Following the path laid by Buffalo Springfiled, The Byrds, Poco, The Eagles and many other Country Rock bands in the 70’s, Unicorn instilled its own British flair into some pretty inspired tunes and released 4 albums in The UK and 3 in the USA on Capitol Records with the help of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Once heard, this band could not be ignored. The only problem in those days was that the band wasn’t heard by many music fans. The ones who were lucky enough to find them, never forgot them. Today, hindsight in check, the brilliance of Unicorn is undeniable. And we at ItsAboutMusic.com will do everything we can to spread the word. Unicorn is back.
All CDs and downloads are taken from the original master tapes remastered by Andy Jackson at David Gilmour’s Astoria Floating Studio on The Thames for ItsAboutMusic.com. The sound is quite brilliant.
Biography by Bryan Thomas from AllMusicGuide.com
The Unicorn saga began in 1963 when Ken Baker met Pat Martin at secondary school in England. They were both learning to play the guitar at the time, and soon began jamming on British beat tunes and Beatles covers in Martin’s garage. Drummer and soon lead vocalist Peter Perryer was brought in and various people filled in on bass until Trevor Mee (who had been jamming with Tony Rivers & the Castaways) came aboard as a guitarist, with Martin switching over to bass. By 1968, they were playing gigs as the Late Edition (or simply the Late, as they called themselves by 1968) and backing other singers. In 1969, during a month-long residency in Copenhagen, they listened to the Crosby, Stills & Nash album, which been released in May of that year. It must have had a big impact, as the band returned to England and began transforming themselves into a country-rock outfit.
They began working on new demos, which were eventually pitched to the Transatlantic label, who offered them a contract to record an album. A young producer and apprentice of Shel Talmy named Hugh Murphy was brought in to work with the group (he later produced Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” hit). The group tried out a few new monikers (including the Pink Bears) before deciding upon Unicorn for the release of their first single. A tribute to the American songwriter, “P.F. Sloan,” their first single was released on Transatlantic’s Big T label, which was known mostly for folk releases (Bert Jansch and John Renbourn). Their debut album, Uphill All the Way, was released on Big T in 1971. The next recordings were directly influenced by exposure to groups like Traffic.
Around this same time, Mee left the group and was replaced by Kevin Smith (ex-Camel), who brought his love for the Clarence White-era Byrds into the group’s repertoire. They toured around Europe, opening for the Flying Burrito Brothers on a television program in Holland. In 1973, Unicorn performed at the wedding reception of a friend, where they met another guest, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, who joined them at the end of the evening during an impromptu jam of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” Gilmour later offered to produce the band in a new studio he’d had built at his country retreat in Essex. Unicorn recorded there on several occasions — with Gilmour sitting in on pedal steel — and he eventually helped the band secure a new record deal with his manager Steve O’Rourke’s EMKA organization. Gilmour produced Unicorn’s sessions in London’s Olympic Studios for their next album, Blue Pine Trees.
That album — probably the group’s best, sounding a bit like American soft rock/country-rock acts Poco, Firefall, and the Flying Burrito Brothers — was released on Charisma Records in the U.K, on Capitol in the U.S., and EMI International everywhere else. Capitol underwrote Unicorn’s U.S. tour, which found them opening for Fleetwood Mac, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Climax Blues Band, Camel, the Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Linda Ronstadt, and Styx. In 1975, Unicorn recorded at George Martin’s Air Studios and Olympic Studios, adding to these the leftover masters from their earlier sessions with Gilmour, which were collected for their next album, Too Many Crooks (released in America as Unicorn II). The album was subsequently issued by EMI’s Harvest imprint. Unicorn continued to tour with top acts of the day throughout the next few years, returning to the studio — this time, to Pink Floyd’s studio at Britannia Row in Islington — to work with Gilmour again. When Gilmour left the project to join Pink Floyd on tour,
Muff Winwood produced subsequent tracks at Island Studio. Another album, One More Tomorrow, was released in 1977, with Winwood again taking the producer role. This material had a considerable commercial bent and the band was reportedly not too happy with the results. It should not come as a big surprise that, by mid-1977, their soft rock/country-rock sound was also faltering with the emergence of punk rock and their popularity began to slip and they eventually decided to call it a day. A digitally remastered compilation of the band’s best songs was released in the U.K. by the See for Miles reissue label in 2000.
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The story of the band – 1963 – 1977
The band was initially formed in 1963 when Pat Martin met Ken Baker. Pete Perryer, a schoolmate of Ken, and Pat’s oldest friend, introduced the two at St. Bedes school in Send. (St. Bedes was the secondary school attended by Eric Clapton who is a distant relation of Pat.)
Ken Baker was having guitar lessons, and as the school summer holidays were coming up he invited Pat to his parent’s house near Ripley, Surrey (were Eric Clapton lived) to have a jam. This became a regular thing as Pat rode the five miles from Send to Ockham on his bike with his guitar. Ken had an amplifier that his uncle had made, and they both plugged into it. Pat with his first electric guitar, a Vox Stroller (a Stratocaster copy), and Ken with his Rosseti Lucky Seven. They both loved the Beatles and the Hollies, but to play those songs they needed to learn more than just the three chords that they knew at the time.
One night, when the time had been forgotten and Pat could not ride his bike home in the dark as it had no lights, Pat’s dad had to come to fetch him. Pat Martin senior (who was always known as Mr. Martin by the band and all connected with it) thought that if Pat Jr. pursued this love of beat music (this was 1963) it might keep him from mixing with the yobs he had been hanging around with. With this in mind he became their manager and bought them some better gear. A drummer was needed and Pete Perryer was recruited. Pat’s dad brought Pete an ex-Salvation Army bass drum and an old snare drum was purchased from Anderton’s music shop (still going) in Guildford. Various bass players completed the line up over the following year, but none of them were really good enough. The band practiced a lot. They acquired better instruments and equipment. Mr Martin’s garage (which was always known as The Shed) was sound proofed with egg boxes and polystyrene. and turned into a rehearsal room. Soon they started playing at local youth clubs.
At 17 Ken, Pete and Pat left school and they began playing many more gigs. The bass player of the day left to get a proper job and was replaced by Trevor Mee from Romford. Although very young, Trevor had been rehearsing with legendary harmony band “Tony Rivers and the Castaways”, who were known as the British Beach Boys. Pat went over to bass at this time because Trevor was a gifted guitarist and Ken started playing keyboards as well as guitar.
The band was now pro and practiced every day particularly working on their singing harmonies. Their song list consisted of covers of the better chart material. It was performed as near to the records as possible. Twice at this time the band backed other singers. Firstly a couple of black American soul singers called “Lunar Two”, and later “Sue and Sunny” who were top session singers and who later became “Brotherhood of Man”. In 1968 the band, now called “The Late” having earlier been “The Late Edition”, was booked for a month’s residency at The Carousel Club in Copenhagen. They performed forty-five minute sets three times each weeknight and five on weekends. One night the DJ from the “members only” Disco above The Carousel Club invited the band to “Come up to the club in between sets, I’ve got an album that is going to blow your minds” The band walked in, sat down with a Tuberg Lager and smoked a chilum (except Pete) for the first time, while they listened to the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. The DJ was he right. It blew Pete’s mind as well, and he was straight. Back in England the album was ordered as an import and the work of learning “Judy Blue Eyes”, and “Helplessly Hoping” began.
The band were still doing covers, but the CS&N; numbers were an inspiration and Ken started writing his own songs, They were soon introduced to the show. Unfortunately the agent to which they were signed booked them into venues where the audience only really wanted pop chart covers. The new material and the low key presentation (one part of the set was played seated on stools) were not appreciated. There were fewer gigs and a lot less money.
The situation was saved by the offer of work as Billy J. Kramer’s backing band. This would pay regular money, so pride was swallowed and the offer accepted. Billy was impressed by the musicianship and the ability of the band to sing harmony. the band was also impressed by Billy as a person to work with. He had some great stories about the Beatles and Brian Epstein. They stuck with it for about nine months, but playing week after week at places like Batley Variety Club and doubling at what were called “Airfix” social clubs (because they all looked like they were made from the same kit) took its toll. The medley of all of Billy’s hits in every show didn’t help either.
Working with Billy was a good experience and paid the bills. But real progress could only be made with a record deal. Demo recordings were made of some of Ken’s songs and Mr. Martin approached all the larger record companies but without success. Ken noticed the Transatlantic label on a Humblebums album and Mr. Martin gave them a try.
The company liked what they heard and offered a small deal to record an album with some of Ken’s songs but including some other material. Hugh Murphy, a young producer and apprentice of the legendary Shel Talmy was chosen to work on the album. (Hugh was later to produce “Baker Street” for Gerry Rafferty who had been one of the Humblebums). Hugh played with the band on “P F Sloane” and “Oh I’ve Loved Her So Long”. These two songs were selected to be added to the original Ken Baker songs, and the album was named “Uphill all the Way”. It was released under the band’s new name, Unicorn.
Recording in a professional studio for public release was a joy. The band managed to get hold of a Rickenbaker 12 string as used by the Byrds. They used it to good effect in achieving that jingle jangle sound. All their other heros’ influences also came out, the Beatles, CS&N;, The Band. Pat’s influence was the Motown bass playing of James Jamerson that he had always loved. It always seemed to Pat that if one had a feel for a song and learnt it note for note, something of it would get stored inside and would come out in the performance of Ken’s original songs.
In 1971 “Uphill all The Way” came out and Transatlantic arranged for Unicorn to open the show at the Festival Hall for Lindisfarne’s big launch in London. A tour of Britain supporting Stefan Grossman followed. He was sufficiently impressed with their harmony singing to use Unicorn on part of his next album “Wow”. This was their first session, although they do not remember being paid. Other gigs arranged by Transatlantic included the Roundhouse supporting Quiver and Terry ‘Superlungs’ Reed where they were well received. Unfortunately Transatlantic then changed their A&R; man and the new guy didn’t like soft rock. Once again the number of gigs decreased. Rehearsal time increased and Traffic and Steve Winwood became a new influence.
In 1972, during a successful string of gigs in the Channel Islands, including their first TV appearance, Trevor Mee met a girl and fell in love. Thereafter Trevor spent all his money flying to and from Guernsey to see her. He eventually left the band to go and live there. Kevin Smith from “Working” replaced him. Ken, Pat and Pete knew Kevin from the sixties when he used to play in a blues band. They had been stunned by his ability to play all the licks from the John Mayall album with Eric Clapton and from Jimi Hendrix’s first album. Now in late 1972 he was very into the Byrds especially their legendary guitarist Clarence White whose style of playing Kevin had off to a tee. When he came to The Shed to rehearse for the first time, the first number played was “Don’t say you Love Me” from the Byrds’ second album. It had an amazing Clarence White ‘B’ string bender solo on it. (Clarence White had not joined the Byrds at that time and had done it as a Nashville session man.) Kevin played it perfectly without the B string bender. He then spotted we had a Rickenbacker 12 String, picked it up, and they ended up playing nearly all the Byrds repertoire.
In 1972 Arisdon Records, an Italian company who licensed the Transatlantic catalogue in Italy, invited Unicorn to play three nights at the Venice Song Festival on the strength of the single “PF Sloane”. Arisdon was to pay all the expenses of the trip. Unicorn flew out to Venice and were given a very good hotel from where they walked to the gig carrying guitars (amplifiers were provided). At the hall they were told that the show was being televised all over Europe.
The broadcast was live, and afterwards a guy in a suit approached them backstage. In broken English he told them that he would be sending a Maestro to the hotel the next day. The band, knowing no Italian, thought he meant a hired car. The following day they played through “PF Sloane” for the MD, or maestro, of the pit orchestra. He made some notes on manuscript paper, gave a big beaming smile and went on his way. At the performance that night as they got to the first chorus a forty-piece orchestra joined in unrehearsed with a perfect arrangement. It was their first experience of playing live with an orchestra and Pat remembers experiencing a rush that left him weak at the knees.
Through the song festival Unicorn was offered a tour of northern Italy to begin a few weeks later. At the Italian border customs post Pat jumped out of the van to show the carefully prepared Carnet Document while the others waited inside. The Carnet was duly signed, but Pat was then asked for the document to permit entry of the van into Italy. This was something that had not been anticipated and when Pat asked where he could get one he was told the Italian Embassy in London. He explained that they had a gig in Milan that night but the customs officer only shook his head. In desperation he looked towards the van for some moral support at this stressful moment. To his surprise he saw Pete get out and come over. When he arrived he looked at the customs officer and said, “Anywhere you can get a cup of tea around here mate?” In the end a signed copy of “Uphill All The Way” got them (with the van) across the border.
In Milan the agent Mario Tognin was supposed to be waiting with half the money. He was not to be found until the next day when he produced a quarter of the money. Mr Tognin, in his wisdom, had booked a number of old opera houses in Northern Italy to promote the band he had seen on TV at the Song Festival. Unfortunately only about twenty seats were sold at each of the first three theatres and at that point Mr Tognin disappeared having still only paid a quarter of the fee. This money had by now been spent on hotels and food. They contacted Arisdon Records with a plea for help and Arisdon managed to arrange a couple of club gigs to earn enough money to get them home. At the last gig, during a break between sets, drummer Pete Perryer underestimated the strength of the local red wine and came running out of the restaurant to jump in the van. He fell over and put his shoulder out. The band had to pour black coffee down him and to keep marching him up and down while keeping the club owner from seeing him in such a state. They did the last set, not one of Pete’s best, got paid and decided to give Italy a miss in future.
After returning to England the next trip was to Sweden for two weeks, which though not so fraught, was not very memorable. Country Rock was not the music of the day in Sweden.
Most of the rehearsal time in the shed was spent working on Ken’s songs. They were improving all the time, but the problem now was a lack of gigs to play. Out of the blue came the offer of a ten day tour of the Netherlands. It was jumped at even though it was for a very low fee. It started off at the Paradiso in Amsterdam and, unlike the English audiences, the Dutch loved what had come to be known as Country Rock. The Byrds’ songs in the show were now mixed with more and more original material and the tour was a great success. It lead to several more trips to Holland which included more club gigs, radio and a T.V. show supporting the Flying Burrito Brothers who at the time featured top American Bluegrass players like Byron Berlin and Roger Bush.
Early in 1973 the band played at the wedding reception of Ricky Hopper who was a friend from Transatlantic days. Ricky had been a record plugger for the label. Another guest was David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and at the end of the evening he got up for a jam and suggested doing Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold”. They played it and afterwards Dave told how he really liked Country Rock which came as a considerable surprise as Pink Floyd seemed a million miles away from that kind of music. A week later Dave phoned Pat to say that he had just completed a studio installed at his country retreat and, as a try out, he could offer a free day there to demo some songs. The band immediately accepted. A few days later they travelled up to Essex in the old Transit van to be met by a smiling David Gilmour at the gate. The smile was no surprise as he was just then reaping the rewards of “Dark Side of the Moon”. He showed them into the studio and said there was no need to bring any of their gear in from the van. He was right. Hanging on the walls was the most amazing collection of vintage Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker and Martin guitars and underneath them wonderful smelling Fender Amps and a Premier drum kit. They recorded three of Ken’s songs and Dave added some Fender Pedal Steel Guitar which he had just brought an his last American tour and was learning to play. They were invited back on several occasions to record.
On one of those occasions, after a meal, Dave played a video tape of Monty Python sketches. He must have had one of the first VCR’s in Britain and the band could not believe how much they had missed when only seeing a Python sketch once. Pat remembers Dave rolling on the floor laughing at the others rolling on the floor laughing at Monty Python. Things started to happen from then on. Dave said he was prepared to put up the money to record an album of Unicorn songs and that his manager, Steve O’Rourke, would sell it. Unicorn signed with Steve’s EMKA organisation and Ricky Hopper who had introduced them to Dave became the day to day and tour manager. Ricky was later to discover Kate Bush, then called Kathy Bush. Pete and Pat from Unicorn played on her first demo recordings at Dave’s studio.
The album was recorded in Olympic Studios in Barnes in London. It was the most enjoyable time the band ever spent. They were recording an album for the first time in years, and this time they had control over how the songs were played and how the studio’s possibilities were used. There were more than enough songs, they were well rehearsed and ready to record and all concerned were learning while they worked together. Dave Gilmour was producing on his own account for the first time and even the recording engineer was newly promoted to run their sessions. The fact that they were all relative newcomers made for a fresh and creative atmosphere. The engineer, Rufus Cartwright, was a very important part. Pete Perryer’s singing on these sessions was excellent. The performances of the whole band for this album “Blue Pine Trees” and the parts of the second album “Too Many Crooks” that were also recorded at Olympic were never bettered.
The album was mixed at George Martin’s Air Studio just off Oxford Circus in London. The engineer was John Middleton and the tape operators were the sons of Spike Milligan and Peter Sellars. On one occasion Kevin was taking a number of attempts at overdubbing a guitar solo. When he finally came up with the one to use Pat noticed that Sean Milligan was looking a bit sheepish. He asked, “You did record that didn’t you?” Milligan, showing a distinct family resemblance, answered, “Er no actually. But I think I can remember it” Steve O’Rourke, the manager of Pink Floyd, took about a week to make a great deal with Charisma Records in the U.K, with Capitol Records in the U.S. and EMI International for the rest of the world. All deals included big advances of cash against record sales and to top it all Capitol agreed to underwrite Unicorn to a tour of the United States.
The first thing to be done was to blow some of the advance money on a set of new Fender Amps (worth buying just for the wonderful smell). Two permanent road crew were taken on at this point. Norman Whapshott, who was a school friend of all the founder members of the band (Pat had sat next to him on his first day at primary school in 1955) and Frank Windsor who got the job because of his rendition of a joke about a Hedgehog.
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In November 1974 the band drove to Heathrow through the rain in the old Transit van. In the U.S. they were met by two stretch limos, Capitol Records Executives, and over ninety degree temperatures at Los Angeles International Airport. They were driven to the Hollywood Holiday Inn, where the Capitol records tour manager, Alan Fry, told them that “Blue Pine Trees” was number one in the F.M action charts (a chart based not on sales but on the frequency of FM airplay).
The first evening a Capitol Rep came round to the hotel with tickets for the George Harrison concert at the LA Forum. Pat was the only one to take up the offer as the others were suffering from jet lag and some culture shock at being in the U.S. for the first time. At the concert Pat remembers the crowd throwing a Frisbee across the auditorium while waiting for the opening act to begin the show. He had never seen one before and when it landed in his lap he demonstrated that he knew nothing of how to throw one when he managed to send it just two rows away from him to a chorus of boos from the packed house. The incident set the tone for Pat’s evening. Ravi Shankar played with a forty-piece orchestra, seemingly forever, and when George Harrison appeared he lost his voice after three songs.
Work began the next night at the Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Strip. It was quite an experience. They played in front of what seemed to be the entire Capitol Records staff who flooded into their dressing room telling them how wonderful they were. The band thought it had been an off night. Unicorn was the headline band that night and were supported by, a then little known, Patti Smith. The second night at the Whiskey was better and the following day they flew to Salt Lake City to start as support band to Fleetwood Mac for three shows.
The first night was the first gig they had played in a very big venue. It took half the set to get used to it. Later in the show Ken got a shock from the mike that sent him flying backwards across he stage and left him looking dazed. The band had often speculated as to what they would do if anyone were to be electrocuted on stage. When it happened they just kept playing – the show must go on. They went down quite well with the crowd (but not a storm) and then stood side stage to watch Fleetwood Mac. This was Fleetwood Mac in a low period. Peter Green had recently left and Lyndsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks did not join them until the following year. It was a revelation to the Unicorn organisation to see the scale of a major tour in the U.S. and the way that it was run. It was the first time that they had seen a purpose built decorated set, complete with palm trees, used for a rock show.
The next gig was in an indoor football stadium at Bozeman, Montana. There were about 20,000 people in the audience. This time Unicorn did go down an absolute storm and were saluted by thousands of cigarette lighters being held aloft in the darkness at the end of their set. The crowd was still shouting for more when the band got back to the dressing room. A veteran of all Unicorn shows from 1974 to 1977, believes it to have been the best live performance the band ever gave. Fleetwood Mac had also been impressed with Unicorn at Bozeman.The next day Unicorn drove to Missoula, Montana. After the success at Bozeman, they went on stage full of confidence.
Unicorn left the Fleetwood Mac tour and moved on to St, Louis where they played down a long bill with Manfred Mann’s Earthband at the top. From there they flew to Warsaw, Wisconsin. The show was in Stevens Point and they were supporting Climax Chicago Blues Band. Also on the bill was Camel, a band that Kevin had played with in their early days before they had become successful.
