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May Blitz

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May Blitz May Blitz album cover
3.81 | 78 ratings | 11 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Smoking the Day Away (8:19)
2. I Don't Know? (4:52)
3. Dreaming (6:40)
4. Squeet (6:51)
5. Tomorrow May Come (4:47)
6. Fire Queen (4:14)
7. Virgin Waters (6:56)

Total Time 42:39

Line-up / Musicians

- James Black / lead vocals, guitar
- Reid Hudson / bass
- Tony Newman / drums

Releases information

The first vinyl issue on Vertigo is difficult to come by and tends to be expensive. It has been re-issued with "The 2nd of May" as a double pack on CD, however.

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
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MAY BLITZ May Blitz ratings distribution

(78 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MAY BLITZ May Blitz reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars I was a little wary of this group's inclusion , because I remembered them as a power guitar trio , formed on the heels of The Jimi Hendrix Experience , Cream and Taste (Rory Gallagher's first band) , and thought of the others more hard-rocking groups such as Budgie , T2 and Clear Blue Sky all of whom where producing proto-metal music (some on the same label as MB's Vertigo) with the odd prog elements, but such is not the case as I rented out from the library , the 2 on 1 CD from BGO CD153 .

Yes , we are dealing with a power trio , but the register of their music is actually quite impressive. Newman was a Jeff Beck sideman, and if you are no slouch coming in Beck's groups , you come out a master. His two colleagues are definitely no dwarves at their respective instruments either. Dreamong and the closing track Virgin Waters being the highlights , I always found the opening track Smoking The Day Away, a bit over-long for the amount of musical ideas developped.

If you manage to get by the rather hideous (but acquired taste) drawing on the front cover (this was design by Mr. Bunyon of NME who also realized the equally awful second album and the first Patto sleeves , and I have yet to confirm this , the much better but horrifying Comus First Utterance ) , you will have a good album (especially cheap when linked to the second one) well worthy of an addition to your collection , although it is nothing to write home about!

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars MAY BLITZ, briefly an integral part of the UK heavy underground live music scene, were formed by ex-Jeff Beck Group member Tony Newman (drums), who recruited Canadians James Black (lead guitar, vocals) and Reid Hudson (bass and vocals) in 1969. There were many such "power trios" around at the time most famously Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Groundhogs and Bakerloo. Their debut album "May Blitz" was released on Vertigo (6360 007) in 1970 but despite containing some excellent original heavy music sold moderately. The album has very good sound quality and production, the distinctive cover was designed by NME cartoonist Tony Benyon. I managed to get hold of an original copy some years ago and in recent years this album and the follow-up "2nd of May" have each been reissued by Akarma on vinyl and both albums together on a "Beat Goes On" cd BGOCD153.

The first track "Smokin' the Day Away" , a smoke in the country away from the "smoke" starts slowly, almost ponderously, and develops into a jam before returning to the main theme, my favourite song, it is very effective i can almost "smell" that stuff! It also contains some fine drum work and unusual metallic sounding guitar effects. "I Don't Know" , which has another "back to the country" theme is a lazy bluesey number which contains some fine guitar work which snakes its way along. "Dreaming", as the title suggests, is a slow dreamy song with acoustic guitar and shimmering cymbals, then momentarily speeds up into a frenzy of screaming "Arthur Brown" style half-sung vocals, fast tom toms and slide guitar. "Squeet" ("squeet all over the wall?...what could they possibly be talking about??) is an unusual song which develops into a boogie-style jam, "Tomorrow May Come", a dream of a better world, is a slow and ethereal song with echoed vocals, drums and guitar, this mood changes into the fast-paced "Fire Queen" with screaming vocals and thundering drums. Waves lapping introduce the last track "Virgin Waters", a beautiful song about first love, containing some lovely effects, whispered vocals, brilliant drumming and echoey acoustic guitar which build to a heavy climax.

Overall a brilliant group and an amazing album, definitely more "gem" than "lost", an essential masterpiece to any progressive Psych/Space Rock collection!

