Ham - Pink Elephant 1973
Comments:"Ham" from 1973 by Shocking Blues was the follow-up to the fine album "Attila" from December 1972. After a long course of illness had hit the guitarist and songwriter Robbie Van Leeuwen he was again ready with a box of new songs and he had an idea of releasing a JJ Cale inspired album. When "Ham" lay finished and ready for release, Van Leeuwen was not completely satisfied with the result, and he might have felt that his songwriting was not totally on par with previous albums. Nevertheless, the company Dureco chose to release the album in several European countries in May 73. A week later the album for unclear reasons was withdrawn.
This gave the group the opportunity to add to and remix the songs, which in some cases may sound slightly dull without the clear and distinct sound of most of the group's previous releases. Extra reverb was added (little too much for some) and these new mixes were intended for a new release of "Ham". Apart from releases in Japan and France (still the original mixes) in October, "Ham" was not released again, though. The remixed recordings became the bulk of the 1974 album "Dream on Dreamer". Only three titles distinguish "Ham" and "Dream on Dreamer", which, however, has a significantly clearer sound and more thus more sounds like a classic Shocking Blue album.
Unlike "Dream on Dreamer", "Ham" contains the fine single "Oh Lord" and its b-page, the bluesy "Everything that's mine" also the nice J.J. Cale inspired "I saw you in June", which was a b-page to "Let me carry your bag". On "Dream on Dreamer" these three songs are replaced by the great "Diana in Her Dreams", "Save your love" and the quiet piano ballad "Just a Song".
In addition to "Oh Lord" the single "Time Slip Away", where Veres’ vocal is differently airy and almost whispering is a big highlight.
Otherwise, the album, as always well-played, and as mentioned a little more blues embossed than one had previously heard the group.
Interesting to hear the original mixes of the "Dream on Dreamer" songs. Only "Take your time", "A little bit of heaven" and "Now he has gone" preserved the original "Ham" mixes.