reissue of the Curtiss Maldoon albums - whilst not involving
any members of Deep Purple directly, does connect with the band
in a couple of unexpected ways. The band might have remained
a foot-note in rock history had it not been for the 1998 release
by Madonna of her hit album "Ray Of Light". The title track
turned out to be a cover of a Curtiss Maldoon song from their
Maldoon's albums are two of the rarest ever issued by Purple
Records; one track which appeared on the Purple label sampler
"Purple People" is probably all most people had ever heard by
them. The albums are very varied, and there is no doubt that
the duo had real talent.
Purple were up and running during the late spring of 1968, just
as guitarist Steve Howe was reaching the end of his role in
the band Tomorrow, when Deep Purple's management company made
the suggestion that Steve should meet two guys who were trying
to put together a band. They were drummer Bobby Woodman and
bassist Dave Curtiss, both of whom had been around during early
'68 when Deep Purple were being planned. Chris Curtis (no relation)
had brought together Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore, with Dave
Curtiss and Woodman also in the frame. As Chris's ideas became
ever more outlandish, Blackmore went back to Germany and Dave
Curtiss left for a tour with French rocker Michel Polnareff.
Dave and Bobby kept in touch and together with Steve Howe, formed
a trio, Canto. Towards the end of 1968 they changed their name
to Bodast, and it was shortly after this that Clive Maldoon
(real name Skinner) appeared on the scene. With an unissued
album still in the can, Bodast split at the end of 1969, and
Steve Howe left to join Yes. Clive and Dave decided to form
a duo together - and Deep Purple's managers offered to help
them record an album. During 1970 the pair began recording.
Both Dave and Clive were capable of turning their hand to a
variety of instruments, and writing honours were evenly shared.
The album featured several guest musicians. Steve Howe was also
able to help his old mates out on two tracks, and contributed
some blistering work to the album's closing masterpiece "Find
A Little Peace" - which also featured the unmistakable organ
work of Tony Ashton.
Curtiss Maldoon album became one of the first batch of Purple
Records releases in late 1971. A single preceded the album, "You
Make Me Happy". As the new label wasn't yet ready, this actually
appeared on Regal Zonophone in Britain. Once the album was out,
Curtiss Maldoon began gigging. They recruited bassist John McCoy
and drummer Liam Genocky (both later teamed up with ex-Deep Purple
singer Ian Gillan when he formed his own band in 1978) to augment
their own guitar and vocal work both on the road and in the studio.
The LP was issued in America, and the band went out there to help
promote it, playing support for Badfinger.
was to be two years before the pair issued their follow-up album
in November 1973. By then the strain of struggling to make a
success of it all was beginning to tell, and Dave asked for
his name to be taken off it, "I felt it was rushed and lacked
the quality of the first. I wasn't happy having my name attached
to it, so it went out as Maldoon / Maldoon."
Whereas the first album kicks of with the rocky "Man from Afghanistan",
the second album's opening songs such as "Ballad of Lots Road",
and "You Were A Friend" have a minor-key melancholy which gives
a hint at the internal angst fuelling Clive's creative drive.
Given the lack of commercial interest in the LP, Dave and Clive
had little choice but to go their own way. Dave Curtiss continued
in music for a while, but he eventually hung up his bass and settled
down to a collar-and-tie existence. Clive continued to live the
dream until his accidental death in 1976. Then, in 1997 their
song "Sepheryn" was re-recorded by Christine Leach, Clive's niece.
Christine worked for a time with Madonna's creative co-worker,
William Orbit. "I had always loved Dave and Clive's work. "Sepheryn"
had a dream-like quality to it; that's how I always heard it -
as a dream. I rewrote the chorus melody, removed a few bits -
it was a kind of jam, really." Madonna heard Christine's reworked
"Sepheryn", and raved about it. The rest is history. Dave Curtiss
was in for a shock: "I came home from work one day and I couldn't
believe it. This 27 year-old song was on an album by one of the
biggest grossing artists in the world. I was pleased for Christine,
too - it's great that Clive's family should benefit from his efforts."
Edwards, Curtiss Maldoon's manager 27 years ago, still has a
clear picture of the duo. "They had talent and quite a deal
of charisma. I was filled with sadness at Clive's premature
death. I feel now that with a bit more luck and expertise the
tragedy could have been avoided. In an age of Dylan, Donovan
and Simon and Garfunkel, Curtiss Maldoon had within them an
ability to create beautiful, poetic songs with a creativity
which would eventually count..." Well, it looks as if he was
Purple label CD is the first reissue of any of the band's material
in any format. It contains the complete original album, the
best of the second LP, and a batch of unissued tracks. The booklet
contains a full history of the duo, with contributions from
Dave Curtiss and others.
MALDOON / DISCOGRAPHY
CURTISS MALDOON / CURTISS MALDOON - Purple TPS 3501, Oct 1971
also issued on Capitol ST 880 in America. Tracks as per CD
Make Me Happy / Amber Man (non LP track) Regal Zonophone RZ
UK. July 1971
/ MALDOON - Purple TPS 3502, Nov 1973
also issued on Warner Bros. BS2706 in America.
can be ordered from the dpas