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Oh my, this album is a storming 'Progressive' rarity that features NO keyboards what-so-ever, quite unusual, truth be told (not that the 'keyboard' is the be-all and end-all of all Prog-Rock.....) MAY BLITZ was a not-so-average 3-piece, harder-edged band, simply consisting of a marvellous Guitarist in James Black, and a solid 'backbone' of Bassist Reid Hudson and Drummer/Percussionist Tony Newman. All musicians display a quite adventurous zeal on their respective instruments and their creativeness holds no boundaries to their song- writing. Admittedly, it's taken some years for me to get around to the band, and I have to say that I'm quite impressed with what I hear (if only I discovered them around 1989/90, back when I ........) anyway, here we have something that could be considered as a basic Blues-based band, but their seasoned musicianship and colourful arrangements stretch out further than many of their contemporaries. The album (now a seldomly obtainable record that was originally released on the famed 'Vertigo' label, lovingly re-issued by the amazing Italian vinyl specialists, AKARMA) features the original 7 tracks that offer the listener a surprising insight to what this inspired group of professional musicians can achieve within their simplistic, 3 piece format. The opening piece, the 8 min+ 'Smoking The Day Away' makes me wish I was (ho ho). It's a totally blowing piece of guitar-heavy music, superb riffs, great singing (in a Jack Bruce kinda way) with the rhythm section supplying a constantly changing backdrop for Mr Black to demonstrate his chops - indeed, the middle section displays some of the finest acoustic-guitar playing I've heard for a long time. The album also shows off some early-morning 'descending mood' moments (as I recall them.....) with 'Tomorrow May Come' and 'Virgin Waters', which are great mellow-out tracks. 'Squeet' is very impressive, too - Reid Hudson absolutely cooks on the Bass-Guitar. I'm inclined to give this fantastic album a 5, but I'm aware that many folks will find its contents less than enthralling - so, a strong 4.5 stars feels adequate - not really a weak moment throughout. Please discover this under-rated gem.
Review by stefro
3 stars The anglo-canadian group May Blitz released two LP's at the front-end of the 1970's before, like so many before and after them, disappearing into the rock netherworld. Thanks to Germany's Repertoire Records, both albums are now available on lovely, remastered, special-edition- mini-vinyl-replica editions, complete with the original artwork by Tony Benyon. Of the two releases, the eponymously-titled debut is by far the better album, featuring a powerful, bass-driven and, at times, very psychedelic sound which comes across like a heavier and more freaked-out version of Eric Clapton's Cream. Like Cream, May Blitz were a three-piece, featuring James Black(guitar, vocals), Reid Hudson(bass) and Tony Newman(drums), all of whom helped produce their debut along with ex-Vertigo Records engineer Barry Ainsworth, thus giving the album a thunderous overall sound peppered with feedback-drenched guitars and intense, tribal drumming. Released in 1970, 'May Blitz' sold very little, with the follow-up '2nd Of May' also proving a commercial failure, and the band were soon dropped by their label. However, thirty-plus years down the line and the group's first album is being rightfully hailed as a 'lost classic' from the golden era of popular music, and the group's reputation has risen from non-existant to cult-status as a result, with several internet fan clubs now being run for lovers of this un-compromising threesome. Adorned by some spectacularly odd artwork - a fat, ugly, large-nostrilled lady who looks like the lovechild of a gorilla and British politician Anne Widdecombe - the album starts with the brooding, marijuana-soaked rocker 'Smoking The Day Away', an 8-minute-plus heavy rock odyssey that demonstrates the group's pounding style. This is, in turn, followed by a collection of psychedelic rock songs peppered with the odd moody ballad, all of which find each member of the group in blistering form. Most outstanding is Reid Hudson's throbbing bass, which underpins every track with a ominous tension, though Tony Newman's drumming is pretty incredible throughout. The real shame, however, is the fact that the group abandoned this impressive formula in favour of a gruesome proto-metal sound for 'The 2nd Of May', consigning the group straight to the dustbin of promising rock acts and truncating a promising career right at it's inception.

Review by friso
4 stars May Blitz - s/t (1970)

May Blitz is yet another good example of high quality hard-rock with an artistic appeal. This power-trio, guitar, bass & drums has a very concentrated riff-based rock-sound and experiments along the way. All songs have fresh ideas and there are no compositional mistakes.

