These are original reviews from "Killing Floor"'s release in 1969. The most influential paper of the time was Melody Maker, with New Musical Express close behind. The album was actually only released in stereo, despite the information below, but the price, 38 shillings and sixpence, is probably correct. The album is still available today on the "Akarma" "Repertoire" and "See For Miles" labels.
New Musical Express
KILLING FLOOR (Spark mono or stereo S/RLP 38s.6d.)
A five man blues band hailing from South London who've been working the British club circuit for just over a year.
Eleven of the tracks are group compositions and though it sometimes gets a bit predictable there's promise there too, particularly in the group's hot fingered pianist Lou Martin who shines throughout.
Mick Clarke, lead guitar, Bill Thorndycraft, vocals and harp, Bas Smith, drums and Stuart McDonald, bass, complete the line up.
Disc and Music Echo - August 16 1969
Killing Floor, however are one mean band. Also loosely blues, they are hard- rockin' pounding and have something of the aggression of the early Stones. They backed American blues giant Freddie King on his recent tour here, but in fact their hardness proves they can stand up perfectly well on their own. They wrote everything on the album and tracks like 'Lou's Blues' the rock hard 'Woman you need love' and the beautiful 'Try to understand' prove they are one of the brightest names to emerge here this year.(on the Spark label) ***
Melody Maker, June 7, 1969
Well played set from this British Blues-based band featuring mainly original material, including a good solo track "Lou's Blues" by pianist Lou Martin. A good debut album from a band who manage to avoid sounding too stereotyped.
Melody Maker, June 14, 1969
A welter of electric blues bands have sprung up in the past year or so with the common denominator of playing 12-bar stuff, much of it in various degrees of mediocrity. But a few bands have tried to work within the framework, yet inject their own ideas in to what they are doing. Such a band is KILLING FLOOR (Spark SRLP 102), who plays a mixture of blues and modern rock on this their first album. The result is a fairly well executed set that has variety and effort. All but one of the tracks are original, the odd one out being an updated version of Willie Dixon's "Woman You Need Love." The band has a useful asset in pianist Lou Martin who is heard to good effect on "Come Home Baby," with some Jerry Lee Lewis inspired playing and a solo track "Lou's Blues."
Guitarist Mick Clarke, Singer Bill Thorndycroft, Bas Smith (drms) and Stuart McDonald (bass) fullfil their roles more than adequately with Thorndycroft blowing some nice harp on "Bedtime Blues." A good debut album -T.W.
Record Mirror - Week ending June 28 1969
If it's the loud, powerful blues sound that you crave, you'll dig this. More in the cult of the rock-blues white vein that's so successful, and this team have the power to pull something off. Not too strong on the originality stakes, but their workouts of some mediocre songs are good.
Review by Thom Jurek
ALL MUSIC GUIDE REVIEW (ONE)
The sheer toughness -- and overall derivative -- nature of Killing Floor's debut album, issued six months after Led Zeppelin's debut in 1969 on the Spark label, is a wondrous contrast to the overly slick treatment American blues were given by British artists. All of these tunes, with the exception of one, are revamped versions of songs from the blues canon with different words. The lone "cover" in the set was written by Willie Dixon titled "Woman You Need Love," the tune Zep ripped for "Whole Lotta Love." Despite the fact that this set was issued before by Repertoire, the Akarma version is definitive in that it features the original cover artwork in a heavy cardboard gatefold sleeve, and killer sound. This is a raw, immediate, overdriven, psychedelic blues record that offers an interesting historical counterpoint to the immediate impact of Page and Plant and Co., but it also offers a great contrast to the recent 1990s versions of American groups trying to rock up the blues in like style: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion immediately comes to mind. They also provide a heavier, less reverent, and altogether heavier update of the Yardbirds rave-up sound
This reissued debut LP by Killing Floor
(Originally released on the Sire label with a blood covered jail cell on the cover) is laden with imposing blues-rock by the 60's British blues band. They took blues legends' influences and changed it to reflect our times much in the same way Hendrix and so many other bands did. By electrifying the blues, the music reached a young audience that was changing dramatically. The new sounds featured hard rocking long guitar solos that appealed to a young audience hungry for something different.
By supporting groups like Ten Years After and Jethro Tull on tour, this band received some attention and notoriety, nothing like the bands that they opened for, but they did make a name for themselves. This self-titled debut burns with the red-hot coals of emotion only found in righteous blues music. All but one of these tracks is an original, which proves that they were talented enough to hold their own. Singer and harp player Bill Thorndycraft had a gruff deep down-from-the-belly vocal style, similar to Alvin Lee, and he could blow the harp to give the music that earthy blues feeling that could be found in all the Mississippi Delta acoustic blues. Michael Clark was an exceptional six-string slinger that had a fire burning in his belly; you could hear it in his playing, and the rhythm section of Bas Smith (drums) and Stuart MacDonald (bass) was steadfast and true in support of his fire branded flourishes. Lou Martin added the additional elements of keyboards to give their music more texture and a modern updated sound.
This is an excellent album for a debut, and they clearly broke some ground like their counterparts
the Groundhogs did during the same timeframe. This LP has an unfailing flow and liveliness that never lets up; its all mighty blues-rock played with heart and soul.
Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
Unfortunately for Killing Floor, this album's opener, Woman You Need Love, is the same Willie Dixon song Led Zeppelin simultaneously revamped as Whole Lotta Love. The comparison is startling, if unfair: Killing Floor may not have leapt into uncharted music territory, but they do what they do with aplomb. There are occasional eyebrow-raising exceptions, notably harpsichord instrumental Sunday Morning and Lou's Boogie, both showcases for pianist Lou Martin. He was clearly their stage star, but his key-thumping style clashes with the harmonica and guitar of Bill Thorndycraft and Mick Clarke. Ultimately their instrumental voices prevailed and Martin didn't feature on second album Out of Uranus.
Best of the bunch is My Mind Can Ride Easy, grooving on a conga percussion track like the Yardbird's For Your Love. A later number sounds suspiciously like Billy Boy Arnold's I Wish You Would, but that's unsurprising, as most of these songs were adapted from blues standards (the record company wanted "originals" rather than covers).
Lou Martin went on to with Rory Gallagher, while Mick Clarke worked the European circuit, leaving Killing Floor as a footnote in British blues history. They reconvened in 2005 for a third album, and have since played live. This handsomely packaged limited reissue will find takers.
ALL MUSIC GUIDE REVIEW (TWO)
Listening to Killing Floor's debut LP today -- essentially rearranged Chicago blues songs given a bombastic heavy rock treatment -- you cannot dismiss the impact and influence of Led Zeppelin's self-titled debut, which was released six months earlier, in January 1969. The band's fledgling label, Spark, decided to them record "original" material during sessions in Pye Recording Studios, so vocalist Bill Thorndycraft reportedly spent several days thereafter in the studio's restroom, where he reluctantly rewrote all the group's lyrics. The only song that didn't end up as an "original" was their cover of Willie Dixon's "You Need Love" (retitled "Woman You Need Love"), the same song later purloined by Led Zeppelin for "Whole Lotta Love." The next track, "Nobody By My Side," repeats the same two-line riff from Zeppelin's "How Many More Times," which had been purloined by Zeppelin from Albert King's "The Hunter." "Come Home Baby," a honky tonk blues original, features pleasant ivory-tickling by Lou Martin (this song was later covered by bluesman Jimmy Witherspoon on Spoonful of Blues). The hymn-like "Sunday Morning" features Martin on harpsichord. Much of the rest of the album continues along in the same fashion. There are the occasional sloppy mistakes, both in the playing and the album's production, but, all in all, Killing Floor is a fine collection of B-level British blues-rock. The cover artwork -- a photo depicting jail cell doors with symbolic red ink splashed around like blood -- was changed for the original American release on Sire.
Reviewed by Bryan Thomas
Our summary..... not a bad review, obviously owing something to a glance at these pages. Good effort including a few interesting but inaccurate guesses..
The Zeppelin album had no impact whatsoever on KILLING FLOOR. Personally I did not like it much at the time and never bought a copy.. I also saw possibly their first ever London performance and was not impressed. I caught up with Zeppelin for their second album which I thought was excellent and they certainly scrubbed up well in the end.
"Nobody By My Side" owes nothing to Zeppelin. It was originally Wolf's "Howlin' for my Baby" with an original MC riff and a stolen intro riff from the first Jeff Beck album.
Adequate B level review.
Review from the Tiliqua Records website
819. KILLING FLOOR: “S/T” (Spark – SRLP-102) (Record: Near Mint – small colored in tear on label/ Flip Back Jacket: Near Mint) Top UK copy of this loud, finger-blistering guitar charged heavy bluesy psych monster. The sheer toughness -- and overall derivative nature of Killing Floor's debut album, issued six months after Led Zeppelin's debut in 1969 on the Spark label, is a wondrous contrast to the overly slick treatment American blues were given by British artists. All of these tunes, with the exception of one are revamped versions of songs from the blues canon with different words. The lone "cover" in the set was written by Willie Dixon titled "Woman You Need Love”. This is a raw, immediate, overdriven, psychedelic blues record as Killing Floor hits you with a heavy and reverent update of the Yardbirds rave-up sound This self-titled debut burns from start to finish and it is graced with that white-boys-blues trashy sound not unlike Burning Plague. Singer and harp player Bill Thorndycraft had a gruff deep down-from-the-belly vocal style, sounding utterly wasted and he had the gift to blow the harp and give the music that earthy blues feeling that could be found in all the Mississippi Delta acoustic blues. Michael Clark was an exceptional six-string slinger igniting a fire burning he let loose on his strings, molten lava emanating out of it and hitting you right in the face; you could just hear it in his playing, and the rhythm section of Bas Smith (drums) and Stuart MacDonald (bass) was steadfast and true in support of his fire branded flourishes. Lou Martin added the additional elements of keyboards to give their music more texture and a modern updated sound. Original copies in nice condition are completely vanished these days, so… Fucking wasted and dirty white trash psychedelic blues album that till this day hasn’t met his rival yet, so Jon Spencer go suck some more on your mother’s tit, Killing Floor blaze you away any day of the week. TOP COPY, next to impossible to upgrade upon!!!! Price: 400 Euro
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