Greatest Show on Earth

Horizons/The Going's Easy

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This single CD contains both Greatest Show on Earth (GSOE) long-players: Horizons (1970) and The Going's Easy (1970). The octet features the respective talents of Dick Hanson (percussion/trumpet/flugelhorn), Colin Horton Jennings (guitar/flute/bongos/vocals), Ron Prudence (conga/drums), Garth Watt-Roy (guitar/vocals), Norman Watt-Roy (bass/vocals), and Mick Deacon (organ/piano/harpsichord/vocals). The band had actually been manufactured by EMI Records subsidiary Harvest Records, who were in the market for a horn-based rock combo. The group was initially signed in 1968 as an R&B/soul revue whose forte was more along the lines of Stax or Motown, instead of prog rock. They were requested to find a new vocalist, which came in the form of Colin Horton Jennings, a multi-faceted performer who would begin to compose originals that would allow the octet to incrementally abandon their Wilson Pickett cover tunes. They re-emerged after a few months with enough music for their debut, Horizons (1970). Sadly, the effort was all but dismissed. It was given a spin or two on the BBC's hip new "Radio One" pop music channel; however, that did not help it from immediately sinking from sight. Standout tracks include the buoyant groover "Skylight Man," featuring a quirky trumpet-led intro by Hanson recalling Herb Alpert more so than, say, Blood, Sweat & Tears or Chicago. One of the darker pieces, "I Fought for Love," is notable for some stellar organ leads and fills from Mick Deacon. GSOE got a chance to let it all hang out on the title track -- which has been edited for this double-play CD. The cut also allows both Prudenceand Norman Watt-Roy to display their copious capabilities as a top-shelf rhythm section. They dutifully returned to the studio in late 1970 to retool for their second (and final) LP, The Going's Easy (1970). The light and airy "Magic Touch Woman" foreshadows the similar treatment that the Hollies would give the track for a modest hit. The noir "Storytimes & Nursery Rhymes" also features some of the band's best ensemble vocal work to date. The album's stretched-out opener, "Borderline," is a group composition that lifts from the David Clayton Thomas-led Blood, Sweat & Tears. Even the most cursory listen reveals Colin Horton Jennings' bluesy lead as he practically mimics Thomas. However, GSOE actually one-ups Blood, Sweat & Tears with their exceedingly heavier and more exciting rock sound. As their first effort had also done, The Going's Easy was met with an utter lack of consumer or industry interest. Sadly, that sealed their fate and GSOE disbanded by mid-1971.

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