Five Day Rain – ‘Good Year: The Five Day Rain Anthology’ (2022)

    Five Day Rain – ‘Good Year: The Five Day Rain Anthology’ (2022)

    While the Sussex based prog/psychedelic rock band Five Day Rain was only viable for the last half of 1970 and had no musical product to show for their efforts, the group’s story is much more involved, and the subsequent half century has seen numerous releases, including copies of their promo-only LP, the last fetching 4,000 pounds sterling when offered to collectors in 2017.

    At long last Cherry Red Records has gathered all the Five Day Rain recordings, as well as setting straight the quartet’s tangled tale, in the new two disc anthology ‘Good Year’ on its Grapefruit Records imprint.

    Five Day Rain formed when power trio Iron Prophet members Rick Sharpe (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Clive Shepherd (vocals, bass) and Dick Hawkes (drums) were joined by ex-Fleur de Lys member Graham Maitland (vocals, keyboards, Mellotron, Moog). The band entered IBC Studios in June 1970 to begin recording on their debut album, with Kim Haworth, brother of Fleur de Lys guitarist Bryn Haworth, replacing Hawkes behind the drum kit. The band would cut two demo-only albums, neither of which found release, before splitting up at the end of the year. It would be 1993 before the group’s recordings finally appeared on the UK Background Records label, in the form of nine track LP and CD packages, with two tracks ‘Leave It At That’ and ‘Marie’s A Woman’ in alternate mixes. Disc one of this set opens with those nine tracks as well as the track the band intended as the opener for their album, an organ led, bass heavy cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Too Much Of Nothing’. ‘Leave It At That’ is a Spooky Tooth style keyboard driven tune with blasts of guitar from Sharpe who contributes a hot solo. ‘Good Year’ is a Mellotron laden track with gentle guitars and vocal harmonies a la Moody Blues featuring the lyrics “good year, when you gonna happen to me, good year, when you gonna come along?” ‘Reason Why’ is a bluesy number with vocals distorted thanks to a Leslie cabinet, with keyboards to the fore. ‘Fallout’ features driving lead guitar and a solo courtesy of John Holbrook, an IBC producer/engineer, and vocals by Maitland, much to composer Sharpe’s chagrin. ‘Marie’s A Woman’ spotlights Sharpe’s guitar and Maitland’s organ and haunting vocals. ‘Don’t Be Misled’ is a driving keyboard driven rocker featuring thundering bass by Shepherd. ‘Sea Song’ again showcases John Holbrook on guitar complemented by Maitland’s piano and Mellotron. The group’s magnum opus is the eleven minute ‘Rough Cut Marmalade’ with its Mellotron, organ and guitar riff, with Shepherd and Haworth locked into a groove on the bottom end. The effects laden guitar work of Sharpe and Haworth shine along with Maitland’s organ, the band again reminiscent of Spooky Tooth at their best. The extended track gives each member of the band a chance to show their chops. ‘Lay Me Down’ features piano and gorgeous vocals by Shepherd and Maitland, the just over one minute long tune, with its organ outro is a perfect closer for the album. The disc is finished off by the original 1970 mixes of ‘Leave It At That’ and ‘Marie’s A Woman’ and an edited version of ‘Too Much Of Nothing’.

    Disc two begins with five tracks from the first promo-only LP. ‘Wanna Make Love To You’ is a hot guitar rocker with an edgy solo and mouth harp. Sharpe’s fuzz guitar is hot. ‘So Don’t Worry’ is a driving rocker with thundering bass, nice drum rolls and plenty of riffs from Sharpe. ‘Dartboard’ is filled with guitar effects, fuzz and echoplex among others, and Maitland adding synthesizer for texture. ‘Miss Elizabeth’ and ‘Dartboard’ are definitely the two hottest tracks from the early sessions. Fuzz guitar, organ and echoed vocals give ‘Miss Elizabeth’ a ‘Parchman Farm’ feel, Sharpe’s guitar roaring and soaring, with organ swirling in and out, Shepherd’s bass and Haworth’s drums locked in. False stops add to the vibe as the band rocks away. ‘Lay Me Down’ is a short, gentle ballad showcasing the band’s vocal abilities. A cover of Bobby Hebb’s ‘Sunny’ is melodic with a tasteful guitar solo outro. Next up is an edited version of ‘Rough Cut Marmalade’ which rocks as hard as the full length cut. Both sides of a single the band cut in 1971 under the name Studd Pump are included for historical purposes. ‘Spare The Children’ is melodic, with vocals dominating the restrained wah wah guitar. ‘Floating’ is a ‘Suzie Q’ flavored tune featuring distorted guitar. 1977 remakes of ‘Reason Why’ and ‘Fallout’ by Rick Sharpe are up next, the former without its vocals distorted and featuring a gorgeous lead guitar line, the latter with Sharpe on vocals as he had desired and a wah wah filled solo, both tunes besting the originals. In 2005 Rick Sharpe took four unreleased Five Day Rain backing tracks, adding vocals, guitars and harmonica. ‘Antonia’ has a synthesizer intro leading to a heavy lead line and shining solo, the tune remaining an instrumental aside from a whispered “Antonia” outro. ‘So Don’t Worry’ has Maitland and Sharpe delivering piano and guitar solos, the latter adding a hot lead line before whispering “so don’t worry” as the tune plays out. ‘The Boy’ is a red hot guitar and organ Black Sabbath sounding rocker, Sharpe’s echoed Ozzyish vocals floating over fuzzed out space rock guitar. ‘Wanna Make Love To You’ is a bluesy number with Sharpe’s mouth harp giving way to fiery guitar adding a heavy metal touch to a blues rocker. The set closes with three 1978 remixes ‘Reason Why’, ‘Fallout’ and ‘Outroduction (Lay Me Down)’ credited to the fictitious band One Way Ticket on an album titled ‘Time Is Right’ with which the disc and set close..

    ‘Good Year: The Five Day Rain Anthology’ comes in a tri-fold digipak. The set includes a 24 page full color booklet with full track annotations, an extensive essay by David Wells and many photographs of the band, album artwork, press clippings and other memorabilia. Five Day Rain has never sounded so good thanks to the mastering job of Oli Hemingway at The Wax Works. The set will appeal to fans of prog and psychedelic rock, 1970’s rock and rock music in general and comes highly recommended.

    Kevin Rathert

    Five Day Rain – ‘Good Year: The Five Day Rain Anthology’ (Grapefruit 2022)


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