Album Review of the Week: Humble Pie, 1970 A&M Records

Upon listening to Humble Pie’s self titled third release from 1970. One gets the feeling that the “pie” is ready to serve, that the filling is congealed! “Humble Pie” is a departure from their first two albums, which were more acoustic/folk amalgamations that had an “all over the place” feel to them. Like a lost motorist, the first two LPs seemed to have no direction. That is not the case on “Humble Pie”, as there is a strong blues/rock presence and a noticeable change in musical direction.

For starters, the original lineup of Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton sharing lead guitar and lead vocals was intact. As well as the rock solid rhythm section of Greg Ridley on bass and backing vocals and drummer Jerry Shirley, which constitutes an awesome quartet. So no revolving door of new players was required, what was needed was a new sound. Humble Pie was under new management, and the rest, they say, is history.

“Live with me” is the opener and builds up into an epic heavy blues/rock number, with Marriott howling in fine fashion along with sultry keyboards and Frampton showing off his excellent guitar and vocals as they trade off sections of the song in fine fashion. This song grabs the listener and does not let go!

Another standout track is “I’m ready”, a riff heavy funky rocker that is loaded with swagger. It is impressive to see two outstanding singer/guitarists trading vocals and guitar solos! The stage was certainly big enough for these two amazing talents.

“Red light mama, red hot!” is a quintessential Humble Pie song and a template for future pie songs. With suggestive lyrics, funky breakdowns and riff heavy guitars coupled with Marriott’s soulful howling at it’s best gives a glimpse into the future.

The album is not all blues rock, there are still elements of folk, country and psychedelia on songs “Only a roach” “Earth and water song” and “Sucking on the sweet vine”, which are a change of pace from the rockers, while still showcasing Marriott and Frampton’s talents. What is also impressive is bassist Greg Ridley, who could have sang lead as well as driving the bus. A band with 3 great singers does not come along very often!

Finally, the verdict on “Humble Pie” is that it is a good album, but not great. What is great is the lineup, it is too bad that Marriott and Frampton couldn’t stay together for decades. However, this LP shows that Humble Pie had found their sound and new horizons were ahead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu6JuXYPVXY

 

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