Guide to British Music of the 1960s

September 2019

CD Review: Humble Pie - As Safe As Yesterday Is

Humble Pie could be considered one of the late 1960s supergroups. Steve Marriott had left the Small Faces, fed up with being considered a "teenybopper" band when he wanted the music to be taken seriously. Peter Frampton had been the face of 1968 and was in a similar position to Marriott in the Herd. In fact, Marriott tried to recruit Frampton as lead guitarist in the Small Faces so he could concentrate on his singing but the other members of the band rejected this idea. Jerry Shirley had been in Apostolic Intervention while Greg Ridley's CV included Spooky Tooth and Art.

Humble Pie broke cover in August 1969 with this debut album, debut single and the first live dates. The single Natural Born Bugie does appear as an additional track on some CD versions of this album with its b-side Wrist Job. However, these two tracks are not included on the original LP. There is a definite evolution from what Marriott and Frampton were producing in their previous bands. Marriott's later songs with the Small Faces had pointed the way with the heavier guitar of Wham Bam Thank You Mam as well as the acoustic tracks such as The Autumn Stone. Greg Ridley's Spooky Tooth certainly had a much heavier and more intense sound than the chart acts.

The majority of the tracks are written by Steve Marriott or Peter Frampton with the title track being a combined effort. Former Small Faces bandmate Ian McLagan contributes Growing Closer while Desperation is a Steppenwolf track written by John Kay. Along with the much "heavier" sound akin to Spooky Tooth or some later Small Faces tracks there are folk, Indian or even country elements. McLagan's Growing Closer nods towards Jethro Tull while I'll Go Alone channels Led Zeppelin's Communication Breakdown.

This debut album points the way towards the harder rock direction that Humble Pie would adopt over the next few years alongside softer acoustic numbers. These is a clear evolution from the band members' former groups to defining music for the 1970s. It is also clear that the sound is much more geared to the US market where Humble Pie became far more successful than they were in the UK. This was despite the members having little experience of playing in the US at the time.

LP Release: 1 August 1969


Essential Tracks

  • Growing Closer
  • A Nifty Little Number Like You
  • As Safe as Yesterday Is

Track Listing: 

  1. Desperation
  2. Stick Shift
  3. Buttermilk Boy
  4. Growing Closer
  5. As Safe As Yesterday Is
  6. Bang
  7. Alabama '69
  8. I'll Go Alone
  9. A Nifty Little Number Like You
  10. What You Will

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