At birth, Keith Hartley (8 April 1944 – 26 November 2011) was a resident of Plungington in Preston's northwest suburbs. He learned the basics of drumming from Lloyd Ryan, who also instructed Phil Collins. After Ringo Starr joined The Beatles, he was hired as a substitute drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, a band based in Liverpool. Following his time with The Artwoods, he gained considerable acclaim as John Mayall's drummer (including his participation as the only other musician to appear on Mayall's 1967 "solo" album The Blues Alone). The Keef Hartley (Big) Band, jazz, blues, and rock & roll mashup, was the result, and the ensemble performed at Woodstock in 1969. Although the band performed at this year's festival, neither their music nor the soundtrack of the film was ever put on any officially issued CD (before 2019).
"Amazing show of skill" is how a Vancouver Sun critic described their five albums, including Halfbreed and The Battle of North West Six. Hartley was encouraged to start his own band by John Mayall when they were both in the same band. On the Halfbreed album's first track, "Sacked," you can hear a mock-up of Hartley being "fired." Miller Anderson (guitar and vocals), Gary Thain (bass), Peter Dines (organ), and Ian Cruickshank (as "Spit James") were the members of the first album's band (guitar). Mick Weaver on organ (also known as Wynder K. Frog), Henry Lowther (b. July 11, 1941, Leicester, England; trumpet/violin), Jimmy Jewell on saxophone, Johnny Almond on flute, and Jon Hiseman and Harry Beckett all later joined Hartley's ever-changing band. Hartley was a prominent small-club performer who appeared like an American Indian, complete with a full headdress and battle paint.  Even though he didn't make it to the top of the charts with the release of Battle Of NW6 in 1969, his popularity as a club DJ grew. Neither Lowther nor Jewell was around for the third album.
Lancashire Hustler was Hartley's first solo effort and he later created Dog Soldier with Miller Anderson (guitar), Paul Bliss, Derek Griffiths, and Mel Simpson (guitar) in 1973. (keyboards). In 1975, they published an album of the same name, which was reissued on CD by the Esoteric label in early 2011.
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