Friday, 20 April 2012

Tranquility - Silver (1973)

Tranquility were the brainchild of Ashley Kozak, former Donovan manager turned record producer in the early 1970's.  His idea was to form a group that played a "hybrid of pop, rock and English folk music", (like Donovan then!).  So Tranquility were formed in 1971 based around the song writing talent of Terry Shaddick. The band went through many line up changes throughout their three year life span and members included Eric Dillon, Kevin McCarthy, Berkeley Wright, Tony Lukyn, Jim Leverton, John Perry and Bernie Hagley, all of whom had played in other psych and prog bands previously.

1972 saw the release of their first album "Tranquility" for Epic records.  A very mellow affair with a strong West Coast hippy vibe floating throughout the ten tracks. An album to listen to on a lazy summers day.  There is also a not too obvious McCartney influence that you might not pick up on the first listen as the record breezes along, notably on tracks "Lady Of The Lake" and "Black Currant Betty".  

It's easy to see why the Americans dug this band so much on their support tour of the states in 1972 and the demand for an extra two months worth of dates even before a record had been released over there. Tranquility were far more popular in the states than their home land where they couldn't get arrested. Comments left on YouTube prove that the band must have been a pretty good live act as fans are still leaving messages, reminiscing about their six part harmonies during those Byrds support concerts.

The band returned to London to record their second album "Silver" released again on Epic in 1973.  "Silver" follows on from their first album in a similar direction albeit more polished and tighter thanks to the extensive touring.  Some tracks bordering on lightweight funk (sounds bad but trust me, it works!) with clavinet and mellotron giving the tracks a more fuller sound than the previous album. The title track sums up the typical Tranquility sound, angelic vocal harmonies that drift around a good comparison would be the band America.  My personal favourite "Can I See You" sees the band playing the type of mellow, post-psychedelic goodness that I seem to be blowing all my wages these days. The Beatles influence turns up again on "Dear Oh Dear" and "Nice and Easy", both tracks chosen as leading single to promote the album in the UK where the where it flopped just like the first one did.  Even the hope of sales in the US never materialised.

One last attempt at success in the form of a single, "Midnight Fortune" b/w "One Day Lady", this time for Island records also failed to sell in numbers and so the band called it a day in 1974.  

Terry Shaddick would eventually find success as co-writer, along with Steve Kipner, of the Olivia Newton-John hit single "Physical" which I've just found out was originally intended for Rod Stewart.  Ya learn summat new every day!