Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Blast From The Past – Snafu

Back in the mid-seventies around the same time that we as a group of friends discovered the brilliance of “Quadrophenia” by The Who we also somehow stumbled across Snafu and their 1974 released second album “Situation Normal” though I don’t know how or why.

Whilst collectively we all went on to love all the music of The Who only one track remained a fixture in our compilation tapes of the time and here it is.

“Lock and Key” – Snafu

For more information on Snafu you won’t find much better than this great site:-

However here is a brief resume:-

SNAFU is an acronym meaning situation normal: all f###ed up. It is sometimes bowdlerized to situation normal: all fouled up or similar.

In simple terms, it means that the normal situation is in a bad state, as it always is, therefore nothing unexpected. It’s usually used in jest, or as a sign of frustration. The acronym is believed to have originated in the US Army during World War II.

In modern usage, snafu is sometimes used as an interjection. Snafu also sometimes refers to a bad situation, mistake, or cause of trouble.

The band in question were however a British Rhythm and Blues/ rock band of the 1970s featuring vocalist Bobby Harrison and the talented slide guitarist Micky Moody, well highlighted by the above track.

The musical influences were mainly American and came from bands such as The Allman Brothers and in particular Little Feat, one of Bobby Harrison’s favourite bands.

Richard Branson, who had recently built The Manor Studio, and had started recording a long composition by a then unknown guitarist, Mike Oldfield, was also impressed with the efforts of Snafu, who arrived at The Manor Studio to record their first LP. In fact, Oldfield was working on ‘Tubular Bells’ while Snafu were there and Pete Solley actually played briefly on the recording.

The band’s first, eponymously titled, LP and single received good reviews but were less successful commercially.

However, at the time when ‘Snafu’ was released, the group successfully toured Europe with The Doobie Brothers and then the U.S. with The Eagles.

By the second LP, “Situation Normal”, as highlighted above, Pete Solley had taken over much of the control of the band and there is a strong country-rock influence on the album. However, it was not as well reviewed as its predecessor. The band toured America as a support act for Emerson Lake and Palmer, but participation in the tour was seen by many as a mistake.

Snafu’s third LP, “All Funked Up”, has long been seen as their ‘great lost album’ and is highly elusive in its original vinyl format.

Pete Solley had left to join Procol Harum. He was replaced first by Brian Chatton (previously with John Miles) and later by Tim Hinkley, who was a much-used session player at the time. They both play on the album, which again was recorded at The Manor.

During a tour of Germany, Moody was invited to join David Coverdale and he accepted. Harrison tried to keep Snafu together for a while with Clem Clempson (Colosseum, Humble Pie, Champion) on guitar, but it didn’t work.

Snafu are notable for their combining of the British rhythm and blues tradition with U.S inspired elements of funk and country music. Micky Moody’s distinctive guitar playing, often with slide, provided the band with a distnctive hard-edged R&B sound, particularly on such numbers as our favourite  “Lock and Key”.

To buy the music of Snafu click HERE

PS Don’t mix them up with the other Snafu  a US Funk/ rock/ Reggae band featuring vocalist/guitarist Phillip Bonanno, drummer Ryan Plummer, and bassist Steve Taylor.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music | | Leave a comment


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