Punk rock was all the rage in 1977, but that didn’t bother the Count Bishops: five unashamedly blokes, emerging from the bars and clubs of London, with a solid rock’n’rollin’ sound that some thought retrograde and others timeless. At the very least, they could claim to be the finest Polish, Australian, American, English band in town.
This was the debut of singer Dave Tice, who joined the original line-up of Zennon De Fleur (rhythm guitar and haulage), Johnny Guitar (guitar), Steve Lewins (bass) and Paul Balbi on drums. As tight a unit as you could wish for, they produced a driving, raucous rhythm and blues.
The LP is a mix of originals, blues tunes and classic 60s covers, all played with plenty of meat on the bone. Julian Holland is credited as piano on ‘Down The Road Apiece’, and I wonder whatever happened to him. Vic Maile, one of the country’s finest engineers, pushed faders and worked magic on the audio. Two originals, ‘Baby You’re Wrong’ / ‘Stay Free’ became the single off the album and the band hit the road with Motörhead. If you remember being on that tour, you weren’t.
It’s a record that has stood the test of time, when some of their punkier contemporaries now sound of their time.
The sleeve of the first issue was printed on the reverse of the board, giving it a suitable gritty, rough cut look that we have reproduced here as best possible 45 years later. The blurred photograph on the front lends them an air of menace, a bunch of long hairs in a time of short cuts.
They went on to one more studio album before Zenon died as a result of a crash in his Aston Martin, which he had lovingly restored. The four remaining members reformed in 2005 for the Ace 30th anniversary party at Dingwalls Dancehall in Camden Town and they still rocked the house.