|Studio album by |
|Released||19 March 1971|
|Recorded||20 April & 23 May 1970, 4 January 1971|
|Studio||De Lane Lea Studios, London|
|Producer||Derek Lawrence, Engineer: Martin Birch|
Green Bullfrog is a rock album recorded by an ad-hoc band of musicians under the guidance of producer Derek Lawrence. The bulk of the album was recorded over two sessions at De Lane Lea Studios, London in 1970, with later string and brass overdubs. It was originally released in 1971, with reissues in 1980 and 1991.
For contractual reasons, the original album listed pseudonyms in the credits, which led to speculation as to who actually performed on the record. The musicians were eventually confirmed as including Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice, Procol Harum's Matthew Fisher, Chas & Dave's Chas Hodges and session guitarists Albert Lee and Big Jim Sullivan.
The album was the idea of producer Derek Lawrence, who assembled a group of musicians with whom he had worked in the 1960s. Guitarist Albert Lee had been working with Lawrence as a session player, and the original idea had been to record with former Screaming Lord Sutch bassist Tony Dangerfield. However, the sessions did not work out, so the pair decided to invite other session musicians and Sutch alumni and record a studio jam.
The album was recorded in two overnight sessions on 20 April and 23 May 1970 at Kingsway Studios (later De Lane Lea Studios), London, starting at 11pm. Deep Purple and former Lord Sutch guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had previously worked with Lawrence, and bought along Purple's drummer Ian Paice. Blackmore and Paice arrived at the studio directly from Deep Purple gigs on both occasions. Session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan was invited as he had originally taught Blackmore how to play guitar and was greatly admired by him. Guitarist Rod Alexander was friends with Blackmore and worked in a music shop on nearby Charing Cross Road. He arrived at the session to deliver some guitar strings, and was persuaded to stay. All the musicians had wanted to play together for some time, but were too busy with touring or session work to do so. Singer Earl Jordan had been doing sessions with the Les Humphries Singers. He put down guide vocals during the main session, then re-recorded all his parts after everyone else had left.
A few originals (penned by Lawrence) were played, as well as many blues-inflected covers of rock songs. Sullivan rearranged Lawrence's "Lovin' You (Is Good For Me Baby)" in 17
9 compound time to make it more interesting to play. The guitar workout instrumental "Bullfrog" is basically the Deep Purple song "Jam Stew", which Purple had originally performed for a BBC session. Blackmore played the main riff once to Sullivan and Lee, who both immediately created guitar harmonies around it. The track also features Tony Ashton on Hammond organ. Blackmore and Lawrence had both wanted to record a cover of The Creation's "Makin' Time" since Deep Purple were first formed, and the session gave them a chance to do so.
For contractual reasons, the musicians were billed under pseudonyms. Lee was called "Pinta" after an in-joke where he would say "I'm only delivering the milk!" after a second take of a song was requested. Ashton was called "Bevy" because he liked to keep bottles of light ale under his organ. Bassist Chas Hodges (later one half of Chas 'n' Dave) took the name "Sleepy" due to his habit of falling asleep at sessions. Blackmore was called "Boots" because he frequently wore suede cowboy boots, while Sullivan was nicknamed "The Boss" due to his respect from the others as one of the best session players. Procol Harum's Matthew Fisher, who played piano on the album, was named "Sorry" after his reputation of apologising if another take was required. Alexander was called "The Vicar" after Lawrence's habit of saying "hello, vicar" to him, and Paice was nicknamed "Speedy" owing to his fast playing style.
The first release of the session was on 19 March 1971 in the US by Decca Records, as well as a single coupling the tracks "My Baby Left Me" and "Lovin' You Is Good For Me, Baby" (Decca 32831.) It was issued in the UK by MCA Records in March 1972 after Lawrence played some tracks to company president Mike Maitland. However, Maitland had left the company by the time the LP was released, so it was not promoted and was not commercially successful.
The album was re-released in 1980 under ECY Street Records in the US. The reissue had additional sleeve notes written by Ed Chapero. The front cover had a quote from Blackmore taken from an interview with Guitar Player magazine in September 1978 which correctly identified himself, Paice, Lee and Sullivan on the LP, but mistakenly credited Roger Glover. Both Blackmore and Glover were unimpressed with the front cover quotation.
The album was remixed at Abbey Road Studios, London in 1991 by Lawrence and engineer Peter Vince, and released on LP and CD, containing extra tracks not on the original release, and additional information and sleeve notes including an interview with Lawrence. It was the first release that properly credited all the musicians on the sessions.
Four tracks recorded by Green Bullfrog have been published on the Ritchie Blackmore compilation Get Away – Groups and Sessions (2005).
- "My Baby Left Me" (Arthur Crudup)
- "Makin' Time" (Eddie Phillips, Kenny Pickett)
- "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" (Lloyd Price)
- "Bullfrog" (Derek Lawrence, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice)
- "I Want You" (Tony Joe White)
- "I'm a Free Man" (Mark "Moogy" Klingman)
- "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" (Joe South)
- "Lovin' You is Good for Me Baby" (Lawrence/Corlett/Hutton)
- "Ain't Nobody Home" (Jerry Ragovoy)
- "Bullfrog" (Derek Lawrence, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice)*
- "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" (Joe South)*
- "My Baby Left Me" (Arthur Crudup)*
- "Makin' Time" (Eddie Phillips, Kenny Pickett)*
- "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" (Lloyd Price)*
- "I'm a Free Man" (Mark "Moogy" Klingman)*
- "Lovin' You is Good for Me Baby" (Lawrence/Corlett/Hutton)*
- "I Want You" (Tony Joe White)*
- "Louisiana Man" (Doug Kershaw)
- "Who Do You Love?" (Ellas McDaniel)
- "Speedy" (Ian Paice) – drums
- "Sleepy" (Chas Hodges) – bass
- "Bevy" (Tony Ashton) – piano / organ
- "Sorry" (Matthew Fisher) – piano
- "Boots" (Ritchie Blackmore) – guitar
- "Pinta" (Albert Lee) – guitar
- "The Boss" (Big Jim Sullivan) – guitar
- "The Vicar" (Rod Alexander) – guitar
- "Jordan" (Earl Jordan) – vocals
- Watts 2008, p. 97.
- Green Bullfrog (Media notes). Connoisseur. 1991. NSP LP 503.
- Thompson 2004, pp. 91–92.
- Bloom 2010, p. 137.
- Watts 2008, p. 98.
- Thompson 2004, p. 91.
- Bloom 2010, p. 138.
- "Green Bullfrog". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Green Bullfrog (Media notes). ECY Street Records. ECY 16.