Now, Ridley, Clempson, and certainly not Peter Frampton would concern themselves with attempting to revive an old, broken-down hulk like Humble Pie. This time around, only Marriott and Jerry Shirley would be participating, along with Bobby Tench and Anthony “Sooty” Jones.
It’s pretty easy to take both albums and throw them into the same basic bar-boogie bargain bin, but then again, isn’t that what the critics have done to the Pie for years, in general? I can agree neither album matches up to the classic super group lineup output, but there is a big reason for that, and it has nothing to do with the new additions with Tench or Jones.
The saddest development here is Marriott and his hard-living drug and alcohol demons finally catching up to him. Vocally, mentally, performance-wise – all the way around you could tell this guy was aging far faster thanks to the hard living he had done up to this point in his life.
When I first heard this one my hopes were up hearing the initial track, “Fool for a Pretty Face”, which honestly is one of the better singles from Steve and the Pie in a long time. I was really young at the time so I do not remember the exact circumstances, but the song scraped the edges of the Top 40, I think.
Getting back to the album, though, the band follows up this tour-de-force with…” You Soppy Pratt” …which on the one hand, shows off the old Marriott spunk, but on the other hand, you cannot get over the feeling that the act is long beyond tired.
Overall, the impression I got here was a group of guys half-heartedly trying a bunch of different things to see if they work or not. For example, there is a reggae song here (“Savin’ It”), which I do not have a problem with, but it’s pleasantly sloppy and more like a drunken sing-along gig.
The cover, of course, hints at the total opposite – we are this big, bad, heavy rock band, but the contents inside I found to be anything but. Well, the heavy stuff is still in place, it’s just that from an organizational point of view, this was maybe one small step above the Street Rats debacle.
Still, a Humble Pie without Ridley or Clempson – two guys who were sorely missed, especially Ridley – is not without its’ solipsistic charms, so keep this in mind, and at least there is the anchor single to tide you through when all is said and done.