Vinegar JoeVinegar Joe might very easily have been Island Records' answer to the Allman Bros.
1971 - 1974
1971 - 1974
Vinegar Joe evolved out of Dada, a 12-piece Stax-influenced, jazz-rock fusion band. Dada released one, eponymous, album in 1970, with a line up including vocalist Elkie Brooks and guitarist Pete Gage. Singer Robert Palmer, formerly with The Alan Brown Set, and bassist Steve York both joined Dada after the album had been recorded, and the four were signed by Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records for USA and Chris Blackwell of Island Records for the UK and rest of the world to form Vinegar Joe in 1971, adding keyboard player Dave Thompson. The band was without a drummer. Conrad Isidore and Rob Tait drummed on the first album. Their debut LP “Vinegar Joe” was released in April 1972 on Island Records in the UK and Atco Records in the U.S.
John Hawken took over from Thompson on keyboards and John Woods became the drummer for live shows. Mike Deacon took over on keyboards. During recording of their second album, “Rock'n Roll Gypsies”, also released in 1972, Keef Hartley played drums. Guitarist Jim Mullen also joined the band for this record and stayed played on the US tour . Drummer Pete Gavin joined the band prior to the US tour and recording of their third and final album “Six Star General” released in 1973. The band dissolved at in the spring of 1974. Alan Powell played drums during the band's final weeks.
Although Vinegar Joe never achieved significant record sales, they received considerable press coverage and toured extensively, playing numerous sell-out concerts, especially on the British university circuit.
Subsequently, Brooks and Palmer went on to enjoy success as solo musicians. Gage became a record producer and arranger, working with Brooks, his wife, until their divorce, and a range of successful musicians like Joan Armatrading and specialising in upcoming rockabilly and punk bands such as Restless, King Kurt and others.