It was hoped that the next phase of the tour would be the centerpiece. There were to be seven shows supporting the Doobie Brothers. The first night was in Carbondale, Illinois where Unicorn played well but were hampered by front of house sound which the sound mixer was unable to correct. The next show was to be at Veteran’s Hall in DeMoines, Iowa, and there were high hopes as the band were on form and, with promised help from the PA company, the sound problem would be solved. All was well at the Unicorn sound check (though that of the Doobies’ check was cancelled) and the band was in the dressing room waiting as the hall filled with a sell out crowd. There was a knock at the door from the Doobies’ manager who announced that the gig was off due to the fact that Doobies’ lead guitarist and singer had overdosed. This stopped the Doobie Brothers tour and left Unicorn having to put in extra gigs on their own. The only consolation was that they were given run of the food and drink provided for the Doobies per their contract rider. They could help themselves to bottles of Tequila, Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey and warehouses full of various beers.
Unicorn was now travelling with only instruments and backline amplification which left them reliant on using the PA systems that were provided by the main act. This was fine on the big tours, but was problematic in some clubs. The first club gig in was hastily arranged in Milwaukee. The PA system only had six input channels when ideally twenty were used. From Milwaukee they flew to Boulder, Colorado where they played two nights, separated by Thanksgiving. This time with a good club PA and a small but appreciative audience.
Washington D.C. was the next stop where they played at the Cellar Door Club opening the show for Billy Joel. The best part of their U.S. tour was when the band opened for Linda Ronstadt. They played Houston, Austin, Dallas and Lubbock. Unicorn supported big name performers on many occasions but Linda Ronstadt and her band blew them away. They were the best musicians and singers that Unicorn had ever seen play live. Usually the band would watch a headline act on the first night of a tour and not thereafter, but at the Linda Ronstadt gigs the whole Unicorn organization watched her every show. It was a pleasure for all concerned to be on the tour. The PA and lighting crews were helpful and the sound and lights were consistently good. It was the way touring should be done and the band’s playing rose to the occasion. The last show in the U.S. was in Wichita, Kansas supporting Styx.
Unicorn flew home via New York to return to play at the Marquee club with Sutherland Brothers and Quiver with Dave Gilmour sitting in.
The following year, 1975, was mainly spent recording the second album “Too Many Crooks” (Released in America as “Unicorn 2”). It was recorded in Air Studios at Oxford Circus with some additional tracks at Olympic at Barnes. This album included some of Unicorn’s best studio performances and some of Ken’s best material. The outstanding song was “No Way Out of Here” which was later recorded by Dave Gilmour as part of his solo album and his version was for several weeks the most played album track in the U.S.
“Too Many Crooks” was relatively easy to record and lessons learned making the first album were put to good use. The length of the album was kept within the limit required for the best quality of reproduction from a vinyl disk. This was something that had not been done with “Blue Pine Trees”.
The band was playing fewer live performances than in previous years, but they included more college venues. By 1977 they had played nearly every University in England. Unicorn occasionally performed gigs supporting others (10CC, Chapman Whitney, Linda Lewis) and playing down the bill on long sessions, as at the Roundhouse. Later the band began to tour in the UK as support act for headline bands in the same fashion as they had in the U.S. One of the first tours was with Dr Hook in 1975. In the following years Unicorn supported headline bands including Nils Lofgren, Steeleye Span, Hawkwind, John Entwhistle’s Ox, Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance, The Groundhogs and once again Dr. Hook.
In 1976 the day to day management of Unicorn was taken over by Tony Gourvish who had been involved in the management of “Family” and also looked after Linda Lewis. This was an office bound change and there was no replacement of Ricky Hopper as tour manager and this responsibility fell increasingly on Pat Martin.
The final album, One More Tomorrow, was a work of two halves. Part of it was recorded at the Pink Floyd studio at Britannia Row in Islington and produced by Gilmour, and the remainder recorded in the Island Studio at Basing Street at Notting Hill and produced by Muff Winwood. The replacement of Dave by Muff was a result of Dave’s other commitments with the Floyd but also an attempt by Unicorn management to record a more commercial product including material not written by Ken Baker. This was a much more difficult project than those previous. This time the original material was not so ready and waiting to be recorded and they had to work more methodically, especially in Basing Street, to achieve the performances they wanted. On the other hand some rate Pete’s singing on the Basing Street tracks as his very best studio performance.
By mid 1977 it was effectively over. Unicorn couldn’t compete with the emergence of the punk rock scene. Only the biggest country/soft rock bands could survive, and many did not. The kind of music that Unicorn had always played could not have been more deeply unfashionable.
The last gig was at the Music Machine in Camden Town. With practically no audience in the hall, the show was cut short.