You likely haven’t heard of Canadian musician Lorence Hud unless you’re a fan of April Wine, and recognize his name as the writer of one of the band’s biggest hits – “Sign Of The Gypsy Queen”. However, years before April Wine made this song one of their own classics, with their 3 guitar approach on the 1981 album “Nature Of The Beast” – this song had a prior chart placing and release on Lorence Hud’s debut solo album in 1972. Hud’s debut album on A&M Records received no US release – Canada and Japan only. The singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist played all the instruments on his debut and wrote every track. Sign Of The Gypsy Queen is easily the stand-out track, but the album was a pretty decent collection of pop-rock, folk, a touch of country… The single though would chart on various radio and regional charts throughout Canada, and reached #16 on RPM magazine’s national chart.
Hud being a storyteller throughout this album; I can see how Hud was probably influenced a good bit by Elton John at the time, especially on the piano ballad “Grab Hold & Hang On ” [which also reminds me roughly of the Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody”] – would’ve made a good single. “Master Of Pantomime” is another good song here, a down-on-his-luck character who entertains for food and drink [reminds me somewhat of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr Bojangles”. That song was issued as a single, along with the track “Siren In The Night” – this track being a bit less folky, featuring more guitar, surprised this one didn’t catch on more. The track “Summer Rose” would later be covered and released as a single by Canadian country artist Wayne Rostad, and becoming a hit on Canadian country charts.
For the follow up album “Dancin’ In My Head”, Hud went to Nashville to write and work with more musicians. This is where any ‘magic’ that the first album featured was lost, in my opinion. Hud was longer writing and playing everything. Producer Norbert Putnam, who’s credits included Joan Baez, Brewer & Shipley, and New Riders On The Purple Sage was hired and brought in numerous musicians – most notably David Briggs [credits included Alice Cooper, Neil Young, Spirit…], and Ginger Holladay [credits include Elvis, Roy Orbison, Baez, Linda Ronstadt]; other players had lengthy list of Nashville sessions. The first single was “Guilty Of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, a more upbeat country-ish tune, with plenty of backing vocals and horns [courtesy of the Memphis Horns]. The song though was penned by Goldberg [who’s songwriting credits included Tom Jones, The Monkees, and Dusty Springfield] . The album as a whole was less folky, a bit more upbeat, but definitely more country sounding, with less impressive songs, and a bit too much of everything [production & outside players], taking Hud from his Canadian folk-pop-rock debut to a hopeful Nashville up and comer. Four tracks come from Nashville writers, a few of which had been recorded & released previously. Notable Hud-written tunes here include “Those Good Time Songs” and “Madame La Rue” [also released as a single]. “The Song That Annie Sings” was also a minor hit in Canada [as it was pushed to country stations].
The album though was a commercial flop, and didn’t break Hud through, perhaps as expected. It was only released in Canada and Spain [I would’ve thought it would’ve received a US release, but see no listings for such]. In 1974 he was the ‘special guest’ to Canadian band The Stampeders, on their tenth Anniversary tour across Canada.
A few further singles were released in ’74 and ’75, but no 3rd album. It would be close to a decade before Lorence Hud returned with a new record. He did reportedly relocate to Los Angeles and work as part of a songwriting company that also included Rick Springfield and Les Emerson [ex Five Man Electrical Band]. A 4-song ‘min-album’ was released in 1983 on Quality Records in Canada. Produced by ‘Moe Bottom’ [hmm…], and engineered by Rich Dodson [of The Stampeders]. Whether he was inspired by the success of April Wine’s version of his song or just wanted to get in to a new rock scene, Hud completely re-invented his image and sound. Gone were the acoustics, folk and country sounds of his previous 2 albums, as he came out with a typical upbeat 80s aor-rock record; all pop-rockers, no ballads. Lyrics are less about tales and more geared to the typical 80s stuff, with anthems like “Don’t Touch That Dial” and “Here’s To You”. This mini-album though features very little information regarding any other players on this or any lyrics, etc..
I imagine it stiffed in ’83, as there’s very little info out there on it [tho not impossible to find]. A shame, as Hud had a pretty good rock voice for this sort of stuff, and the songs aren’t bad for the period.
Following this album, not sure where Lorence Hud’s career went, though I found mention of his involvement in a song named “Nature’s Eyes”, co-written by producer Joey Cee for a benefit record. I’ve found nothing further on this [if anyone has it!?]
For much of the 2000’s Hud has been involved in legal issues, all of which is well detailed on Canadian news sites. I’ve attached a few newspaper articles from Hud’s musical career [via http://www.newspapers.com ] I’ve see no CD re-issues of Lorence Hud’s albums listed anywhere, but if you stumle across the first one – check it out.
Further reading & Discography: