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Fringe Benefit - 1977 Fringe Benefit



ARTIST: Fringe Benefit
ALBUM: Fringe Benefit
LABEL: Capricorn
SERIAL: CP 0183
YEAR: 1977

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Jonathan Jones - vocals, rhythm guitars * Dave Gray - lead guitars * Chris Haines - bass * Steve Laurie - drums

Guest: Mike Moran - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 All In Vain * 02 Darlin' * 03 Was God An Astronaut * 04 Wanna Be With You * 05 Suzanne * 06 Patterns * 07 All Shook Up * 08 When She's Next Free * 09 The Ballad Of Phyllis Prewitt * 10 Let A Light Shine


Background
Just how a British band (which sounded as if it had its feet firmly planted in the well-read world of 70's British pop) managed to be signed to the American label Capricorn Records, more famous for a roster of Southern Rock bands, is certainly a mystery. Indeed it's a long way from County Dorset UK to the cotton fields of the Confederate South, and there is nothing here on this one and only Fringe Benefit LP to suggest comparisons to the likes of the Allman Brothers and other labelmates from the same timeframe. Formed around the talent of John Jones, this lot had its origins in a smalltime British band called Albatross. When some of the members sought a direction change, Fringe Benefit was the vehicle for that change.


The Songs
Interestingly, the band released a single called 'All In Vain', for Polydor Records if I recall, and it did mildly well. The acoustic backwash was similar to fellow British popsters Smokie. They released a second single 'Darlin', which was followed up by significant interest from Frank Fenter - one of the top exec's with Capricorn Records in the USA. Fringe Benefit went into a London studio with producer Clive Crawley to produce this album. There are a couple of other interesting moments including a nice pleasant version of Leonard Cohen's 'Suzanne' and Elvis Presley's 'All Shook Up'. The band only rock out once, and that is on the amusingly titled 'Was God An Astronaut', the remaining tracks a collection of melodic mainly acoustic used pieces.


In Summary
Strangely, for a British band, this album was never released locally in the UK nor Europe, it had to be imported from the USA due to the Capricorn Records deal - which annoyed fans of the band at the time. Fringe Benefit didn't venture too far into 1977 before calling it quits. In a strange twist of irony, John Jones appeared in a band at the end of the 70's called The Hotshots, whereby they re-released/re-recorded this album on a local label Sabre Records during 1979. So it did get a UK release after all, in a roundabout way. Not the most rockiest album you'll ever hear, but fans of British pop from the 70's might find this mildly interesting.


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Comments
#1 | super80boy on July 09 2013 03:12:32
A very obscure band that stirred up some controversy with their single 'All In Vain'. It had an all to similar sound to Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May' and when I first heard it, that's the first song that came to mind. Anyway, they were slapped on the wrist for it. It's still a catchy song, along with the rocking 'Was God An Astronaut' and the decent 'Suzanne'. Otherwise it gets a bit lame with the acoustic numbers on Side Two.
 
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