc.
Made By – Garrod & Lofthouse Ltd.
Printed By – Garrod & Lofthouse Ltd.

Narnia – Aslan Is Not A Tame Lion – 1974

Before there was “After The Fire” there was Narnia. Tim Hatwell, Peter Memory Banks, and John Russell all seem to have started here. Lead singing duties were handed over to Pauline Filby who had released a solo album in 1969. Now don’t think you are going to hear a version of ATF here because you’re not going to. This is a straight out Jesus Music album and Pauline’s singing in no way resembles anything ATF ever did. This album has very strong vocals and though sometimes they seem a little strangely performed it all works well after a few listenings. It’s always nice to go back to the roots of 80’s bands but sometimes those roots will leave you a little confused.

Tracklist
1 – You’d Better Believe It – 3:12
2 – Muddy Ground – 3:52
3 – The Juggler – 3:51
4 – Agape – 5:49
5 – To A Fountain – 3:19
6 – Miracle Of Birth – 4:08
7 – In The Forest – 3:03
8 – Boogie For Narnia – 2:37
9 – Living Water – 5:41

Credits
Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Tim Hatwell
Design [Sleeve Design] – Bernard A. Cope
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Kenneth ‘Ginger’ Dixon
Engineer – Nick Sykes, Robin Thompson
Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar – Peter Banks
Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Recorder, Vocals – John Russell (7)
Producer – Tony Hooper
Vocals – Pauline Filby
Written-By – Welch (tracks: A1), Tom Paxton (tracks: A1)
Written-By, Arranged By – Narnia (2) (tracks: A2 to B5), Pauline Filby (tracks: A2 to B5)

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – United Artists Music Ltd.
Copyright (c) – World Music (UK)

After the Fire – Laser Love – 1979

I was surprised to discover that this was After the Fire’s second album. In case you don’t know, none of After The Fire’s albums were released in the U.S. until the band broke up in 1982. Quite frankly while listening to this album I kept thinking, these guys do “The Cars” better than The Cars. This album came out in 79 and The Cars in 1978 so they were probably recorded around the same time so who knows who came first. I swear I will never understand why none of these After The Fire’s album were released in the U.S.A. or Canada for that matter.

Tracklist
1 – Laser Love – 3:28
2 – Joy – 3:17
3 – Take Me Higher – 4:31
4 – Life In The City – 4:13
5 – Suspended Animation – 4:52
6 – Like The Power Of A Jet – 3:07
7 – One Rule For You – 3:24
8 – Time To Think – 3:28
9 – Timestar – 4:36
10 – Check It Out – 3:21

Credits
Band – Andrew Piercy, I. A. J. Twidell, John Russell, Memory Banks
Design – Roslav Szaybo
Producer – After The Fire, John Leckie, Muff Winwood, Rhett Davies, Rupert Hine

Companies, etc.
Copyright (c) – CBS Inc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – CBS Inc.
Marketed By – Gramophone Record Co. (Pty.) Ltd.
Distributed By – Gramophone Record Co. (Pty.) Ltd.
Published By – M.P.A.
Printed By – Interpak

After The Fire – ATF – 1982

After The Fire has a bit of an odd story. By the time this album charted in the U.S. the band had broken up.

Interestingly the album charted in Canada quicker so the band was still together. The album is actually a “Greatest Hits” package and includes the best songs from 3 albums only released in the U.K.

Now that the history lesson is done let’s discuss the album. The album has a strong synth sound but I would describe it as a techno/new wave hybrid.

Of course we all know about the Der Kommissar cover but hey there’s other hits on this album. Checkout “Sometimes” for an upbeat fun song. The band has resurrected itself a few times with different members to tour and cut a few tracks.

Track Listing:
1 – Laser Love – 3:28
2 – One Rule For You – 3:24
3 – Dancing In The Shadows – 3:01
4 – Sometimes – 3:07
5 – Sailing Ship – 3:55
6 – Carry Me Home – 3:22
7 – Frozen Rivers – 3:33
8 – Love Will Always Make You Cry – 3:32
9 – Starflight – 3:46
10 – Der Kommissar – 5:43
11 – 1980-F – 2:32