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Growers of Mushroom

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Album Review

Leaf Hound — like Killing Floor — was one of dozens of other working-class heavy rock bands who sprouted up in England during the British blues-rock boom of the late '60s. They immediately found themselves in the shadow of better bands, including Led Zeppelin and Free (to name just two), which may have led to their short life together. They recorded only one album, Growers of Mushroom, which found its first release in on the German-based Telefunken label. Somewhat surprisingly, however, the title track and leadoff track, "Freelance Fiend," were both left off that release. This error was corrected for the October 1971 release by Decca Records, but, by then, Leaf Hound had suffered from various internal problems and already called it a day. The album reportedly took only 11 hours to record in Mayfair's Spot Studios, which may be the reason there's nothing too special about this LP. Nevertheless, it has become a much-sought-after LP by collectors (mint condition copies have reportedly sold for as much as 1,300 dollars). Lead vocalist Peter French — who went on to form Atomic Rooster and later worked with Cactus and a later lineup of Randy Pie — is in fine form here, and his scorched-earth screech may even remind some fans of Robert Plant. His cousin, guitarist Mick Halls (who replaced Foghat-bound lead guitarist Rod Price, guitarist in French's earlier group, Black Cat Bones), doesn't have the same guitar prowess that, say, Jimmy Page had at the time, but he's no slouch either, showing considerable skill throughout. Interestingly, the song titles — like the band's name — were taken from an anthology of stories by horror author Herbert Van Thal. In 1995, See for Miles released a remastered CD reissue which featured a rarely heard bonus track, "It's Gonna Get Better," the B-side to their only single, "Drowned My Life in Fear"; some versions of the reissue also have "Hipshaker" added as a second bonus track.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s

Leaf Hound were one of the dozens of heavy rock bands that evolved during the late-'60s British blues-rock boom. Rhythm guitarist Derek Brooks and his brother, Stuart Brooks, had been in the Black Cat Bones, a South London-based band that at one time featured Free's Paul Kossoff. Vocalist Peter French and his cousin, lead guitarist Mick Halls, had been in several London groups: Switch, Erotic Eel, Joe Poe, and the Brunning Sunflower Blues Band (featuring Bob Brunning). In the latter half of 1970,...
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Growers of Mushroom, Leaf Hound
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