Bobby Harrison is a survivor, because unlike a lot of his fellow contemporaries operating in the 60's and 70's, who were battling the same demons (i.e. major drink and drug problems) Harrison managed to escape the odds and get out alive. Bobby's main claim to fame is that he was briefly the drummer for British progressive outfit Procul Harum. He played on what is arguably their biggest hit, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and the majority of their debut album as well. However, after a falling out with management the dream of rock 'n roll stardom with Procul was over for Harrison, who along with guitarist Ray Royer, left the band in 1967. While he could have simply ended up as just a footnote in Procul history, thankfully Harrison had a lot more music left in him as this double disc Anthology from Angel Air Records confirms.
Out from behind the kit Bobby went on to front a string of bands throughout the 60's and 70's with Freedom, SNAFU and Nobody's Business, in addition to pursuing his own solo career. Most of this collection is centered around his work with these bands and if you haven't heard the vast majority of these tracks then you're missing out on some good, old fashioned rock 'n roll.
Disc 1 features quite a few tracks from SNAFU, an underrated band Harrison put together in the early 70's. Bobby's soulful and powerful vocals, together with the deft guitar work of Micky Moody definitely yielded plenty of greasy and funky sounding fireworks on tracks like "Long Gone", "Bloodhound" and "Goodbye USA". On the scorching "Lock & Key" Moody tears off some blistering slide work and fires off a plethora of those soon to be trademark, bluesy riffs the world would hear a lot more of towards the end of the decade and into the 80's during his time with Whitesnake. Cuts from Bobby's Funkist album are also represented here by "Thinking About You", "Little Linda Lovejoy" and a cover of "It's Not The Spotlight". His work with post Procul Harum outfit Freedom is for the most part merely average and often sounds dated. You can also do without the karaoke style cover of "A Whiter Shade of Pale".
Over to disc two which begins with a couple of solid covers in "The Hunter" and "Going Down" before another of Harrison's underrated bands takes center stage. Formed after the breakup of SNAFU, Nobody's Business was another hard rocking outfit led by Bobby and original Foghat bassist Tony Stevens. The raunchy, straight ahead attack of "Cut In Two", "Bleed Me Dry", "Nobody's Business" and the more laid back sound found on "Unsettled Dust" and "Losing You" are perfect vehicles for Bobby's soulful and emotive vocals. Unfortunately that's where the fireworks end as too much of the second disc is bogged down by inferior solo and Freedom material, such as the ill advised cover of "Time of The Season".
Anthology for the most part offers a good glimpse into the majority of Bobby Harrison's efforts over the years. The SNAFU and Nobody's Business cuts are hands down the major highlights here. The problem is that any fireworks are few and far between, which begs the question of whether this really needed to be a two disc compilation. I think they could have easily trimmed off the fat, slimmed this down to a single disc collection and it would have been more effective. That being said, I still think this is a solid overview of Bobby Harrison's career and it's worth seeking out for the reasons mentioned above.
1) Long Gone - SNAFU
2) Don't Keep Me Wondering - SNAFU
3) Bloodhound - SNAFU
4) Lock & Key - SNAFU
5) Goodbye USA - SNAFU
6) Thinkin' About You- Bobby Harrison
7) Spotlight - Bobby Harrison
8) Little Linda Lovejoy - Bobby Harrison
9) Drowning In The Sea of Love - SNAFU
10) Frustrated Woman - Freedom
11) Cleopatra Jones - Freedom
12) To Be Free - Freedom
13) King Of The Night - Bobby Harrison
14) A Whiter Shade of Pale - Bobby Harrison
1) The Hunter 3:16 - Bobby Harrison
2) Going Down - Freedom
3) Cut In Two - Nobody's Business
4) Bleed Me Dry - Nobody's Business
5) Unsettled Dust - Nobody's Business
6) Nobody's Business - Nobody's Business
7) Losing You - Nobody's Business
8) Time of The Season - Freedom
9) It's Over - Bobby Harrison
10) Hot Stuff - Bobby Harrison
11) Oh Pretty Woman - Bobby Harrison
12) Miss Little Louise - Freedom
13) Overload - Bobby Harrison
14) Looking For A Friend - Bobby Harrison
15) The Better Side - Freedom
16) The Butt of Deception - Freedom