Cherry Red/Grapefruit Records’ new release An Apple a Day isn’t to be confused with a collection of music from The Beatles’ Apple Records. Instead, this Apple a Day is one of the rarest U.K. psych records of all time, with original vinyl copies fetching thousands of pounds. The Page One LP from the band simply named Apple has seen numerous reissues on CD before in the U.K. and Japan, but this edition marks the first time the band’s leader Jeff Harrad has contributed to the notes to tell the band’s whole story.
Apple shares roots with Amen Corner (“Bend Me, Shape Me,” “(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice”). Harrad had been the guitarist-leader of Welsh band Brother John and The Witnesses when The Sect Maniacs’ Andy Fairweather-Low invited a couple of Witnesses to join his new outfit. That group became Amen Corner, and Harrad was left to regroup. He and guitarist Rob Ingram decided to put together a new band which they called Apple. (This was just before The Fab Four decided upon that name for their label and corporation.) Harrad and Ingram invited drummer Dave Brassington, singer Denis Regan, and pianist Charlie Barber to round out their new unit. Apple recorded a demo tape which was received favorably enough by Larry Page, the co-founder (with publisher Dick James) of Page One Records, that he offered the band a contract. (At the same time, Big Jim Sullivan was spearheading a different group called Apple with Lou Reizner over on Philips Records.)
Apple’s first single showcased both sides of the band. Ingram and Brassington’s “Let’s Take a Trip Down the Rhine” was an enjoyable slice of straightforward pop, while the Barber-penned B-side “Buffalo Billycan” was more psychedelic. Following that first single, Page paired Apple with guitarist-producer Caleb Quaye who helmed the sophomore 45 “Doctor Rock” (an ode to a then-familiar Cardiff DJ) b/w Harrad’s suitably dark “The Otherside.” Quaye had cut enough material that Page One decided to go forward with the full-length LP that comprises the majority of Grapefruit’s release.
An Apple a Day, issued in February 1969, had all four single sides plus an additional eight songs such as the offbeat “The Mayville Line,” the psych-rocker “Mr. Jones,” the rollicking “Pretty Girl Love You” (with its sunshine pop-esque melody), and the whimsical, brass-tinged “Photograph” as well as competent blues-rock covers of The Yardbirds’ “Psycho Daisies,” Brownie McGhee’s “Sporting Life,” and Muddy Waters’ “Rock Me Baby.”
The album arrived with a strange tie-in; original copies included an informational brochure from the Apple and Pear Development Council to promote English and Welsh fruit (including recipes for Apple Mousse, Apple and Raisin Stuffing, and Creamy Apple Meringue). In David Wells’ new liner notes, Jeff Haddad speculates that the deal with the Council might have paid for the LP. The band wasn’t happy with the release, and despite strong reviews, it never caught on with the public, either. Harrad believes that a further post-album demo was recorded for Page One, but it hasn’t surfaced. Harrad and Regan decided to form a new band, Throw It in the Grass, and the remaining members of Apple only pressed on briefly before calling it, well, a day.
An Apple a Day is a fascinating curio that should hold appeal to fans of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and the early days of psych-rock. Grapefruit’s reissue retains the four original mono single versions that have been included on previous CD editions. The album, housed in a digipak, is accompanied by a 20-page color booklet with Wells’ notes, photos, and memorabilia. Oli Hemingway has remastered. An Apple a Day is available now from Cherry Red/Grapefruit.
- Let’s Take a Trip Down the Rhine
- Doctor Rock
- The Otherside
- The Mayville Line
- Pretty Girl I Love You
- Rock Me Baby
- Buffalo Billycan
- Psycho Daisies
- Sporting Life
- Queen of Hearts Blues
- Let’s Take a Trip Down the Rhine (Mono Single Version)
- Buffalo Billycan (Mono Single Version)
- Doctor Rock (Mono Single Version)
- The Otherside (Mono Single Version)
Tracks 1-12 from Page One LP POLS 016, 1969
Tracks 13-14 from Page One single POF 101, 1968
Tracks 15-16 from Page One single POF 110, 1968