Author Topic: The American Sassafras  (Read 18833 times)

Stephen Barstow

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2009, 11:23:16 AM »
Sorry for raising the blood pREESure, Pete. It was Dai Shell and not Dai Rees who played for Sassafras....

Nick Nation

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2009, 01:06:59 PM »
I remember also doing an interview by phone with lead guitarist Dai Rees (nice chap) which I don't think was ever printed (just found it) - has some Man related titbits if anyone's interested...

Yes please....provided you don't mean http://www.theeventconsultants.com/Entertainment/Bands/sassafras/sassafras.html who look a bit scary...
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Michael Heatley

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2009, 01:29:27 PM »
What - Dai Rees didn't Shell out?  :o

Pete T

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2009, 03:08:53 PM »
What - Dai Rees didn't Shell out?  :o
Nope, cheque was cashed all those years ago, didn't get the tape until Roger did me a copy..
Virgin places don't mean a thing to people who never bring their hearts along.

Stephen Barstow

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2009, 05:53:38 PM »
The next installment of the Dai Shell interview started on the botany thread. Dai explains the true background to the name Sassafras:
 
Dai: The true story is that Ralph (Evans) was married to a girl, Gill, from Canada. Coming back from a holiday in Canada, he was raving about a band who?d put out a  song called ?Hot Smoke and Sassafras?.  We knew straight away what name the band should have ? Hot Smoke! That lasted a couple of months before it was changed to Sassafras.  

And Youtube brings you the very song by the late great Bubble Puppy (I feel sick): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkbafnjpxV4  
Was Jon Anderson also a fan??

More to come....

Stephen Barstow

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2009, 11:49:24 AM »
Part III

Please bear in mind that this is my one and only "rock star" interview...

StEvil: You apparently hold the record for the most gigs in one year 332 including 3 gigs in one day.  What?s the story there?

Dai: Yeah, we were generally recognized as a hard working band. The 3 gigs in one day story is that we started  with a gig at a holiday resort at Lands End, then travelled overnight by road up to Warrington Football Ground for an afternoon gig and then on to Nottingham Boat Club ? a great venue. We even drove back to Wales after the gig. Status Quo also did that, but they flew!

StEvil:What are your influences?

Dai: I remember hearing Eric Clapton with John Mayhall?s Bluesbreakers doing Hideaway. I was sold?. My musical tastes were quite diverse and one of my biggest influences was actually a band called Area Code 615 ? you know they did the theme tune for the Old Grey Whistle Test ? Storm Fox Chase. I?d love to hear them again. Haven?t heard them for years! I like melody ? we started with songs based on riffs, but our material became more melodic and structured as time went by.  Playing in the States (with the likes of Ten Years After, Peter Frampton and Fleetwood Mac) influenced our writing.

(to be continued)

Martin Daughton

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2009, 09:01:46 PM »
Coming back from a holiday in Canada, he was raving about a band who?d put out a  song called ?Hot Smoke and Sassafras?.  

I have two versions from the UK; one by The Mooche and the other by Nite People.

There is a third by Portobello Explosion which was the first release on the Carnaby record label which later released the first single by Quicksand...

Stephen Barstow

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2009, 11:09:51 AM »
Part IV

StEvil: You did several BBC sessions (both Bob Harris and John Peel), at least two In Concert programmes and the OGWT twice. One of them was a special broadcast live from Cardiff. Bob Harris told us that his Dad was from near Cardiff. Sassafras and Budgie played live in the studio, there was footage of Man at the Golder?s Green Hippodrome and an album track from the Neutrons. Bob Harris with his preference for American influenced music particularly liked the band. Any chance of any of that material being released?

Dai: Yeah, Bob came along to a few gigs. We?d love to put out some of that material, but there haven?t been any approaches so far.  Alan Freeman once played Wheelin? and Dealin? twice after one another on his Saturday afternoon show. We thought we had made it! But it wasn?t too be. By 1976, we were wrecked and we called it a day! It was the usual story ? punk had arrived?. At about this time we were approached by Carl Leighton?Pope who wanted to take them further, but with a different singer and  style, but loyalty to Terry and their existing manager lead them to turn him down. Leighton-Pope went on to manage Wham. Maybe that was our big mistake?

(Part V is on its way...)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2009, 11:11:27 AM by StEvil »

Stephen Barstow

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2009, 11:36:37 AM »
Episode V

StEvil: I?d like to know what links there are with the Manband? I understand that ex-Man drummer Jeff Jones joined Sassafras for a while when you reformed in the late 70s/early 80s. Mannerisms also mentions that Jeff Jones played on an American release called ?Sassafras? from 1978. Tell us about that.

Dai: Yes, there were actually two releases of Wheelin? and Dealin?. Some of the tracks were redone. I guess it was that. Actually, Ralph has a few demos from that period and we?re considering revamping them. We felt that it was a shame to just let Sassafras die and we reformed. Terry (Bennett) had joined a band called Krakatoa and Eddie Williams was brought in as his replacement. He had a voice like an angel! This band even did a tour og Yugoslavia! We kept going for about 6 months.

StEvil: Other Man connections? I understand your original drummer Congo Jones played with Love Sculpure and played on their classic Sabre Dance  to be replaced by Terry Williams when he left. 

Dai: Yeah, that?s right. The last time we played with Man was at that Welsh Legends of Rock evening (September 2001) at the CIA (Cardiff International Arena). And before that it was 25 years ago in December 1976 at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

(More to come, tell me if I'm boring you and I'll stop....)

Martin Daughton

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2009, 12:48:20 PM »
Mannerisms also mentions that Jeff Jones played on an American release called ?Sassafras? from 1978.

Which is why I started this thread in the first place.
I had already let Mr Mycock know that Mannerisms was incorrect in this case.
Interesting about the redoing of some of the tracks on Wheelin' & Dealin' with Jeff though - when was the reissue?
Maybe Mannerisms III will have the corrections.

lloydie

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2009, 02:34:18 PM »
great stuff this as Ive mentioned before firsr band I saw live supporting Jim Dandy and his gang at the Liverpool Stadium.Love to see them again if they play. :)

Nick Nation

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2009, 04:44:21 PM »
More to come, tell me if I'm boring you and I'll stop....

No No, Saint - keep 'em coming!
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Stephen Barstow

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2009, 01:01:06 PM »
Through popular demand (if 3 people can be counted as a populace?) here's Part VI of the Dai Shell (not Rees) interview

StEvil: Have you read either of Deke?s books? Are any of the band mentioned?

Dai: Well actually Elli (Dai?s lady, manager, video and CDproducer and ex-President of the Lusitano Horse Breeder?s Association!) is reading it at the moment. She?s been reading whole sections out to me and we end up in fits of laughter at some parts. Brilliant!  No, I don?t think we?re in there.

I still don?t know how I missed seeing Sassafras in the 70s, particularly as you gigged almost continuously. I attended most gigs at Uni.

Dai: Where were you?

Exeter and East Anglia.

Dai: Well, we certainly played Exeter University on a couple of occasions. One was with Stackridge?

I saw Stackridge at Exeter??(amazed by Dai?s memory and my total lack of the same). Had I seen them after all?

Dai: You probably went home early!

mikes

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2009, 04:27:56 PM »
Great, StEvil! Are there more to come???

Dan Singh

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Re: The American Sassafras
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2009, 05:05:22 PM »
StEvil, put all these together and you could have a book..!!