Two fine albums from a sadly under-estimated band. Jody Grind were only around for a few years, released two albums in 1969 & 1970 and featured Tim Hinkley and Bernie Holland as their main men.

Not to be mistaken for either the album by Horace Silver (The Jody Grind) or the band called The Jody Grind who were active in the Cabbagetown area of Atlanta in the 1980’s.

The band were heavily influenced by bands such as The Nice, Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Traffic – all bands where the keyboards were a lead instrument and not just a backing not to screaming guitars. And that is what you get here; Tim Hinkley and his keyboards are very much in the fore and guitarist Ivan Zagni (on ‘One Step On’) and Bernie Holland (on ‘Far Canal’) playing alongside the keys.

Both of the albums have their charms but the second, ‘Far Canal’ which had a more stable line-up and experience gigging, is the more satisfying.

The standout numbers on ‘Far Canal’ are classic prog/rock. ‘Bath Sister’ with a heavy riff underlining powerful vocals and anthemic breaks and a stunning guitar break (stunning for its effective brevity) or ‘Plastic Shit’ where the vocal is subsumed under a strong band performance on a strong environmental theme (very like Man at around that time). Bernie Hollands guitar work is top class all through the album and Pete Gavin delivers powerful and expressive drums and percussion.

The earlier album ‘One Step On’ featured the original line up of Hinkley, guitarist Ivan Zagni and drummer Barry Wilson. The album featured a long piece on ‘side one’, the title track which, as was common at the time had four sections or movements, is the most interesting element of the album and I must admit I found ‘USA’ & ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Man’ too raw to be palatable. That having been said, the album is worth investigation for the title track which really does represent well.

As usual, Esoteric have done a bang up job in remastering these two lost gems and they are packaged with a very readable booklet.

Two albums that show the development (albeit short) of one of the stalwarts of the live scene of the time and well worth digging on their musical merits.