Friday, 11 February 2022

Fight For My Country: A Brief History of Balls

#1,652: Perhaps one of the strangest episodes in the story of 'Brum Beat' must be the short-lived Midlands combi-pop project Balls circa 1969. Produced by Jimmy Miller and managed by the infamous Tony Secunda (manager for The Move until the Harold Wilson postcard scandal and soon to oversee the career of a certain Marc Bolan), the band existed either alongside or instead of existing groups The Uglys and The Idle Race whilst serving as a vehicle for familiar local legends including Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton, Mike Kellie and Denny Laine not forgetting stints by Richard Tandy, Dave Morgan, Keith Smart and Alan White. The sessions were apparently somewhat racous if not great fun at times yielding just the one single: "Fight For My Country" (penned by Burton) b/w "Janie Slow Down" (penned by Laine/White) in the UK and "Hound Dog Howling" (another Burton song) in Europe, albeit in three different forms (see below).

Check out for more info on the history of Balls
Considering the talents of its various members, it is indeed amazing that the only official release to date is the aforementioned "Fight For My Country" (there may, of course, still be recordings locked away somewhere in the vaults) but even its story is convoluted. Released originally via Wizard Records (#WIZ 101) in September 1971 as a Balls single, it was later reissued in May 1973 as a Trevor Burton single on the same label (#WIZ 103) before a third outing with an alternative title "Live In The Mountains" by B. L. & G. (Burton, Laine & Gibbons) via Birds Nest Records (#BN-3) in July 1975. All very confusing and perhaps an apt testament to the brief history of Balls!

*** Until next "Time" in the ELOBF Universe ... 11-Feb-2022 ***

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