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The prime Gurvitz Brothers bands of interest for us here at TDATS were Gun and Three Man Army, being the hardest-rocking. I have used tracks from both those bands previously, so here I have tried to avoid repetition and picks from just those band's albums, there are so many good ones and it would be too easy! So, I have used a lot of non-album singles and related bands such as 'Parrish & Gurvitz', The Knack and The Buddy Miles Band. Hopefully there'll be enough of interest here to keep you listening, even if you already know Gun and Three Man Army well!
A small mp3 audio file of a recent radio interview with Paul Gurvitz is included with this comp. A written interview with Paul is also included at the end of this article, courtesy of ItsPsychedelicBaby.
01. Three Man Army - My Yiddishe Mamma (1973)
from album 'Mahesha'
02. Three Man Army - Hold On (1973)
from album 'Mahesha'
03. Gun - Runnin' Wild (1970)
04. Three Man Army - What's My Name (1971)
from album 'A Third Of A Lifetime'
05. Three Man Army - Travellin' (1971)
06. Gun - Race With The Devil (1968)
from album 'Gun'
07. The Knack - Who'll Be The Next In Line [Kinks cover] (1965)
from album 'Time Time Time - The Complete UK Singles (and more) 1965-1967'
08. Gun - Drives You Mad (1969)
09. The Buddy Miles Band - L.A. Resurrection (1973)
from album 'Chapter VII'
10. Three Man Army - Jubilee (1974)
from album 'Three Man Army Three' (released 2005)
11. Parrish & Gurvitz - Another Time Another Day (1971)
from album 'Parrish & Gurvitz'
12. Gun - Situation Vacant (1969)
from album 'Gun Sight'
13. The Baker Gurvitz Army - Hearts On Fire (1976)
from album 'Hearts On Fire'
14. Three Man Army - In My Eyes (1974)
from album 'Three Man Army Two'
|Gun debut s/t LP 1968|
|Gun - Gun Sight 1969|
Adrian Gurvitz started playing guitar at the age of 8 and by age 15, he was touring in early bands like Screaming Lord Sutch, Billie Davis, and Crispian St. Peters. In 1967 he briefly joined Rupert’s People, who had a minor-hit single, 'Reflections of Charlie Brown'. It charted at 13 in Australia and made the Top 40 in the UK. Just before The Gun formed, Paul joined an even shorter-lived version of Rupert's people too.
|Paul Gurvitz - Adrian Gurvitz - Louis Farrell|
|Paul Gurvitz in BGA|
You can listen to a recent US radio interview with Paul Gurvitz here:
The Knack becomes The Gun
With the departure of long time band mate Brian Morris from The Knack, guitarist Paul Curtis (aka Paul Gurvitz) made a radical change and The Knack became The Gun.
Gun went through many line up changes (Yes vocalist Jon Anderson was even with the band briefly) until they got their first break playing shows with T Rex and Pink Floyd on the London underground scene. "We were playing a lot at The Speakeasy which was a very fashionable club at the time," Paul recalls. "There you would stand shoulder to shoulder with people whose music is still played all over the world today, The Beatles, Brian Jones of the Stones, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon of The Who, just to name a few".
By the middle of 1968, Gun became a power trio. Paul had taken over bass and left the guitar to his brother Adrian, who was by this time becoming quite a talent. The drums meanwhile were still handled by Louis Farrell (prev. in The Knack). Famous jazz musician Ronnie Scott, had just formed a management company and signed them as his first band. Shortly afterwards they were signed by CBS, and by the end of the year they were at the top of the European charts with 'Race With The Devil', included here. Although the single bares the hallmarks of psychedelic pop of the times, with it's big-sounding production and orchestration, there is also the beginnings of hard rock and heavy metal bubbling bellow the surface, powered by Adrian's blistering guitar leads.
A self-titled debut LP appeared the same year and a second LP came in 1969 called Gun Sight. Included here is a track from Gun Sight called 'Situation Vacant'. It has the searing leads and aggression of Race With The Devil, but not so much of the pop production, which also defines the heavier sound of Gun Sight in general. In my opinion this is a very early hard rock album that deserves to be compared with the earliest work of Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly as some of the very first heavy metal.
The Army Advances
|Three Man Army|
A Third Of A Lifetime cover
The brothers had a predilection for working with first class drummers, and this album featured no less than three with Buddy Miles (Band Of Gypsys), Mike Kellie (Spooky Tooth) and Carmine Appice (Beck Bogard & Appice, Vanilla Fudge). I have used the track 'What's My Name' from this album. Three Man Army was clearly a development from Gun, Adrian and Paul's song-writing and playing was less psychedelic and decidedly more blues-based hard rock, the riffs are often heavy and fast but every song is infused with melody too, with a noticeable hint of southern rock. Maybe from Paul's love of Allman Brothers.
Two of my favourite tracks from their catalogue are Butter Queen (youtube) and Pole Cat Woman (youtube), which always go down well on the dance floor. The brothers set the blueprint with this album, all three released albums from Three Man Army are very consistent and I recommend them all equally, although they really turned the heaviness up to 11 for the third one, 'Three Man Army Two' (yes that is the name of the third LP, as explained later).
|Three Man Army Two|
|Buddy Miles - Chapter VII|
Buddy's career began drumming for Wilson Picket when, at age 19, he was inducted into the original line-up of seminal Chicago blues soul rockers The Electric Flag. He also played in Hendrix's Band Of Gypsys.
The credits on Chapter VII were: Ron Johnson (bass and guitar), Adrian Curtis (guitar) and Buddy Himself on drums, vocals, organ, and guitar. As you probably guessed, Curtis is Gurvitz, the brother's real surname is Gurvitz but they would sometimes use Curtis, especially during their early careers and on various projects like Chapter VII, inspired to do so after their father had himself legally changed to it. Adrian's brother Paul explains: "When my parents divorced my father changed his name to Curtis from Gurvitz and at the time I thought that Curtis was more rock n' roll than Gurvitz". As mentioned earlier, Buddy and Adrian's friendship had started just after Gun finished, and Buddy played drums for some tracks on Three Man Army's first LP.
|Three Man Army Three cover|
|Baker Gurvitz Army -|
Hearts On Fire (1976)
The last rock albums that the Gurvitz Brothers played on for a while were the pair of Graeme Edge Band LPs soon after, that were unfortunately rather more lackluster than Baker Gurvitz Army. Unfortunately for heavy-heads, that was the absolute end of the Gurvitz Brothers' forays into hard rock, but by all accounts they made a lot more money for themselves in later pursuits as writers / producers. We can't blame them for doing that and we can't complain about the great set of Gun and Three Man Army albums they left us!
Paul Gurvitz interview
Q. Hi Paul. Firstly I would like to ask you about your childhood. What were your main influences at that time, beside Buddy Holly and Elvis.
Paul: I used to listen to a lot of American artist's when I was growing up as there were only a few English ones that I found exciting, around the late 60's I would listen to Santana, Buffalo Springfield, Spirit, The Allman Brothers, Zappa.
Q. Your first band was called The Londoners. You played gigs around London and you also went to Germany.Can you tell us more?
Paul: Actually the Londoners never really played in London other than when we were the backing group for Gene Vincent, The Londoners played mostly in Germany and France.
Q. From Germany you went back to London. You were no longer called The Londoners. Changing your name to The Knack, were there also any changes in lineup? You recorded a few singles for Pye and for Decca. Your first release was 'Who'll Be The Next In Line / She Ain't No Good', right? Can you tell me more about The Knack.
Paul: The Knack was a continuation of The Londoners. There were a few different members, on bass was Gearie Kenworthy, on organ was Tim Mycroft (who is the first of the family tree to have passed away) and on drums was Topper Clay, and I played rhythm guitar. The Knack played mostly in London and around England.
Q. In early 1968 you started Gun. You released a debut album in the same year, which I think it is a true masterpiece and one of the first heavy albums from that era. You also had a mega hit called Race With The Devil. Can you tell me about it? Who made the cover art? I just love it.
Paul: The Gun was a continuation of The Knack with different members. The first Gun was Tim Mycroft on organ, Gearie Kenworthy on bass, Louie Farrel on drums, and I played rhythm guitar and lead vocals. Actually I started playing as The Gun in late 67. In early 68 there were more changes, Jon Anderson was the lead singer and my brother joined on guitar, then it changed again, Anderson left so did Tim mycroft, and then Gearie Kenworthy and that's when we became The Gun that made the albums. I was now playing bass and Adrian on guitar and Louie on drums.
Race With The Devil was our first hit and was recorded at CBS in London on an 8 track recorder. We were managed at that time by the famous jazz player Ronnie Scott and rehearsed in his club. During the time we were rehearsing there was a guy painting murals on the club walls and we asked him if he would like to do the artwork of the cover. His name was Roger Dean who later did all the Yes albums and many more but The Gun was his first. As far as touring we spent time in France, Germany, Italy and England.
Q. In 1969 you started to record a second album, called Gun Sight. There were lineup changes, right? Drummer Peter Dunton came from Bulldog Breed to join your band. Can you tell me more about that?
Paul: I don't remember much about that. I know Peter Dunton played on some tracks, but never really joined the band although there were some publicity pics with him. Most of the second album was Louie Farrell, later Goeff Britton played drums and toured with us. He later joined Wings.
Q. What went wrong with Gun after the second album? Your brother went to the US to record with Buddy Miles. After that you and Brian Parrish released one album called Parrish & Gurvitz. Slowly after that a new band was born. Three Man Army. What can you tell me about this legendary trio with you Adrian and Tony Newman on drums? You released 3 albums from 1970 to 1974.
Paul: I was recording a solo album for CBS and then decided to join up with Parrish. Three Man Army was an extention of Gun but with a lot of different drummers such as Buddy Miles, Mike Kelly (Spooky Tooth) and Carmin Appice (Vanilla Fudge). The band was just a recording band at the time as Adrian and I were playing in different bands but we intended to make Three Man Army a touring band later, when Adrian finished with Buddy Miles. Parrish & Gurvitz, after making 2 albums with George Martin (of Beatles fame), decided to pack it in and that's when Tony Newman joined and Three Man Army was born. The second album Mahesha and Three Man Army Two were both with Tony Newman.
We recorded often at the Who's studio and toured the US with The Doobie Brothers and The Beach Boys. We did some TV and there is an album of unreleased material called Three Man Army Three and can be purchased at http://wetworldmusic.com/
The two albums with Graeme Edge were just studio albums. The Moody Blues were taking a break and doing their individual projects. The artwork was by Joe Petagno (Motorhead sleeves etc.) also Three Man Army Two, the second album Paradise Ballroom was recorded in London and Memphis, they have both been reissued recently on The Acerteric label.
Q. Tony Newman left Three Man Army and you started a new band called Baker Gurvitz Army. How did you meet with Ginger Baker?
Paul: Three Man Army was back from the U.S. and Tony Newman was offered a gig with David Bowie and we suggested he took it. Three Man Army had an album ready to record, but no drummer. We met Ginger in The Speakeasy one night and he said he wanted to join the band and the rest is history. That album became the first BGA album. The band toured the UK and America and recorded somehow two more albums. There have been many live albums released since the demise of the band also on wetworldmusic.com. You will find BGA 'Still Alive' which includes a DVD.
Q. In 1976 you released the last Baker Gurvitz Army album, called Hearts on Fire. What happened next?
Paul: After the recording of Hearts On Fire our manager was killed in a plane crash and the band split. Adrian pursued solo projects and I produced them.
Q. Then came the 80's and you were involved with a lot of projects.
Paul: The 80's was a whole new era for me with my music. I went from playing and creating hard rock to writing pop r&b for many artists which you will find on my website paulgurvitz.com
Q. In 2002 you released the album 'No Gun - No Army' and in 2005 you released the 'Rated PG' album. What can you say about that?
Paul: No Gun No Army was just a release of demo's rated. PG was more a project than No Gun No Army. I make the albums more for other artist's to record the songs.
Q. In 2010 you released the album 'Sweetheart Land'. How do you feel about it?
Paul: I liked Sweetheart Land. Gave me chance to switch my style a bit to more country / rock.