Blue Ash Debut Being Reissues

(conqueroo) When England's Guardian newspaper assembled its list of "1,000 Albums to Hear Before You Die," the 1973 debut album from Blue Ash made the grade alongside all the established classics � pretty remarkable considering the album in question, 1973's No More, No Less, had been out of print for 30 years.

Thirty-five years after its release, on October 28, 2008, Collectors' Choice Music will reissue the album, complete with liner notes from founding bass player (and band historian) Frank Secich.

Blue Ash formed in 1969 with a clear set of influences � The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Searchers, The Hollies, The Beau Brummels and all the British Invasion and West Coast bands of the mid-'60s. They developed a following in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia. Wilson Pickett even stopped by a session and remarked, "You guys aren't bad . . . for white boys."

The band was signed to Mercury Records in 1972 by legendary rock critic and A&R man Paul Nelson. At the time, bands like Badfinger, Big Star and the Raspberries were reviving pop in the era of prog rock excess and singer-songwriter self-absorption. Nelson had just signed the New York Dolls, who commanded some of the highest critical accolades of their day but never caught on at radio, which was in a confused state between free-form and what was to become album-oriented rock. This fate would befall Blue Ash as well, despite a chiming pop single titled "Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her?)."

No More No Less was released in May 1973 and immediately received rave reviews Rolling Stone, Creem, Fusion, Phonograph Record, Rock Scene, Rock, Bomp!, Zoo World and dozens of other magazines throughout the country. The band opened for the likes of Aerosmith, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent and Nazareth. Dick Clark played them on American Bandstand. Alas, in June of 1974 the band was dropped, with Nelson fired soon after. The band recorded one more LP in 1977 for Playboy Records before calling it a day in 1979.

The story could have ended there. But a funny thing happened on the road to oblivion. Blue Ash somehow became cult heroes. In 2004, Not Lame Records released a two-CD set of previously unreleased Blue Ash demos and outtakes called Around Again. Soon after, the band reunited for the first time in 25 years for half a dozen Midwest gigs (the band will appear November 15 in Youngstown as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival). They remain good friends to this day, and maintain a MySpace page at www.myspace.com/officialblueash , which streams the band's classic songs.

The late Bomp Records founder Greg Shaw once told Secich, "You guys made a great album with No More, No Less, and whether an LP sells 5 million copies or 500 copies, nothing will ever change the fact that you made a great album."

The first-ever CD release of No More, No Less by Collectors' Choice has been long awaited by Blue Ash fan worldwide. It will also give a whole new generation insight into this archetypal power-pop band. As Secich wrote in the liner notes, "Somewhere, Paul Nelson and Greg Shaw are smiling."

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