Liquorice John Death

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In 1969, after finishing A Salty Dog, organist Matthew Fisher and bassist Dave Knights decided to exit the lineup of Procol Harum. The remaining members -- Gary Brooker, Robin Trower, and B.J. Wilson,…
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In 1969, after finishing A Salty Dog, organist Matthew Fisher and bassist Dave Knights decided to exit the lineup of Procol Harum. The remaining members -- Gary Brooker, Robin Trower, and B.J. Wilson, in the course of reshaping the band -- added Chris Copping, who played both bass and keyboards had been part of the original lineup of the Paramounts, whence the rest of Procol Harum had come. The new version of the band was still working out their sound with neophyte producer Chris Thomas and in mid-January of 1970 decided to head to Abbey Road Studios for a series of informal demo sessions, devoted to straight-ahead rock & roll of the kind that they'd played as the Paramounts.

The sessions, which were never intended for release but more as practice for all concerned, were jokingly credited to Licorice John Death & the All-Stars, a name once suggested by Dave Mundy, a session singer and an old friend of Gary Brooker's. The 38 songs from the sessions yielded 13 tracks that Thomas mixed, six of which were released (with the blessing of the participants) by EMI 28 years later in tandem with the original Paramounts' tracks on Abbey Road Decade 1963-1970 CD. Interestingly, these sides may have been informal demos to work out the group's sound and give Thomas a chance to practice working with the band, but they did anticipate the harder rocking sound that the reconstituted Procol Harum debuted on its next album, Home.