Noel Redding's claim to fame, of course, was that he was the bass player in the Jimi Hendrix Experience during the 1960s. After that, he was able to leverage his notoriety into major-label record contracts for two bands, Fat Mattress and the Noel Redding Band, each of which managed to release two albums, though the results were commercially negligible. A quarter-century later, One Way Records licensed the two Noel Redding Band albums, 1975's Clonakilty Cowboys and 1976's Blowin', for this two-fer CD. Redding, who considered himself a guitarist before agreeing to play bass behind Hendrix, took the guitarist's chair back in Fat Mattress, but with the Noel Redding Band he returned to bass, giving lead guitar chores to Eric Bell. In both bands, he hired lead singers to front the group. In the case of his self-named ensemble, that was David Clarke, who also figured heavily in the songwriting, contributing to all but three of the 20 tracks on the two albums and writing six of them alone. So, this must be considered music made by a group of which Redding happens to be a member, rather than a real showcase for Redding. No one should buy it expecting to hear something like Hendrix. The Noel Redding Band played typical, in fact, nearly generic, mid-'70s British rock, with Clarke's whiskey voice often recalling Ian Hunter even as the group often sounded like Mott the Hoople. (Redding seems to handle some of the lead singing, as does Andy Kelly on Blowin', but none of the singing is impressive.) The songwriting, like the playing, was mediocre and cliché-filled. Hendrix completists and those with a fondness for '70s British rock that extends to its minor performers may want to seek this out, but no one else.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann