Years: 1973 - 1976
Styles: Blues Rock, Country, Funk Rock, Progressive Rock, Rhythm and Blues, Southern Rock
Bobby Harrison - Congas, Lead vocals, Percussion, Vocals (in band: 1973 - 1976)
Micky Moody - Backing vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Mandolin (in band: 1973 - 1976)
Peter Solley - Arp Synthesizer Solo, Backing vocals, Fiddle, Keyboards (in band: 1973 - 1975)
Colin Gibson - Bass Guitar, Cowbell (in band: 1973 - 1976)
Terry Popple - Drums, Washboard (in band: 1973 - 1976)
Brian Chatton - Keyboards (in band: 1975 - 1976)
Tim Hinkley - Organ, Piano (in band: 1975 - 1976)
Mel Collins - Horns, Saxophone (in band: 1975 - 1976)
Clem Clempson - Guitar (in band: 1976)
In 1972, vocalist and drummer Harrison had just left blues-rock outfit Freedom and started to record his first solo LP, Funkist. Featured on this album was Micky Moody, then lead guitarist with the ailing Juicy Lucy. The collaboration between the two was so successful, that after the demise of Juicy Lucy they decided to form a completely new group and play American-inspired funk and R&B-flavoured rock.
Bobby Harrison and Micky Moody started writing together and auditioning new band members. They found former Tramline drummer Terry Popple (previously with Van Morrison), bass player Colin Gibson (formerly of Ginger Baker's Airforce) and keyboard /fiddle player Pete Solley (later in David Coverdale's Whitesnake). Gibson suggested the name Snafu, a term he lifted from a Captain Beefheart song "Big Eyed Beans From Venus" on their 1972 album, Clear Spot. The musical influences were mainly American, and came from bands such as The Allman Brothers Band and in particular Little Feat, one of Bobby Harrison’s favourite bands.
Richard Branson, who had recently built The Manor Studio, and had started recording a long composition by an unknown guitarist, Mike Oldfield, was also impressed with the efforts of Snafu, who arrived at The Manor Studio to record their first LP. In fact, Oldfield was working on Tubular Bells while Snafu were there and Solley played briefly on the recording.
The band's first, eponymously titled, LP and single received good reviews but were less successful commercially. However, at the time when Snafu was released, the group successfully toured Europe with The Doobie Brothers and then the U.S. with the Eagles.
On the second LP, Situation Normal, Solley had taken over much of the control of the band and there is a strong country-rock influence on the album. However, it was not as well reviewed as its predecessor. The band toured America as a support act for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but participation in the tour was seen by many as a mistake. The band recorded up to eight songs in session for the BBC around this time.
Snafu's third LP, All Funked Up, has long been seen as their 'great lost album' and is highly elusive in its original vinyl format. Solley had left to join Procol Harum. He was replaced first by Brian Chatton (previously with The Warriors with Jon Anderson, Flaming Youth with Phil Collins and Jackson Heights with Lee Jackson of The Nice), and later by Tim Hinkley, who was a much-used session player at the time. They both play on the album, which again was recorded at The Manor.
During a tour of Germany, Moody was invited to join David Coverdale and he accepted. Harrison tried to keep Snafu together for a while with Clem Clempson (Colosseum, Humble Pie, Champion) on guitar, but it did not work.
Snafu are notable for combining the British rhythm and blues tradition with U.S inspired elements of funk and country music. Moody's distinctive guitar playing, often with slide, provided the band with a distinctive hard-edged R&B sound, particularly on such numbers as "Lock and Key" and "Hard To Handle".
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