Mike Starrs – 70s solo album Electric Garden to get CD reissue w/ bonus tracks

Scottish singer Mike Starrs recorded albums with Colosseum II and Lucifer’s Friend in the late ’70s, but prior to that, he had released a number of solo singles, as well as a solo album in 1974.

First ever CD release of Mike Starrs’ only solo album

Remastered by band member Gerry Morris and approved by Mike Starrs and original producer Tony Atkins.

 Includes all four of his non-album singles as bonus tracks; a ‘catch-all’ of his 1970s solo releases.

Featuring 12 tracks Electric Garden was pure 70s pop, featuring plenty of ballads, strings, and songs that would’ve fit a number of AM radio playlists. Most of the songs were written by bass player Gerry Morris, at least half of those with Starrs. Morris had previously been a part of 60s band The Cymbaline, as well as prog band Lodestone – who’s lone 1971 album Time Flies, is also seeing a CD release next month. On Electric Garden, Starrs was also supported by the Rubettes’ John Richardson (drums) & Peter Arnesen (keyboards), as well as Mike Bailey (trumpet + string and brass arrangements), and guitarist Geoff Whitehorn! The latter would go on to Crawler, Bad Company and Procol Harum. Both Whitehorn and Gerry Morris also released his solo albums in ’74, with much of the same support crew (players, producer, engineers). All these albums were produced by Tony Atkins (Marquee Productions). Both Morris and Atkins have also been involved with this Cherry Red release of Electric Garden. I have the original LP version of Electric Garden, on the Telefunken label, and can only find another release for it on Pink Elephant (Netherlands), it is the latter that was used as the base for this CD reissue, as the 2 1974 issues had slightly different tracklistings and running orders. And though it was recorded and mixed in London Electric Garden never got a UK release in ’74! The album’s cover shot of Mike was one of (or The) first to be taken by famous ’70s photographer Barry Levine, who went on to credits with the likes of The Sweet, Kiss, The Runaways and more.

In a 2014 interview with Mike Starrs, he recalled – “In the ’70s I was living and working in London, Singing 6 nights a week in a Pub in Essex the Band was called Spinning Wheel our keyboard player for approximately 2yrs was Rick Wakeman – who as you know went on to become rather well known. A record producer heard the band and offered me a deal with The Marquee Studios which was behind the Famous Marquee Club. I recorded 1 album and a couple of singles.”

Electric Garden originally came with lengthy liner notes, and biography on Mike Starrs on the back cover, the CD reissue includes those, as well as new linernotes from Mike. Electric Garden also includes Mike Starrs’ version of “Da-Doo-Ron-Ron”, originally a hit for ’60s all-female American act The Crystals, (and was later a hit for Shaun Cassidy). It is listed as a ‘bonus’ track here, though it is the first track on my German vinyl pressing, it wasn’t included on the original Dutch LP. The Pink Elephant LP also featured one more track than the Telefunken version, including “Loving You” (Atkins/Morris) and “I’ll Take Good Care Of You” – originally written by American Jerry Ragovoy and became a hit for R & B singer Garnett Mimms in 1966. Highights on the album include the ballad “Beautiful Day” (Starrs/Morris), the upbeat “Electric Garden” (Morris), “Hold One” (penned, but apparently unused by Lodestone), as well an excellent cover of Lesley Duncan’s 1970 hit “Hold On”. The heavier rockin’ B-side “Witches Brew” (Morris) is a great addition, would’ve made a good album cut too. More recently Starrs has recorded with Crossover, and with Peter Hesslein; Gerry Morris went on to success as a songwriter and producer, working with American singer Amii Stewart (among others).

TRACKLISTING:

FEEL SO GOOD
WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
ELECTRIC GARDEN
THE WILL
GOOD LIFE
TO EVERYONE CONCERNED
LOVING YOU
BEAUTIFUL DAY
LOOKING FOR LOVE
I’LL TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOU
HOLD ON
LOVE SONG
*Bonus tracks
WITCHES BREW
LOST WITHOUT YOU
DA-DOO-RON-RON
BLUE AND WHITE

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/mikestarrsoflucifersfriendandcolosseumII

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