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About Help Yourself
Help Yourself were formed in the London area of England in 1970 initially as a backup band for Malcolm Morley, who was signed as a solo act under the management of the Famepushers, whose acts Brinsley Schwarz and Ernie Graham had also secured contracts with the U.K. division of United Artists/Liberty Records. The band consisted of Richard Treece (guitars/vocals/harmonica), Dave Charles (drums/percussion/vocals), Ken Whaley (bass), and of course Malcolm Morley (guitars/keyboards/vocals). Help Yourself recorded their debut self-titled album in early 1971. The songs on that album were completely written by Morley. Ken Whaley left the band after the debut, to be replaced by Ernie Graham (guitars), who had just released his solo album on Liberty. Help Yourself were experiencing some financial difficulties at this time, as were a number of other bands in England, so they teamed up with bandmembers from Brinsley Schwarz and moved into a rented house in Headley in 1971-1972 called the Grange, where Led Zeppelin had recorded Led Zeppelin IV earlier that year.
While at the Grange, the band recorded second album Strange Affair, released in early 1972, with the addition of Graham and Jonathan "JoJo" Glemser to the band. Graham and Glemser left during the recording of Strange Affair and were replaced by Paul Burton for the completion of the album. The lineup of Burton, Morley, Treece, and Charles recorded another album almost immediately, Beware the Shadow, which was released at the end of 1972. None of the first three albums were big sellers. The Helps, as they were called by fans, appealed to a hippie audience and found moderate success in the U.S., where they appealed to Deadheads and fans of such bands as Quicksilver. Glam rock was the big rage in England at the time, but Help Yourself were found to be a bit too rural for radio play, especially in England, so there was basically no promotion or support for the band.
In 1973, Ken Whaley returned to the band and the Helps recorded an album that was appropriately called The Return of Ken Whaley. The initial release of that album contained a "bonus" album called Happy Days, which was recorded live on tour with the Flying Aces. Shortly after the release of The Return of Ken Whaley, Help Yourself broke up. Malcolm Morley went on to join the Welsh band Man, with Ken Whaley later joining him there. The remaining bandmembers joined Deke Leonard's Iceberg and recorded a couple of albums, while Treece later joined George and Martin Ace in the Flying Aces. The original lineup of Help Yourself re-formed in 2002 to help remix tracks originally intended for their long lost fifth album. Compiling material recorded in 1973 alongside three new recordings (featuring drummer Kevin Spacey), 5 was released by Hux Records in 2004. ~ Keith Pettipas
- London, England
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