After leaving The Small Faces, in 1968 Steve Marriott formed Humble Pie with Peter Frampton, bass player Greg Ridley and a young drummer Jerry Shirley. While The Small Faces were known for chirpy commercial pop hit singles such as Itchycoo Park and Lazy Sunday Afternoon, Humble Pie created a much heavier rhythm ‘n blues-fuelled music which led them to become more of an album than a singles band.
Their only UK Top 40 hit single came in 1969 with the release of their debut single, ‘Natural Born Boogie’ which was taken from a debut album ‘As Safe As Yesterday Is’. Rolling Stone magazine described the album as ‘Heavy Metal’.
In 1970 they switched management and label (A&M) and released a third album, the eponymously named ‘Humble Pie’. But the lead single from the album, ‘Big Black Dog’ failed to chart in the UK.
The new management focused the band on trying to crack the US market and Humble Pie became known for their live shows. A live album ‘Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore’ was released to capitalise on their live popularity in 1971 but failed to make a big impression in both US (#21) and UK (#32).
It was the last album to feature co-founder and lynchpin Peter Frampton. But Humble Pie went on to record a further five albums throughout the 1970’s, two when Steve Marriott reformed the band in 1980, and a final album when Jerry Shirley reformed the band to record ‘Back On Track’.
Here is a wonderful live and soulful performance of Black Coffee on BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test.
In 1990 Steve Marriott & Peter Frampton recorded together once again but not as Humble Pie. Two tracks from this collaboration were released on Peter Frampton’s album Shine On: A Collection.
Recording again with Frampton was timely as Steve Marriott tragically died in a house fire, aged 44 years old in 1991.
Humble Pie by Humble Pie
1. Live With Me
2. Only A Roach
3. One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba
4. Earth And Water Song
5. I’m Ready
6. Theme From Skint (See You Later Liquidator)
7. Red Light Mama, Red Hot
8. Sucking On The Sweet Vine
Eat It by Humble Pie
Eat it was Humble Pie’s sixth studio album, released in 1973 and originally reached #34 in the UK & #13 in the US Billboard Charts.
1. Get Down To It
2. Good Booze & Bad Women
3. Is It For Love?
4. Drugstore Cowboy
5. Black coffee
6. I Believe My Soul
7. Shut Up & Don’t Interrupt Me
8. That’s How Strong My Love Is
9. Say No More
10. Oh Bella (All That’s Hers)
11. Summer Song
12. Beckton Dumps
13. Up Our Sleeve
14. Honky Tonk Women
15. (I’m A) Road Runner
Thunderbox was released in 1974, the seventh studio album. It failed to chart in the UK and peaked at a lowly #52 in the US.
Twelve songs appear here, six of them covers, Ann Peebles song ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ once referred to byJohn Lennon as the perfect single; ‘Anna (Go to Him)’ originally written and performed by Arthur Alexander and ‘Oh La-De-Da’ by The Staple Singers. Incidentally, the word ‘Thunderbox’ is a seventeenth century slang word for the toilet which gives an example of Humble Pie’s sense of humour. The cover shows a keyhole through which a woman can be seen sitting on a toilet.
This reissue – one of the first times this album has been released on CD outside of Japan – comes with new artwork and sleeve notes by Malcolm Dome who has interviewed members of the band to get the complete story, this along with newly re-mastered sound makes the Humble Pie renaissance start her.
Thunderbox by Humble Pie
2. Groovin With Jesus
3. I Can’t Stand The Rain
4. Anna (Go To Him)
5. No Way
6. Rally With Ali
7. Don’t worry, Be Happy
8. Ninety Nine Pounds
9. Every Single Day
10. No Money Down
11. Drift Away
12. Oh La-De-Da
Cherry Red and associated label Lemon reissue three Humble Pie albums on CD – Humble Pie, Eat It & Thunderbox.