Song of the Week – Never Met a Dog…, Vinegar Joe

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As a record collector, I always get a kick out of finding an album that has early, obscure recordings by an artist that went onto much greater stardom later in his/her career.

One such album was by the early ‘70s British R&B band, Vinegar Joe. Vinegar Joe had two singers that left the group to launch successful solo careers. One, Elkie Brooks, had moderate success. The other, Robert Palmer, became an international superstar.

Vinegar Joe (I assume named after the prickly US WWII general, Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell) was only able to stay together for less than 4 years. In that time, they recorded three pretty good albums. (Unfortunately, I don’t have any of them in my record collection!) Today’s SotW is “Never Met a Dog (That Took to Me)” from the band’s self-titled debut. Vinegar Joe (1972) had a great cover too.

“Never Met a Dog…” was written and sung by Palmer. It is very typical of the “pub rock” genre of the early to mid ‘70s, popular in the UK. Palmer takes the lead but Brooks adds some nice harmony vocals. And it has a solid sax break about mid-way through.

I never saw the band but they were reputed to give great live performances. Although the records are pretty good, their fans often complained that they were never able to capture the energy of their live shows in the recording studio. That’s a shame! But there are an unusually large number of live videos available to see on YouTube, especially considering the technological limitations during the years the band was around.

So, if like me, you like to check out music of artists “before they were great,” listen to the songs of Vinegar Joe.

Enjoy… until next week.

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