Riff Raff in 1973
Now here’s a strange and obscure one for my blog entry day. In looking through my programmes and tickets for a band to write about, I found a programme for a band called Riff Raff. Now I have no recollection at all of where and when I saw Riff Raff, who they were and what sort of music they played. But the fact that I have the programme pictured here suggests that I did indeed see them. Quick googling tells me that Riff Raff were active around 1972 and 1973.
The programme tells me: “Riff Raff brings together four men of varying musical experiences whose sound spans both rock and modern jazz but cannot be pigeonholed in either camp. Their music is their own; they write, arrange and produce themselves, and the result is music of today that succeeds in avoiding the self-indulgence of many of their contemporaries. They named themselves Riff Raff with tongues firmly in cheek, although the name serves to emphasize the individuality of each member of the band. All four musicians have known or known of each other for a couple of years or more: that goes double for bassist Roger Sutton and keyboard man Tommy Eyre, who both ended a two-year run with the Mark-Almond band during the Summer of 1972; guitarist Pete Kirtley is a Geordie last seen as an Alan Price sideman; and percussionist Aureo de Souza hails, as all good percussionists should, from Rio de Janeiro. Riff Raff made a most encouraging if somewhat hasty debut at London’s Conway Hall and in something like half an hour manifested a superb show amalgamating moods with exciting melodies, catchy hooks and lots of free blowing. In fact, they exuded too much music, too much energy for the human mind to comprehend – the only way to dig the music was on a visceral level like you would on a night when the Buddy Miles Band or Santana were really cooking or if Shorter, Vitous and Zawinul suddenly walked into your local jazz cellar and took over.”
Actually I’ve thought a little more about this. I discovered that Riff Raff featured on the bill of the 1973 Reading Festival, so I think that is where I must have seen them. And if I think a little harder something deep in the back of my mind tells me that they were throwing these programmes out to the Reading crowd. The folded up and crumpled nature of it would support that possibility. I can even see some traces of mud 🙂 . I listened to Riff Raff on YouTube this morning; their music was a mix of avant-garde, jazz and prog-rock; they reminded me a little of Soft Machine, with a tinge of the melodic of early Genesis.
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Riff Raff in 1973