Shape of the Rain

Shape of the Rain was a band from Sheffield [UK], founded around 63/64 by Keith Riley, his brother Len, Brian Wood and Ian Waggett. They started out called The Gear and then The Reaction. 'If we couldn't get gigs because they didn't like us, we'd just change the name, If they liked us we'd stick with the same name,' says Keith Riley. The band's first professional recordings were in Nottingham in 1966.They released an album on RCA/NEON called "Riley Riley Wood and Waggett" in 1971, which was produced by Tony Hall. Their Manager was David McPhie. They were influenced by American West Coast music and the British psych/progressive scene as well as many other styles and came up with a sound that was all their own.Twelve string and slide guitars were used to create a different sound to what was then the norm. They played The Marquee, London, The Cavern, Liverpool and Manchesters Hard Rock and Magic Village. They supported bands such as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Free, Fleetwood Mac, Love, Joe Cocker, Cream and Led Zeppelin, as well as many others during their time as Sheffield University 'House Band'! A Leading Article on the Band with photos, appears in The Sheffield Telegraph (England) of Friday 10th December 2010 - Music Section. They have recently been in the Studio recording again! A new CD should be released in the near future! The Shape Of The Rain: "Unreleased Recordings 1966-1973" (Background/Hi-Note Music, HBG 123/4 This is quite a nice collection of tunes (rehearsals and demos, mainly, some made in the kitchen or lounge of one of the band members home, on a reel to reel!) from '60s British psyche group Shape of the Rain, though the term "psychedelic" should be considered in a more generic '60s context that mirrors the bluesy, folk/country tack of the American West Coast groups from the same period as opposed to anything overtly acid-oriented. Having never heard their original-album counterparts, I can't give any comparisons, but this should be very useful for completists as well as an introduction to the group, though the recording quality of the tunes are adequate, so I don't feel that compelled to seek out all the alternate takes. "Broken Man" kicks off the disc from a '67 session, a great blues-rock stomp perhaps comparable to something early from Welsh group Man; less quirky, but catchy and with an interesting change-up at the chorus. Jumping right ahead to '73, "I Don't Need Nobody" is solid white-boy blues, but no one could have ever convinced me that this was recorded in the '70s. Strangely, the group must have never changed their gear or recording equipment, because all the '70s material on this disc could easily fool the listener as being '60s recordings, and certainly their style never deviated from the original course. "We're Not Their Boys" is again from a '73 session, but retains a freewheeling folksy '60s naivete that is whistful and endearing. "Hello 503" (Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, England.) freaks out a bit more toward the end with appropriately fx'd vocals complimenting the theme of the roboticisation of human beings in the technological age. The next bunch of tunes are from the earliest sessions ('66), reflected in the hissy tape quality - something I've actually grown to enjoy, as the tunes are still perfectly coherent, while giving their sound a more obscure dimension. This session is definitely a high point, at times reminiscent of the Stalk-Forrest Group recordings (precursor to the brilliant '70s phenomenon Blue Oyster Cult), though the latter came later. Especially cool is "Willowing Trees", dreamy '60s "garden-psyche" at its best. From the same session, "Spring" has classic wah-guitar, a lovely folky vocal melody and that wonderful '60s bulbous bass sound. From here, the quality of tunes seems to drop off a bit, though "Big Black Bird" and "Everyone the Fool" are stand-out tunes. For more information you can visit the Hi-Note Music web site at: Contact via snail mail c/o Hi-Note Music; PO Box 26; Windsor; SL4 2YX; UK. Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg Shape Of The Rain now have their own Facebook Page! Find and 'Like' as soon as possible and then have contact with other Fans! The 2012 Mix of 'Wasting My Time' is Now Available To Purchase on cdbaby, Spotify, Amazon and itunes! A 2012 New Recording and Promotional Video Clip 'Sample' by Shape Of The Rain, of 'Wasting My Time', is now to be found on You Tube. Well Done to the Band, Production Team and Kenny Riley ... Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.