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Nine Below Zero

Nine Below Zero started life in South London during 1977, in the midst of the punk rock boom in England -- but their sound and inspiration were so totally counterintuitive to what was going on in punk rock that they scarcely seemed to be part of that movement, apart from their extremely energetic attack on their instruments. Rather than noise for its own sake or auto-destruction, their inspiration lay in classic Chicago blues (though John Mayall's early music and that of the Who and the Kinks from early in their careers also figured into their sound). Dennis Greaves (lead vocals, guitar), Peter Clark (bass), and Kenny Bradley (drums) -- soon joined by Mark Feltham (who actually replaced a teacher of theirs who had sat in on the early gigs) on vocals and harmonica -- were schoolmates and friends who shared a love of blues; all had all come into the world in the early '60s, and might well have resigned themselves to having missed the boat for the British blues revival by virtue of having been born in the midst of it. Instead, they reached back to that era and found themselves pegged as part of the "mod revival" in the midst of the punk era.

Originally billed as Stan's Blues Band, they made a name for themselves locally in South London, sounding a lot like the Who from their "maximum R&B" days and the Kinks from their early days, and arrived as younger rivals to Dr. Feelgood. A couple of years later, they acquired a manager and a new name, taken from a song by Sonny Boy Williamson II, and cut a debut record on their own label. By 1980, they'd been signed to A&M Records' British division and took the bold step of making their major-label debut a live album from the Marquee Club in London -- to judge from the results, one heartily wished that some of the earlier bands that inspired them had displayed similar daring. Live at the Marquee, recorded on June 16, 1980 -- by which time Stix Burkey had replaced Bradley on the drums -- was a success and led to their follow-up album. For their sophomore effort, Don't Point Your Finger, they were determined to translate their live energy into the studio and turned to no less a producer than Glyn Johns, who had worked with the Rolling Stones and the Who in their respective best years. The resulting record reached number 56 on the British charts.

The band's upward momentum was slowed in the years that followed, with Clark's departure (replaced by Brian Berhall), though a third album, Third Degree, followed -- but it seemed as though the moment had passed, as that record never got the attention or recognition it deserved from the press or the public. Greaves' involvement with an outfit called the Truth, who coalesced as a full-time band in 1984, seemed to bring an end to Nine Below Zero, and that might have been as far as the group got. But a 1990 reunion got them playing before sell-out audiences, and the group has been working ever since, with Greaves on lead guitar and Mark Feltham even returning to the fold in 2001. ~ Bruce Eder
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Don't Play That Song (You Lied) (Single)

1. Don't Play That Song (You Lied)

x

Track List: A To Z (The Very Best Of Nine Below Zero)

1. Hit The Spot (From It's Never Too Late)

2. Go Girl (From Refrigerator)

3. Goin' Down (From Hats Off)

4. You Don't Love Me (From Chilled)

5. Mechanic Man (From It's Never Too Late)

6. Wild Kicking Horse (From Refrigerator)

7. Talk To My Baby (From Hats Off)

8. Loaded Gun (From Chilled)

9. I Should Have Left It Up To You (From Chilled)

10. Why Don't You Try Me (From Chilled)

11. The Ballad Of Nathan John (From It's Never Too Late)

12. Eye Candy (New Recording 2013)

13. Love Supreme (New Recording 2013)

14. I'm So Alone (From It's Never Too Late)

15. Money Or The Man (From Refrigerator)

16. Move It (From Hats Off)

17. Everyday I Have The Blues (From Hats Off)

18. White Boy Lost In The Blues (From Chilled)

19. Cinnamon Man (From Refrigerator)

20. You (From It's Never Too Late)

x

Track List: Hat's Off

1. Walkin' Thru The Park

2. Ice Cream Man

3. Goin' Down

4. I'm Ready

5. Blues Is Here To Stay

6. Talk To My Baby

7. Move It

8. I Need Me A Car

9. I Wanna Be Loved

10. Everyday I Have The Blues

11. Boogie Chillun

12. Walkin' By Myself

13. Be Careful

14. You Know It Ain't Right

x

Track List: Doing Their Homework

Disc 1

1. Tore Down (Live)

2. Straighten Her Out (Live)

3. Homework (Live)

4. Just A Little Bit (Live)

5. Twenty Yards Behind (Live)

6. I Can't Help Myself (Live)

7. Rocket 88 (Live)

8. Can I Get A Witness (Live)

9. Riding On The L & N (Live)

10. Stop Your Naggin' (Live)

11. Stormy Monday (Live)

12. The Hoochie Coochie Coo (Live)

13. I Got My Mojo Working (Live)

14. Is That You (Live)

15. Pack Fair And Square (Live)

16. Keep A Knocking (Live)

17. Watch Your Self (Live)

18. Round And Round (Live)

19. You Gotta Walk It Off (Live)

20. Doghouse (Live)

21. Three Times Enough (Live)

22. I Can't Quit You Baby (Live)

23. Rockin' Robin (Live)

Disc 2

1. Checkin' Up On My Baby

2. So Cold

3. Nine Below Zero

4. Give Me No Lip Child

5. She's All The Rage

6. Hip Shake

7. The Love You Bring

8. Troubled Life

9. You Know This

10. Line Of Least Resistance

11. Hand To Mouth

12. Crawl 'N' Shake

13. On The Road Again

14. Liquor Lover (Demo Version)

15. Three Times Enough (Demo Version)

16. One Way Street (Demo Version)

17. Homework (Live At The Marquee Club)

18. I Can't Help Myself (Live At The Marquee Club)

19. Treat Her Right (Live At The Marquee Club)

20. Can I Get A Witness (Live At The Marquee Club)

21. The Hoochie Coochie Coo (Live At The Marquee Club)

22. Keep A Knocking (Live At The Marquee Club)

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