Keef Hartley Band – Music News

Esoteric (label)

August 07, 2022 (published)


Keef Hartley was an excellent British musician and one of the great “almost” in the history of British rock. He was the one who took the drums stool for Rory Storm & The Hurricanes when Ringo left to join the Beatles: he joined The Artwoods with Jon Lord & Art Wood (Ronnie’s older brother); telephone and replaced by Jon Hiseman. He formed The Keef Hartley Band in 1968, signed almost immediately to Deram and in ’69 was one of the UK contingents at Woodstock alongside Ten Years After & The Who but he was the actor who did not appear on the movie or the soundtrack of the 3LP. due to management difficulties.
What he was though, was the frontman of one of Britain’s best outfits of the Sixties and Seventies.

The names that have passed through the KHB are like a history of British blues, jazz and rock of the time. KHB had a policy of playing with friends and people they knew so names come and go but the core were Hartley, Anderson, Thain & Lowther
The debut album, “Halfbreed”, featured Spit James on guitar, Gary Thain on bass, Miller Anderson on vocals and guitar, and Peter Dines on organ and harpsichord, along with a horn section by Henry Lowther , Harry Beckett, Lyn Dobson and Chris Mercer.
The opening jam leads into a superb jazz-based R&B album. Miller Anderson’s voice delivered the Blues numbers with real depth and passion, and to some extent set the format for what was to follow.

The seven albums in this box set all see different line-ups, different line-ups and different styles, but at the heart of it all is the drumming of Keef Hartley and the songwriting and vocals of Miller Anderson.
To some extent they were a British equivalent of Blood Sweat And Tears but there are elements of jazz as well as blues and rock which give them a personal identity.

The Keef Hartley Band was a perfect example of the breadth and depth of bands touring and recording in the late 60s and 70s and while Miller Anderson would go on to a solo career, Gary Thain would form Uriah Heep, Jon Hiseman was the Colosseum founder Mick Weaver picked up credits with a host of headliners, across seven albums The Keef Hartley Band had a consistency like few others.

The package includes a host of bonus tracks and quality mastering from the original tapes. The included booklet contains Hartley’s own commentary on the recording of each album.