November 03, 1969
Released: November, 1969 (Decca SKL-R 5015)
Re-released: April 18th, 2005 (Decca 844 115-2)
THE END would like to acknowledge the following:
The End – Introspection
Among the records included as part of Decca Records release schedule in November 1969 appeared an album that in retrospect should have receive more commercial attention than it attained. The album was "Introspection" by The End, a psychedelic masterpiece that owed its existence due to the patronage of Rolling Stone Bill Wyman and is itself a part of Rolling Stones history.
For various reasons the album was left on the shelf for over a year after its completion and in the fast moving musical climate of the late sixties "Introspection" appeared dated in the space of the eighteen months since the album's completion, with psychedelic whimsy now giving way to power trios, heavy rock and emerging "progressive" music. In this whirlwind of constant musical progression, this well crafted album was deleted soon after its release and consigned to the back pages of musical history.
However, some years later "Introspection" found itself caught up in the mythology of late sixties rock history, finding some of its music attributed to The Rolling Stones and even a supposed Beatles collaboration. The truth is a little less stellar, although several members of the Rolling Stones did find their way on to the album and had links with The End that went back as far as 1963.
The End had their roots in a Surrey based outfit called The Innocents. Saxophonist and guitarist Colin Giffin explains, "The band was primarily a backing group for the singer Mike Berry and it featured Dave Brown and myself. We did a lot of live work with Mike and also worked with John Leyton and Jet Harris, and we backed the Four Seasons on their first UK tour. We were managed by Robert Stigwood. Stigwood organised a package tour with John Leyton as a headliner and it featured a new band called The Rolling Stones who were lower down the bill. Dave and I got on well with Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. We used to socialise with Bill after the shows. Bill said that if we ever needed any help with our future career we should give him a call."
Shortly after the John Leyton tour Robert Stigwood's management company collapsed leaving The Innocents without a manager. Soon afterwards, following the release of three solo singles for EMI's Columbia label and a collaboration with The Le Roys for Regal Zonophone, The Innocents split up. Giffin recalls, "Dave and I were left wondering what to do next. A friend of Dave's suggested that we get in touch with two musicians he knew called Nicky Graham and John Horton, who at the time were playing with Dicky Pride. We made contact and soon got a new band together. Our original drummer was a chap called Roger Groom who we'd worked with in Bobby Angelo and The Tuxedos, prior to being in The Innocents. When we got together as The End we took Bill Wyman at his word and got in touch with him and Bill arranged for us to open for The Rolling Stones on their first tour as headliners."
It was soon after this tour that Bill Wyman suggested taking the band into the recording studio. "Bill was knocking around with Glyn Johns, who was The Rolling Stones' engineer at that time. They both liked what we were doing. In those days we were influenced by American artists like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett and were very much into the Soul thing. We had two saxophone players and there weren't too many British band doing that kind of thing then. Bill and Glyn saw us as a worthwhile production project."
The first fruit of the Wyman/Johns production partnership was the single "I Can't Get Any Joy" b/w "Hey, Little Girl" which was released as Philips BF 1444 in mid-1965. Although the single failed to chart, it generated enough interest for the band to get further live work, which would eventually lead to Top Five chart success in Spain. "In the winter of 1966 we had a gig in Zermatt in Switzerland at a hotel there, appearing with the Ready Steady Go Dancers" recalls Colin Giffin. "At that point our second saxophonist John Horton had left and Gordie Smith had replaced him. While we were in Switzerland an old friend of Gordie's called Sandra Le Brock, who was a choreographer for a Spanish TV show, came over to England looking for acts to appear on this show. She contacted Gordie to ask if we would be interested in going to Spain to do some work. She was also scouting acts for a Spanish record label called Sonoplay who wanted an English band on their roster."
Upon returning to England from Switzerland, the band consulted with Bill Wyman and opted to try their luck on the Spanish music circuit. Several singles were recorded at IBC and Olympic studios and were produced by Bill Wyman who licensed the marterial to Sonoplay Records. The End soon found themselves stars in Spain, fraternising with acts such as Los Bravos and being part of the Madrid music scene. Soon after this inititla success The End underwent a line-up change that reflected the change in direction that the band wished to pursue.
Whilst working in Spain the band met British guitarist Terry Taylor and subsequently invited him to join The End. "The band never had a lead guitarist" explains Taylor. "At that time Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix were really reaching prominence. Colin was playing rhythm guitar, but they all felt they needed a soloist to explore some new musical directions and asked me to join."
Colin Giffin adds, "Gordie Smith soon departed the fold and our brass section thing disappeared. The psychedelic influence began to come in at that point when our music became more guitar based."
It was during this time that Bill Wyman suggested that The End concentrate their energies on recording material for an album aimed at the UK market that was so openly embracing Psychedelia following the success of The Beatles' "Strawberry Field Forever" single and "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.
Work on the material that would eventually make up the "Introspection" album began in July 1967.
