The Mick Cox Band-The Mick Cox Band.

Label: Another Planet Music.

Format: CD.

Mick Cox was born in Gillingham, Kent, in 1943. His father was a bandsman in the Royal Marines, and he encouraged his son to play classical piano as a child. However, by the time he was eleven, and attending Grammar Schoo,l he switched to guitar. This was the instrument he later made his name playing.

Before that, Mick Cox left school and joined the Royal Air Force. He was posted to an RAF station in Downpatrick, in Northern Ireland. Soon, he was involved in Belfast’s vibrant local music scene. 

His break came when Billy Hollywood, the lead guitarist of The Alleycatz left the group in 1963. Twenty year old Mick Cox replaced him. 

Two years later, in 1965, The Alleycatz recorded a four song demo at Peter Lloyd’s studio in Belfast in 1965. Mick Cox stayed with the group until 1967, when he decided to return to London.

In London, Mick Cox spent time with musicians he had met during his time in Northern Ireland. This was how he ended up becoming a member of Eire Apparent.

The group was originally called The People, who were formed in Belfast in 1965. In 1967, the group moved to the UK.

Having travelled to the UK, the group gigged around the North West of England. When the group arrived in London, they were reunited with their former manager Dave “Robbo” Robinson,  who later, went on to found Stiff Records. He secured the group gigs at the Speakeasy and the UFO Club. 

That was where The People was spotted by Mike Jeffreys who had managed The Animals and was currently managing Jimi Hendrix. Soon, he was the group’s manager.

At the suggestion of his wife, and to build on the group’s popularity in Ireland, Mike Jeffreys suggested that the group change their name from The People to Eire Apparent.

Soon, Mike Jeffreys had negotiated a deal for the newly named Eire Apparent with Track Records. As soon as the group had recorded their debut single, they embarked upon a tour of North America. 

During the tour, Henry McCullough was arrested for possession of marijuana and departed. The group needed a new guitarist and Mick Cox was brought onboard.

This new lineup of Eire Apparent continued to tour with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Soft Machine. They even found time to record sessions for their next single Let Me Stay at the Record Plant in New York.

Then most of the album Sunrise was recored in LA in October 1968, with Jimi Hendrix taking charge of production. However,  by the time the album was released Mick Cox was no longer a member of Eire Apparent.

He was as replaced by guitarist David “Tiger” Taylor in November 1968, not long after the Sunrise album was recorded. Soon, a new chapter began for Mick Cox.

By the start of the seventies he was working as a session player and may have been gigging with his band, Magnet. Then in 1972 he joined Arrival.

They had already enjoyed a couple of hit singles in 1970, and played at the Isle of Wight Festival. However, by the time Mick Cox joined the band in 1972 it was on its last legs. Member were leaving to join other bands and work with other musicians. The lineup of Arrival with Mick Cox only played a few gigs. However, by the time the band called time on their career he had been working on a new project.

This was the eponymous album by The Mick Cox Band which was recently released by Another Planet Music. Recording of the album began on the ‘17th’ April 1972. Further sessions took place on the ‘24th,’ ‘25th’ and ‘27th’ April 1972. During this period, eight tracks penned by the bandleader were recorded and he was joined by an experienced and talented group.

The sessions featured drummers Andrew Steele and Steve Chapman; bassist Chris Stewart; keyboardists Mick Weaver and Peter Arneson; saxophonist Alan Skidmore; John Field on congas and backing vocalists Frank Collins, Paddie McHugh and Dylan Birch. Producer Shel Talmy added percussion while 

Mick Cox had played the guitar parts and added guide vocal. The missing part of the musical jigsaw was someone to add the lead vocals.

Mick Cox had got to know Tony O’Malley when he was a member of Arrival. He joined the nascent Band and added vocals to the eight tracks at Morgan Studios, in London. In doing so, he had added the finishing touches to the album. It was mixed and mastered and completed in late May 1972.

A year passed before The Mick Cox Band released their eponymous debut album in May 1973. When the album was released, it was to critical acclaim in Billboard magazine. Soon, radio stations in San Francisco, Miami, Hartford, Philly, New York, Texas, Kansas and Baltimore to Albuquerque in New Mexico were playing The Mick Cox Band. 

Although The Mick Cox Band sold around 50,000 copies it failed to chart in the US Billboard 200. 

However, the album was only released by Capitol Records in America. There was no release in the UK. The label didn’t even release a single. This was another disappointment for Mick Cox.

In the UK, a four piece version of The Mick Cox Band rehearsed but never got round to playing any gigs. Music fans never got to hear the band live of their one and only album.

The Mick Cox Band’s eponymous debut album is an oft-overlooked hidden gem where disparate genres melt into one. However, the album is mainly an album of white soul with elements of blues, rock, a touch of funk and even hard rock. This genre-melting album comes courtesy of a versatile and multitalented group of musicians. Some members of the group  had been members of Arrival. This includes lead singer Tony O’Malley who breathes life and meaning into the lyrics. However, it’s Mick Cox’s guitar playing that plays a starring role. He gives a virtuoso performance on the album and it looked as if he was destined for greatness. 

Sadly, The Mick Cox Band only released the one album. However, on Another Planet Music’s CD reissue of the album there’s also eight bonus tracks. These tracks were recorded by the same musicians. There’s two theories about the eight bonus tracks. 

Maybe when the album was recorded Mick Cox envisaged his debut would be a double album? The other possibility is that he decided to record the followup album at the sessions in April 1972. Sadly, we’ll never know as Mick Cox died in August 2008, aged just fifty-five. His 1973 genre-melting album The Mick Cox Band is an oft-overlooked hidden gem that’s a reminder of a hugely talented songwriter and guitarist whose  music deserves to be heard by a much wider audience.

The Mick Cox Band-The Mick Cox Band.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: