Argent: Ring Of Hands
Hello, hello, hello. We’re back and we’re glad you’re back for another installment of your weekly Summer ‘019 Rock Block. Every week we’ve been featuring a disc from our Rock and Roll, Blues, and Soul shelf. Hopefully, you’re able to learn about some artists you know and are introduced to groups you don’t. The whole point of our collection is to provide you with the evergreens you know and love while giving you easy access to a slew of music that’s fresh to your ears.
This week we have a treat. An early album from an early supergroup, Argent’s Ring Of Hands (Epic Records, 1971). Argent was formed in 1969 when the keyboardist of The Zombies, Rod Argent, teamed up with his cousin and bassist of Mike Cotton Sound Jim Rodford, The Roulette’s drummer Bob Henrit, and the guitarist of Unit 4 + 2, Russ Ballard. Argent, Ballard, and Chris White, who had also worked with Argent in The Zombies were the primary songwriters for the group.
As they were an English group, the major successes were in the UK. They had three hits that made it into the Top 40s and two albums that charted as well. 1972 was arguably their best year, with the release of All Together Now which hit number 13 on the albums chart and contained their most successful single; ‘Hold Your Head Up’. This tune reached number 5 and spent 12 weeks on the charts. An edited version also reached number 5 in the United States and sold over a million copies, which as we know, earned it a gold disc.
In ’74, Ballard left the group and was replaced by two guitarists; John Gerity and John Grimaldi. With the new editions, Argent went from heavy pop rock sensibilities to a more progressive sound until around 1976 when they decided to stop touring. Soon after, both Jim Rodford and Bob Henrit were picked up by The Kinks while Rod Argent did some work with Andrew Lloyd Weber and opened up his own keyboard shop in London.
Ring Of Hands (1971), is an early progressive album with most tracks written by Russ Ballard. The eight minute keyboard prog symphony, Lothlorien demonstrating the best example of this style. The opener of the B side, Chained – another by Ballard, was the second Three Dog Night cover of an Argent tune and was on their 1972 album, Seven Separate Fools. Many other groups and artists like Santana, Kiss (for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey), and even Christian rock’s Petra covered Argent and especially Ballard’s numbers, making this group a musician’s friend.
Enjoy these heavy hitters with our own heavy hitting Old Raj and tonic.