"The album was part of a continuous process of recording singles and EPs," explains Bill Wyman. "We started recording singles at R G Jones studios and at Decca's facility in West Hampstead before moving to Olympic studios to record the album. Olympic was a quality studio with eight track facilities, which meant we could do more there. That's when the odd guest appearances happened from Nicky Hopkins and Charlie Watts. Bits of the album were recorded when I was recording "Satanic Majesties" with the Stones. The tracks "Loving Sacred Loving" and "Shades Of Orange" were later confused by bootleg collectors as being Stones tracks that were unused from that album and that The Beatles appeared on them, as they were psychedelic. They were mooted as being Beatles/Stones collaboration out-takes!"
Work on "Introspection" took place throughout the winter of 1967-1968 whilst The End fulfilled commitments in Spain. Although progress was relatively slow, it nearly ended prematurely. Colin Giffin recalls, "One night at Olympic Studios I was taken seriously ill and was rushed to Epsom Hospital with acute kidney stone complications. The rumour mill started that one of The Rolling Stones was in the hospital and I remember nurses looking around the curtains of the bed to see which member of the Stones had been admitted to the hospital!"
After diagnosis Giffin was discharged from hospital and work duly continued on the album, with various members of the Rolling Stones family offering encouragement. "Our producer, Jimmy Miller was very helpful and would drop into sessions to offer his advice," remembers Bill Wyman. "Glyn Johns liked what we had done and came in to mix the album."
The material on "Introspection" mirrored the psychedelic style explored by The Rolling Stones on "Their Satanic Majesties Request" and contained many fine compositions. Indeed, material such as "Under The Rainbow", "Cardboard Watch" and the two parts of "Introspection" stand up well alongside material produced by The End's better-known musical compatriots.
The Wyman penned "Shades Of Orange" b/w "Loving, Sacred Loving" was the first product of nearly nine months studio work and was released as Decca F22750 in March 1968 to generally good reviews.
It was at the final production stage that the decision was made to include some humorous dialogue by bill Wyman's gardener, George Kenset. Bill explains, "George was my gardener, but he had worked with my father on building sites for years. He was a mate of my dad's from Sydenham and we took him into the studio once for a laugh, because he was a wealth of amazing and hilarious stories. We took him up to Decca Studios in West Hampstead one night and got him to tell his life story in about an hour. We thought it would be fun to use a couple of clips from that tape between the tracks on the album. I've still got all of that session on tape at home!"
George Kenset's "Bromley Common", "Linen Draper" and "Jacob's Bladder" anecdotes add a certain charm to the album, putting a decidedly British stamp of eccentricity on the proceedings. Indeed, one can speculate that Glyn Johns took this idea one step further when he worked with The Small Faces on their uniquely British album "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake", recorded at Olympic Studios around the time these finishing touches were being applied to "Introspection". Try comparing the two albums and you might see a certain similarity in style.
Duly mixed and compiled "Introspection" was then handed to The Rolling Stones business manager Alan Klein to ensure a release in both Britain and America. And there the album stayed for the next eighteen months. Bill Wyman recalls, "I was so busy with the Stones at the time that I never really had the time to focus on The End that much. It was very difficult because I only had time to produce the records, I didn't want to be a manager and run the show, it was more of a hobby project for me. Eventually the album was released and received some good reviews, but it was a bit of a disaster in a way. "Introspection" only got a UK release because London Records in America put it out first. Decca in England just weren't interested in putting anything behind the record in the way of promotion. Music had also changed, the album was perfect for the era of Psychedelia, but by the time it was released, musical styles had moved on. Music had got a lot tougher and I think "Introspection" must have seemed a bit lightweight against Led Zeppelin, Cream, Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was put out and forgotten about, but has since become a collectors item, partly through my association with it, but also because it was a good record."
Colin Giffin adds, "I think if "Introspection" had been released a year earlier it may have made an impact and I wonder if the band would have fallen apart when it did. As it happenes, I think we had our moment.
"Eventually the band finished because of varied musical influences that were pulling us in different directions. Dave, Terry and Nicky wanted to go down the heavy rock route whilst Hugh and I wanted to go into another direction. Eventually we decided to call it a day."
Graham, Taylor and Brown soon formed the hard rock outfit Tucky Buzzard, recording one album for Capitol Records, "Warm Slash", before releasing a further two efforts for Deep Purple's Purple label. Hugh Atwool and Colin Giffin opted for careers away from performing. Terry Taylor has had a long career in music and is currently guitarist for Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings.
However, The End story didn't quite finish in 1969. As a postscript, September 9th 1999 saw the band reform and take to the stage at a festival in Spain. "We played to a large audience of people who weren't born when we were there in the mid-sixties," recalls Colin Giffin. "The most bizarre thing was that these people knew all the words to the songs, so our impact in Spain at least must have been larger than we thought!"
Over thirty years on and away from any fashionable constraints it is now easier to judge "Introspection" on its musical merits alone. You hold in your hands a fine album and a classic of the psychedelic genre.
Perhaps the last word should go to Bill Wyman... "It's nice that a lot of people now regard "Introspection" very highly. I think it's justified and after all these years I'm still very proud of the record."
Liner notes by Mark Powell
Full Track Listing
The End - Introspection