Humble Pie – Humble Pie

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Both sides here are Super Hot – solid, big and fat with grungy guitars. Exceptionally quiet vinyl on both sides, mostly Mint Minus. A classic Glyn Johns rock recording from 1970 – he was really on a roll at the time. If you like a big bottom end on your rock records, this is the album for you.

This, their third album and first for A&M (which probably explains the master tape sound on domestic vinyl), is one of the few Humble Pie titles we’ve found that can offer honest-to-goodness Hot Stamper sound. There is no mystery in this case; the sound comes courtesy of none other than Glyn Johns. He knows Heavy British Rock like nobody else on the planet, or did at the time anyway. If you want fat, meaty drums and guitars — think Who’s Next, Sticky Fingers or A Nod Is As Good As A Wink — Glyn is your man.

Listen to how big and how far forward the drums are in the mix on the first track. That is a sound one rarely hears on a studio recording, and that’s a shame because the drum sound on this record is awesome.  

Side One

A++. Big bottom, massive drums, no smear, tons of space, this side made it to the final round. A little more Tubey Magic and some extra top would have earned it another plus and maybe first place in our shootout.

Side Two

A++, with big, grungy guitars that sound just right. The sound is full and lively — a bit of a mess but it’s a good mess. Cleaning it up would probably just make it worse. The vocals on the second track are especially nice by the way.


From a recent Humble Pie listing

Glyn Johns strikes again — this record is the very definition of TUBEY MAGIC. The sound is so rich and sweet it will make you want to take all your CDs and dump them in the trash, assuming you haven’t done so already.

This is the sound WE LOVE here at Better Records, as long as the pressing in question maintains some degree of presence, immediacy and transparency. Records like this can easily get thick and muddy; think of the typically dull Who’s Next or Sticky Fingers and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

But oh what a glorious sound it is when it’s working. There’s not a trace of anything phony up top, down low or anywhere in-between. This means it has a quality sorely at odds with the vast majority of audiophile pressings, new and old, as well as practically anything recorded in the last twenty years, and it is simply this: The louder you play it, the better it gets.

For that we must thank Glyn Johns. A short introduction follows.

It was only about five years ago that I discovered what an amazing engineer and producer Glyn Johns is. A Hot Stamper of the first Eagles album blew my mind, produced by none other, so I quickly started looking around for other records he might have had a hand in. How about Who’s Next? Let It Bleed? On The Border (my personal favorite Eagles album)? Led Zeppelin’s debut? Quadrophenia? And of course, Sticky Fingers, a record that I’ve always known had great sound — you can hear it buried under all that bad vinyl and groove wear. (Even our Hot Stampers have some issues, but ah, the sound is glorious!)

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Live With Me 
Only a Roach 
One-Eyed Trouser-Snake Rumba 
Earth and Water Song

Side Two

I’m Ready 
Theme from Skint (See You Later…) 
Red Light Mama, Red Hot! 
Sucking on the Sweet Vine

AMG  Review

Alternating hard-driving blues-rockers with country-folk numbers, Humble Pie neatly showcases the two sides of this band’s personality on their first release for a major American label and third album overall.

Wikipedia Background

Humble Pie was a transitional album and a harbinger of the band’s new, heavier direction. The material was darker than their previous two efforts, with striking contrasts in volume and style — Peter Frampton’s gentle “Earth and Water Song” is buttressed between two of the heaviest tracks on the record, the band composed “One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba,” and a cover of Willie Dixon’s “I’m Ready”.

Drummer Jerry Shirley contributed a rare lead vocal on his song “Only a Roach,” a country-twinged ode to cannabis that also appeared as the B-side of the summer 1970 single “Big Black Dog”. This was their first release under the auspices of new American manager Dee Anthony — who’d pushed for a louder, tighter sound both live and in the studio — and for their new label, A&M Records. At the end of 1969, the Pie’s old label, Immediate, owned by Andrew Loog Oldham, went bankrupt — a saga chronicled by Marriott on the satirical ballad “Theme from Skint (See You Later Liquidator)”.

Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny

A showcase for former Small Faces’ frontman Steve Marriott and one-time Herd guitar virtuoso Peter Frampton, the hard rock outfit Humble Pie formed in Essex, England in 1969.

Signed to the Immediate label, Humble Pie soon issued their debut single “Natural Born Boogie,” which hit the British Top Ten and paved the way for the group’s premiere LP, As Safe as Yesterday Is.

After touring the U.S. in support of 1969’s Town and Country, Humble Pie returned home only to discover that Immediate had declared bankruptcy. The band recruited a new manager, Dee Anthony, who helped land them a new deal with A&M; behind closed doors, Anthony encouraged Marriott to direct the group towards a harder-edged, grittier sound far removed from the acoustic melodies favored by Frampton.

As Marriott’s raw blues shouting began to dominate subsequent LPs like 1970’s eponymous effort and 1971’s Rock On, Frampton’s role in the band he co-founded gradually diminished; finally, after a highly charged U.S. tour which yielded 1971’s commercial breakthrough Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore, Frampton exited Humble Pie to embark on a solo career.