Saturday, 7 July 2012

Jigsaw (1968-1975)

Jigsaw formed in 1966 with members hailing from the Midlands region of England.  Band members had previously played in bands such as The Fortunes, The Mighty Avengers and Pinkerton's Assorted Colours.  Early singles released by the band were primarily compositions of  keyboard player and vocalist, Clive Scott although on later singles Scott would regularly share songwriting credits with drummer Des Dyer.

In 1968, Jigsaw's debut single on MGM records, "One Way Street" was released. An upbeat mod tune with Hammond organ and brass with an almost early reggae feel to it was much like what was being released at the time by bands like The Amen Corner or The Equals. This was the first of many singles by the group that would fail to make an impression on the pop chart.  Second single "Mr Job", an Alan Bown song, was the first of two single releases on the Music Factory label, was played in a more Hard Pop style, quite like The Move.  Jigsaw also took to trashing their stage/instruments at gigs around this time in a Move/Who fashion!  "Let Me Go Home", the next release on Music Factory is basically a clone of "One Way Street" but not quite as good in my opinion.  It's the b-side that makes this a collectable record, "Tumblin''", a phased up stomping, psychedelic beast with a Brian Auger style hammond and eastern guitar licks.  UK psych fans will know this one from Rubble Volume 8 - All The Colours Of Darkness.

Jigsaw moved to Fontana for a one off single in July 1970.  You be forgiven for thinking the a-side, "Lollipop and Goody Man" was an Eddy Grant song but is in fact a Clive Scott original as is the b-side the moody, psychedelic, wah-wahtastic "Seven Fishes", just the sort of thing I'd imagine the Living Dead biker gang in Psychomania would dig!  "One Way Street" was re-released in 1971 this time on the Philips label but with a new b-side, a percussive funky rocker entitled "Confucious Confusion", which you could sneak on to the Skip Bifferty album and nobody would notice! Around the time saw the release of their debut album "Letherslade Farm", a true oddity which mixes spoken word and comedy(!) sketches in an attempt at Kenny Everett style humour but failing.  If you're still listening after track one, a short skit called "Tap dance #1" which announces that "Anyone that can't tap dance must be queer!" then you'll hear Bonzo-like interviews with a short tongued man (hilarious if stoned?) with the odd progressive pop tune thrown in.  Be sure to download this first before spending big wads of cash on it on ebay!




Next single "Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring", an adaptation of Bach's classical tune and a right old load of poo. I'll only recommend this to anyone who likes "America" by The Nice, but...flip the record over and you get Jigaw's finest song, the mighty "No Questions Asked", a killer Magical Mystery Tour style fuzz pop track complete with Macca-esque trademark bouncy piano.  It's still quite easy to find on 7 inch and you should get one quick while its still relatively cheap.


Jigsaw's final single for Philips and their last release of 1971 was "Keeping My Head Above Water", wailing vocals and prog like organ, not very good really but it made it onto their next album "Aura Borealis" released in 1972.  Again, not a great album, but it is saved by a couple of decent tracks, the "Cherry Blossom Clinic" styled "Freud Fish" is a welcome moment of nightmarish psych as is a White Plains-alike pop nugget "Hanging Around".  The band were clearly struggling for some kind of direction, but not for long.

"That's What It's All About" b/w "And I Like You" was released in 1972 and 1973 on BASF and UK records respectively. Neither releases charted but pointed to the direction the band was heading in, a much more chart friendly orchestrated pop.  A couple more albums were released on BASF, "Broken Hearted" and "I've Seen The Film, I've Read The Book", both have their moments but the over production on the latter makes it a little to cheesy for my ears (and that's saying something for me!)

After being dropped by BASF, band manager Chas Peate formed his own record label Splash on which the band would release all of their music until they broke up in the 1980's.  It was their first single for Splash in 1975 which provided the bands first hit record.  "Sky High" reached number 9 in the UK and number 3 in the US.  The corresponding album called "Sky High" in the UK and "Jigsaw" in the US is easily the bands most solid collection of songs all delivered with a cool 10CC approach. More than just your average guilty pleasure.

Following the bands split, songwriters Dyer and Scott continued to write and have their songs recorded by Bad Boys Inc, Boyzone and a number of Eurovision Song Contest hopefuls.

You have to admire a band who continued for so long without a hit! Enjoy...

6 comments:

  1. Thank you very much! Jigsaw is very good staff with great beatlesque music.

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  2. Of course they had hits!! Wtf you on about?

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  3. Please learn to read properly before you make comments.

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  4. https://www.facebook.com/Jigsaw-1443675009277834/

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