Help Yourself – Help Yourself (1971) (2017 Music On Vinyl)

Help Yourself – Help Yourself
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 196 khz | Art at 600 and 300 dpi |
24-bit 192 khz 1.37 GB |24-bit 96 khz – 714 MB |16-bit 44.1 khz – 271 MB
Original Release 1971 Liberty | 2017 Music On Vinyl MOVLP 2044 |   Psychedelic Rock / Folk-rock |

Dr. Vibes’ 12 Days of Christmas – Day 8 – As a teenager in the US, I discovered Help Yourself in a second-hand record shop in the late 1980s, and thought that “Strange Affair” was their first album for the next twenty years. At the time Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet, and if you could find any mention of the band in  music encylopedia / anthology-type books, it was as a footnote to the more famous Man band from Wales, which Help Yourself frontman Malcolm Morley joined for a while. But they had their own sound, and their own cult following in the UK.  This debut album is inferior to the ones that followed it, but rare as hen’s teeth as an original pressing, so I was pretty excited when I saw that reissue label Music On Vinyl had chosen to release it.

 

A1 I Must See Jesus For Myself 4:00
A2 To Katherine They Fell 3:35
A3 Your Eyes Are Looking Down 4:30
A4 Old Man 6:45
B1 Look At The View 2:30
B2 Paper Leaves 3:15
B3 Running Down Deep 3:30
B4 Deborah 3:35
B5 Street Songs 5:35

Bass – Ken Whaley
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Dave Charles
Engineer – Anton Mathews
Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals – Malcolm Morley
Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica – Richard Treece
Producer – Dave Robinson

Originally released on Liberty (LBS 83484 – UK only)

LINEAGE: Music On Vinyl MOVLP2044, unplayed vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on very light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

From a personal correspondence with Music On Vinyl, “We received and used high res audio files (96 KHZ / 24 BIT) of the original masters for the Help Yourself album.”


(continued)….. My local “dealer” / record store owner had told me that since I liked moody, meander-y, mellow-but-intense groups like Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Dead, then I would probably like Help Yourself and Man, and he was right.”  I think he sold me his copy of Man’s Rhinos, Winos & Lunatics either that same day or on my next visit.  The Help’s (as their fans called them) debut album was never issued in on my side of the pond, so it was quite a surprise when I discovered that Strange Affair *wasn’t* their debut record.  Though I couldn’t have had much anticipation for something I never knew existed, it was still a bit anti-climactic to hear it. The record is pretty good, but Morley is still finding his musical identity as a writer, and the shameless Neil Young-isms on a few tracks here are a bit cringey. I mean, they actually have a track titled “Old Man,” with a riff that sounds like it was lifted from ‘Down By The River.’ But on quite a few other tunes here, they serve up generous, um, helpings of the type of stuff that would define their style over their brief run in the next few years – melancholic rustic rock with a slightly haunted, coming-down-from-a-high psychedelic vibe. They could really layer the multiple guitars on these tunes when Morley wasn’t switching to keyboards, but they kept it mellow and un-Skynyrd. Tunes like “To Katherine They Fell,” and the closing trifecta of “Running Down Deep,” “Deborah,” and “Street Songs” are as good as anything on their subsequent albums (although Street Songs suffers from some questionable lyrics, which were  never Morley’s greatest strength).    The sound is quite nice on this pressing and I highly recommend picking up a copy while you still can if you like this sort of thing.

And for anyone wondering where they might have heard his name before, Malcolm Morley went on to participate in a variety of pub-rock &punk groups like Wreckless Eric, The Tyla Gang, and Ian Gomm, as well as being a part of the solo excursions from Deke Leonard of Man.

 

 


16-bit 44.1 khz

24-bit 96 khz

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8 Comments

  1. Quite intrigued by this as I too like groups like Quicksilver and The Dead. Thanks for posting this apparently quite rare disc Dr. V!

  2. …just gave it a listen and I agree with you (as I usually do it seems) it’s pretty good and has a lot of promise but it’s not a great record, just a good one. If you have anything else by these folks to post, I for one would really love it. Thanks again, this was cool to hear.

    • I do and I will. In fact I held back at least 9 months on sharing this here because I wanted to have their next two albums ready to share in quick succession as I think they are much more developed. The next month is very busy for me so after this run of 12 Days of Xmas I will be taking a break, but I’ll move those records up in the queue 😉

  3. Not sure why my posting name changed from Kovina Kris to Anon but I’m fixing it hopefully right now.

  4. I bought all the group’s albums as they came out, and was such a fan that I painted this first album sleeve life size on the back of my Levi’s jacket….looking back, I’m not sure whether it was the music or the copious amounts of acid being taken at the time that gave me such inspiration, but those jingly jangly guitar lines and easy vocals sure went well with lazy summer days and hallucogenics….heard now, this set does sound a bit like generic US inspired country rock, but with a few real sparks of original inspiration, and there is still a warm nostalgia to the naîve niceness and plaintive vocals of some of the tracks from which to derive pleasure….. ‘Strange Affair’, the second album, took things a little further with a slightly harder edge and can probably be better appreciated with hindsight than the first…’Excerpts from The All Electric Fur Trapper’ was an absolute acid-taker’s favourite and that album also got played to death…Irishman Ernie Graham (previously in psychedelic group Eire Apparent, a quartet whose debut was produced by and played on by Jimi Hendrix!) joined the group briefly, and his solo album was again snapped up by this eager youth thirsting for more! In recent years, I have picked up all their albums in CD format as I’ve found them, and still dig ’em out for a spin occasionally – minus the acid these days!

    • Oh, and thanks for the hi-rez rip!!

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I really do think “Strange Affair” and “Beware The Shadow” are where they hit their stride, and (like I said in an above comment here) I was holding back posting about this debut album because I wanted to have those ready to share right away. They’re a better representation of the group, but this debut still manages to hit those vibes now and then. I tip my hat to you for being an OG fan — did you ever manage to see them play live? Unlike Man, the Helps’ never released any live recordings and I’ve never come across any bootlegs. Let me know if you still have and want to sell your vinyl copies of ‘Happy Daze’ or ‘The Return of Ken Whaley’, both of which I’m missing on wax! I do have that Eire Apparent record and a digital copy of Ernie Graham’s solo album somewhere.

  5. No, I never saw them play live as they never came anywhere near my area, though I did see Man several times, Deke Leonard’s Iceberg, Brinsley Schwarz and just about every other good UK based group touring at the time (though I never liked pomp rock groups such as Yes and their ilk….the Edgar Broughton Band were more my style!). I did once have a live cassette of the Helps (in the short period that E Graham was with them) that I recorded off BBC radio, that featured a great song by him ( ‘Hope Farm Road’) that was never on LP, but that disappeared into the ether years ago and I’ve never been able to track down again since….Regrettably, all my albums from that era were sold off when I started my own little shop around 1979, never to be seen again….I’d love a hi-rez copy of ‘Strange Affair’ if you ever get round to ripping that one please!

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