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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bakery...Rock Mass For Love and Momento...underground progressive rock from 1971-72

Bakery was formed in Perth at the start of 1970. Regarded as one of the leading "underground" groups of their day, they are remembered for their superb studio album Momento, the innovative Rock Mass for Love LP and the powerful single "No Dying In The Dark".

The original lineup was John Worrall, "wild-haired guitarist" Peter Walker (ex-Jelly Roll Bakers), Mal Logan (ex-The Rebels), Eddie McDonald and Hank Davis. McDonald and Davis were both ex-members of the NZ Avengers.

In the words of encyclopedist Vernon Joyson, Bakery's work: "... blended hard rock and country with jazz using complex arrangements. Their main strength was the variety of their music which could switch from gentle acoustic passages to booming heavy progressive assaults on the senses within the same song." 

Bakery released only two singles, but both were impressive heavy rock efforts. The first, released on the RCA label, was "Bloodsucker" / "Leave Scruffy Alone" (February 1971). By the time they released their second single in July 1971, Bakery had signed with the Melbourne-based Astor label, who issued "No Dying in the Dark'" / "Trust in the Lord".

Both singles displayed the band's main stylistic influences, primarily the new wave of "heavy" bands spearheaded by British groups Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. "Bloodsucker" was in fact a Deep Purple cover, sourced from their In Rock LP. "No Dying in the Dark" was very successful in Perth, peaking at #9 on the local chart, and it's the track for which they are now best remembered.

The B-side of the single was a track from their Rock Mass For Love LP. This unusual project was a significant thematic departure from Bakery's usual progressive/hard rock style. Recorded live at a mass at St George's Cathedral, Perth on 21 March 1971, it was one of the first Australian musical musical works of its kind, preceding the first Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar by almost a year.

Rock Mass for Love was issued in August 1971, narrowly missing the national Top 20, and it was also issued in the USA on the Decca label. After the LP came out, Mark Verschuer (ex-Barrelhouse) replaced Tom Davidson on vocals. Verschuer sang lead vocals on their fantastic second album, the studio LP Momento released a year later in August 1972. Ian McFarlane lauds it as "a fine example of European-influenced, heavy progressive rock" and Vernon Joyson reserves particular praise for the track "The Gift", written by Peter Walker, which he describes as "an eight-minute barrage of bombastic riffs, arse-kicking solos and swirling Hammond organ in the mould of acts like Deep Purple and Leaf Hound".

...text courtesy of Milesago