One of the finest bands signed to the Charisma label during its early-'70s heyday, Scotland's String Driven Thing originally formed as a trio in 1969, led by the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Pauline Adams, plus percussionist John Mannion. Locally popular at the tail end of the 1960s, the band faded from view shortly after releasing a self-titled debut album in 1970. They continued playing, however, with the lineup expanding to include bassist Colin Wilson
In early 1972, Chris Adams journeyed to London, hoping to interest the Strawbs' management with a three-song demo. Finding himself with some free time, he was flicking through the record labels section of the Yellow Pages when he spotted Stratton Smith Enterprises. He called and found himself in conversation with the head of Charisma chief Tony Stratton Smith's publishing company, Mooncrest Music. Within a week, Stratton Smith himself was in Glasgow, for a String Driven Thing showcase at the Burns' Howff pub; a week after that, the band signed with his label.
Shedding Mannion around the same time, the group returned to Glasgow with a princely retainer of 20 pounds per week, to rehearse. A month later, they went back south for their first ever live shows as a "signed" band: a community hall in the town of Tunbridge Wells, where Strat had his country retreat, and the 1972 Reading Festival. It was an audacious entry, but it worked and the group quickly set to work on its first Charisma album, to be titled -- like its independent predecessor -- String Driven Thing.
In this form, String Driven Thing returned to the studio to record The Machine That Cried, alongside what remains their best-known number, the single "It's a Game." The LP has since been acclaimed not merely String Driven Thing's masterpiece, but one of the finest progressive rock albums of the entire era -- its CD reissue on the British Ozit label was widely heralded as among the most intelligent re-releases of recent years, and the excitement that greeted the re-formed String Driven Thing's return to action hailed almost wholly from memories of this marvelous album. At the time, however, all seemed doom-laden. "It's a Game," although it received plenty of British airplay, went nowhere (although a hit Bay City Rollers cover later went some way toward making amends); The Machine That Cried simply died and, by the end of the year, String Driven Thing looked to have followed it, as both the Adams and Chris Wilson walked out. Stratton Smith alone was left to carry the flag, rebuilding the group around himself and newfound vocalist Kim Beacon, and soldiering on until 1975. The two albums that followed both have their place in the prog rock pantheon, but the magic had gone from the band.
It returned in the late '90s, as the Adams returned to the helm, overseeing both reissues of the band's original albums, and the preparation of new material and concerts.(allmusic)
This is not the official first Charisma album. This are songs from 1967 to 1972 (bonus demos). This album was released 1970. I mention this in case you don't read the review and both albums were released under the same name and title. I will later post the Charisma album from 1972.
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