Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Hardstuff - Bulletproof


Released 1971 on PURPLE
Reviewed by petew, 16/07/2009ce

Listening to the stream of HARD ROCK SAMPLER, started me thinking of some hairy heavy friends omitted from that most excellent of imagined samplers of 70s heaviosity.

Immediately springing to mind were the largely forgotten 70s scouse power trio STRIFE, as any who ever witnessed their 20 minute epic "Rush" with lead guitar John Reid leaping from the top of his stack with enough strobing to spark off mass epilepsy in the audience will attest, they could blow anyone off the stage back then. And yet their two albums were well... just too poppy, their first album actually produced by Motowns "there's a ghost in my house" R DEAN TAYLOR, oh well...

However getting to the point of this, I suggest the criminally underlooked fuzz funk dirty proto metallers HARDSTUFF as the first name on the team sheet. Never in print since the 70s apart from some dodgy cd reishes, BULLETPROOF was the first of two albums for the PURPLE imprint, is a no frills sludgy hard rocker. They didn't gain much from association with Gillan & Blackmore despite DEEP PURPLE being at the height of their powers on the back of IN ROCK and FIREBALL. The album sank without trace.

HARDSTUFF were a minor supergroup of sorts, with John Cann and Paul Hammond fresh from the demise of doomsters ATOMIC ROOSTER and John Gustafson on bass duties ex QUATERMASS. Produced by the band, BULLETPROOF has a huge live straight to tape sound, Paul Hammond's drums way up in the mix. This would be a excellent album for DJs to plunder, especially opener Jay Time which has a awesome funky motif & Hammonds drum intro on No Witch At All would make for some great breaks. The whole album is pretty funky, doomsludgefunk, maybe? Ian Gillan and Roger Glover share songwriting duties on MONSTER IN PARADISE which sounds like a PURPLE out-take, but no the worse for it.

The whole album feels like it was nailed down pretty quickly with one or two tracks feeling like they just left the tape rolling...Overall, doesn't rival the best of ATOMIC ROOSTER, but is a fine slice of 70s heaviness, none the less.

They followed BULLETPROOF with BOLLIX DEMENTIA, but despite the title promising much, it was a much more considered affair lacking the edge and rawness of their debut.

Apparently they bagged a UK tour with Captain Beefheart, bombed and split up...

Reviews Index