There are very few clichés. The vocals are a bit in the background in order to get us focussed on the tight rhythm and blues interplay. The riffs are most of the time played with a clean electric guitar, whilst the long solo sections are played with heavy distorted guitars. On some progressive passages the acoustic guitar with reverb is used to get us into new hard-rock territory, hence the 'heavy prog'-label. I would however prefer to call this proto-prog. All songs have some innovative ideas and more themes then would be necessary for a standard hard- rock band. The rhythm changes are very strong throughout.

Yet, not only the music of May Blitz is strong, but their daring artwork is a real treat. The hideous fat lady in underwear with a smile on her face is really a good anti-commercial statement. This completes the package into a fine rarity, one I love buying as a vinyl collector.

Conclusion. A very strong innovative riff-based proto-metal record that was released at a very early point in history. The progressive influences and the underground sound of record make this a real treat for collectors like me. Way better then Led Zeppelin if you'd ask me! Four stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars A feel-good album of the first degree conjuring up a mix of the best of what heavy psych had to offer from the 60s and injected some seriously hard rockin groovy riffs to create the perfect recipe for some seriously addictive progressive blues rock that has the stamina to deserve the added tag of proto-metal.

MAY BLITZ formed in 1969 in the UK and quickly imploded leaving Canadian Jamie Black (Lead guitar and vocals) to replace those missing in action and recruited fellow Canadian Reid Hudson (bass, vocals) and Englishman Tony Newman (who was the drummer for Jeff Beck and the Hollies). After touring the pub scene they scored a record deal with Vertigo Records (also of Black Sabbath, Colosseum, Uriah Heep, Gentle Giant and Cressida fame).

This album really rocks! Every track on here is every bit as good as the best hard rock of 1970 you can think of with progressively complex yet catchy groovin melodic riffs and knock-yer-socks-off drum rolls with a beefy bass to boot. Everything comes together perfectly from the very first track 'Smoking The Day Away' to the echo-and-effect laden closer 'Virgin Waters.' Pay no attention to the hilarious cover! It's really what's inside that counts! And you can count on some high energy hard rock that perfectly balances the formula of heavy prog, bluesy psych with a groovy and even slightly funky edge. In the vein of Captain Beyond but two years prior.

Review by Menswear
4 stars I swear the lady on the cover lives on my block.

Don't judge a book by it's cover, and again, it's true here. With art like that, what kind of music would you logically expect?!?

What you CAN expect is surprisingly good musicianship, especially in the guitar and drums departments. Newman is rolling thunder on the drums, inventing Peart before Peart. The guy is tight as Mick Jagger's pants while Black is giving all he can on every number, psychadelic here (with good delay) and heavy blues there (Les Paul without a doubt). Not a Hendrix rip-off, but strongly influenced for sure. Like Rush, Blue Cheer or Cream, it's impressive what those 3 guys can come up to as a trio.

Obscure band with truckloads of talent and swagger. Perfect to listen by candlelight or riding a motorcycle with Peter Fonda.

Latest members reviews

5 stars MAY BLITZ were a hurricane-force English/Canadian power trio. They recorded two albums of storming Psychedelic Rock in the early 1970's. Their first album "May Blitz" (1970), released on the renowned Vertigo label, features arguably one of the worst album covers in rock history, but you can't ju ... (read more)

Report this review (#2316259) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Saturday, February 15, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Firstly, let me declare a sentimental interest in all things Vertigo "Spiral". Way back in the very early 70s, I used to spend my pocket money on bargain bin LPs because i could not afford full price releases. Nearly all the "Spiral" releases were in there, along with RCA Neon and other obscure ... (read more)

Report this review (#134517) | Posted by Starless | Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Ok Folks, before any of you put down ANY money to purchase this, I have one thing to tell you ... some so-called obscure gems are obscure for a simple reason - they were not good compared to the music issued in their time, they are not good compared to what may have come after, in brief they are ... (read more)

Report this review (#107149) | Posted by | Thursday, January 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars as a professional musician on my odd nights on the computer, I stumble on what I think must be a prog spotters bible, and it gets better. All those obscure albums that I thought I was the only person listening to are here. 35 years on this lp I bought from Reddingtons Rare Records in Birmingha ... (read more)

Report this review (#44525) | Posted by | Saturday, August 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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