Medicine Head formed as a duo John Fiddler and Peter Hope Evans in 1968, after the two left school early. While wandering around the UK with good old times, they were spotted playing at the Lafayette Club in Birmingham by music entrepreneur John Peel.
Peel was so impressed that he got a tape of the duo and shared it with friends such as Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton and John Lennon. At Lennon’s insistence, they were signed to John Peel’s Dandelion Record label.
The resulting three albums were marvellous, filled with Medicine Head Blues/Rock. They titled one of the albums “Dark Side of the Moon”. A year later, another popular beat combo released an album under this title, with some success.
After leaving John Peel the group continued in various guises and in 1973 they reached number three in the UK charts with their single ‘One and One is One’. More singles followed, but despite this, by 1977 the band had run its course. Coupled with poor management and the arrival of punk rock, Medicine Head slipped from view.
John Fiddler did not. Giving himself one more chance to run, he joined and led the British Lions; a band formed from the ashes of Mott the Hoople without Ian Hunter. Magnificent as they were, this was no time for an old school rock ‘n’ roll band and after two years, two albums and two hundred gigs, they too folded.
John Fiddler carried on with his reputation intact, playing gigs and recording when the muse took him. In 2021, a reassessment was applied and the results were good. Thus, another bid for fame was launched.
The resulting album, ‘Warriors of Love’ was an unqualified success. It could only look like John Fiddler/Medicine Head, although Fiddler has evolved over time.
The album has a great stripped-down feel, with musical embellishments added to the end results blending elements of swamp music and Americana for good measure.
Maintaining integrity for all to hear, it is sometimes plaintive and impassioned (‘Dancing in the Rain’ is a fine example) while alternating with down ‘n’ dirty with tongue firmly in cheek. (“Want Your Love is a terrific example.”) Although he’s an excellent musician himself (the blues harp on display on this album is second to none), Fiddler was smart enough to bring in some of the best musicians British to complete the album. Dzal Martin and Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell shine on guitar, while former teammate Morgan Fisher (of Medicine Head and the British Lions) dazzles, showcasing his distinctive musical textures.
As soon as the opening title track begins to play, sheer class exudes from every phrase and note.
The ‘Ballad of Ruby Rose’ is the central track of the album, encompassing all the refined elements of a single song.
“Cheap booze and perfume” must surely resonate with every red-blooded human. We’re back in emotional territory here.
The album ends with the epic “Forgive and Forget”, a song made for singing in stadiums. Hopefully, weather permitting, Medicine Head will soon be on the road bringing these songs to people in concert halls and at summer festivals.
In short, a great album. If you are interested in Bruce Springsteen, Ian Hunter or even John Lennon, this album is made for you. If you don’t like it, I’ll be nice to a cat!
Written by Mott The Dog of the Pattaya Dark Side Swamp.
Don’t forget to visit and subscribe to Mott’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1003417143122919/