CHANNELLING THAT 70'S VIBE
When James Brown meets Humble Pie.
Think the Sweeney, sheepskin coats, shirts with collars way too large and a little bit of ‘alright darlin’. Mix that with some Hammond heavy grooves, a touch of funk, soul and some down n’ dirty rock vibes and you’re half way to understanding Sweet Felicity Arkwright.
Originally the brain child of Dean Rees this ‘band’ of busy musicians has been through many phases, line-ups and false starts and remains today a bit of an enigma. There is however one body of work that demonstrates the true essence of Sweet Felicity Arkwright and that’s the 2016 released album ‘Sweeney Sutton Roller’. Over two years in the making, this little-heard album encapsulates everything Sweet Felicity Arkwright was meant to be and, quite possibly, still is.
It’s a great album – I’m listening to it now as I write this blog – but then again, I’m a bit biased. I’m playing bass on it and am credited for co-writing six of the nine tracks along with band members Dean Rees, Stefan Prydderch and Karl Randall.
Recorded in late 2015 and early 2016 at Echo Studios in Buckingham with ace engineer/producer Jamie Masters the album consists six band-collaborated tunes, re-workings of two original Dean Rees tracks and a quite undeniably astounding version of the Steve Marriot/Humble Pie classic ‘Wrist Job’ recorded by the Rees, Prydderch, Butterfield and Randall line-up some eight years previous. Dean toured with Greg Ridley’s Humble Pie for many years before Greg’s untimely death so the Marriot/Pie estate were happy to grant Dean permission to include it on the album.
Overall the album is perhaps a bit rockier than earlier ‘dirty funk and groove’ labelled outings but it still retains the unmistakeable Sweet Felicity Arkwright groove and swagger alongside some down right rocking vibes.
The key personnel on all the new tunes consists Dean, Stef, Karl and myself along with regular Sweet FA guest vocalist Nicky Prince and the super talented Rebecca Gibson Swift on flute and sax. It also features backing vocals from our dear friend Ben Markus who sadly passed away shortly after the album was completed. There’s also some guest appearances from Mollie Marriot (daughter of Steve), Bernie Marsden and Del Bromham among others.
The recent inclusion of tracks from the album on a soon to be released film ‘Lucas and Albert’ may spark some fresh interest in this otherwise unheard of masterpiece. We’ll have to wait and see.
It’s not the first time the band has had its music used in the movies either. Early tracks from Dean appeared on the soundtrack of 2010 John Flemming/Liam Galvin B-movie ‘Killer Bitch’. It was never a box office smash but an experience all the same with the band appearing live at the London Film Premier after-party alongside Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons. I remember the night well!
‘Lucas and Albert’ promises to be a very different ball game with ‘first refusals’ for the United States already in place and the promise of the band appearing at the red carpet UK launch event. We’re shortly off to film a promo video for the track used on the trailer too – should be fun!
You can grab yourself a copy of this album (vinyl or CD) by contacting me on here – available copies of the first pressing are limited so don’t hang around.
If you fancy a little look at the film trailer too check it out here: https://youtu.be/G6kH33WidnQ
Sweeney Sutton Roller by Sweet Felicity Arkwright. Quite possibly the best album you’ve never heard.