A product of the early-70′s, Rock Workshop were formed by Ray Russell and Alex Harvey and became an expansive band of thirteen musicians who created an innovative and technically articulate form of experimental rhythm and blues.
Ray Russell recalls that he was playing with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames and then appeared in the ‘Hair’ musical together with Alex Harvey’s brother Les. From this meeting, and Alex Harvey’s involvement on backing vocals in the musical, the idea of Rock Workshop was born.
The collective’s first album was issued in 1971 to great critical acclaim. However, due to their record company wanting to market them as an English ‘Blood Sweat And Tears’, they never achieved great commercial success. A second album was released before the band folded and Alex Harvey went on to great commercial and critical success with his own band.
This Angel Air CD features that first album together with bonus tracks. An informative CD booklet contains notes by Rich Wilson.
...another obscure early 70's UK release, cataches Rock Workshop performing tight, funky material, along with expansive instrumental passages.
Joseph Tortelli (June 2005)
Among other things that this make this release interesting is that it contains 'Hole In Her Stocking' which also made its appearance on SAHB's debut alnum 'Framed'...Musically, this is an album of its time, with loads of brass and good honest rock, but for me it is the vocals that lift it out of the ordinary and for SAHB fans this is essential.
Feedback (November 2002)
Alex Harvey's voice, against such a fulsome backdrop, is nothing less than a sheer pleasure...it's one of the most enjoyable packages of its ilk in a good while
Record Collector (December 2002)
If you're a fan of '70s experimental rock then this could be on your wavelength…there is quite a lot of good stuff here.
Modern Dance, Issue 43 (January 2003)
…the marriage between Harvey's inimitable vocals and some really punchy brass arrangements deserves your undivided attention.
Kevin Bryan, Belfast Telegraph (June 2003)
...there is much to commend...definitely an album for fans of early 70s jazz/rock
Steve Ward, Classic Rock Society (August 2004)
...a stylish effort...it's the musicians that carry the day. Powered by a five-piece horn section, Russell's strafing lead, busy congas and some earth-moving fuzz bass...
Chas Chandler, Record Collector (August 2004)
With moves from rock through soul and even some laid back blues this album is really an amalgam of styles and is played so well that it can be enjoyed even today...
Not many bands have a line-up that goes into double figures, but Rock Workshop were an experiment that when it worked, really worked.
Feedback (September 2004)
Like better-known British counterparts Colosseum, Rock Workshop experimented with jazz; they also explored rhythmic grooves, took soulful excursions, and gave Russell room to lay down heavy riffs and play torrid, unpredictable leads...
This 18 song/75 minute disc has seven alternate takes, including the unreleased single "Patterns"/"Watch Your Step." Three demos date back to Harvey's vocal period, notably a live concert recording of "Let My Bluebird Sing," a swinging dose of soulful pop transformed by a dissonant interlude.
Joseph Tortelli (June 2005)