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May Blitz

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May Blitz was one of the first four bands signed by eminent progressive and heavy rock label, Vertigo, along with future legends Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, and the largely forgotten Juicy Lucy, whose less fortunate fate they would unfortunately share, in the end. Although usually attributed to former Jeff Beck Group drummer Tony Newman (who had played on the all-time classic Beck-Ola), May Blitz was in fact first envisioned in early 1969 by relative unknown James Black (lead vocals and guitar), who along with eventual bassist Reid Hudson was a Canadian, recently relocated to the U.K. in search of fame and fortune. Evidently molded upon the then extremely popular power trio template (established a few years earlier by Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and soon adopted by countless upstarts like Rory Gallagher's Taste, New York's Sir Lord Baltimore, and an early Thin Lizzy, to name but a few), May Blitz worked up their repertoire by playing the U.K. pub and college circuit, before inking their Vertigo deal and getting to work on their eponymous first album. Released in mid-1970, that self-produced platter showcased an interesting selection of proggy acid rock jams, infused with proto-metal guitar histrionics, but wasn't distinctive enough, overall, to separate May Blitz from the hordes of competitors mining similar terrain. (No thanks to its hideous cover art, depicting a poorly rendered caricature of what Mountain's Leslie West might look like in drag!) Sales were similarly disappointing, and so the trio soon returned to the studio — this time with producer John Anthony helping out — and began working on their cleverly titled sophomore opus, The 2nd of May, which emerged barely six months later, in early 1971. Yet, despite adding a few novel elements of folk and space rock, and reigning in some of its predecessor's long-winded flights of fancy, The 2nd of May was nowhere near as compositionally inspired; sporadic bright moments were lost amidst several improvised jams masquerading as proper songs, so that consumers, once again, seemed more interested in satisfying their power trio fix elsewhere. Not ones to delude themselves, either, the members of May Blitz were able to read the tea leaves prophesying their dim future prospects, and mutually decided to go their separate ways later that year. Drum-stool lifer Newman didn't tarry long before trying his luck with another hard rock power trio called Three Man Army (with much the same underwhelming results, unfortunately), while Black and Hudson quietly vanished from historical record altogether, reputedly heading back home to Canada in due time.



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