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THREE MAN ARMY

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Three Man Army biography
Following hot on the heels of the demise of their former band Gun, THREE MAN ARMY was formed in 1970 by brothers Adrian Gurvitz and Paul Gurvitz. Their initial effort A Third of a Lifetime appeared on Pegasus Records the following year, featuring contributions by drummers Buddy Miles, Mike Kellie and Carmine Appice.

Tony Newman would eventually join as the permanent sticksman for the rest of the lifespan of this Britsh power trio. Mahesha would be the first production Newman appeared on, initially released in 1972, then reissued with alternate cover art in 1973 as Three Man Army. 1974 saw the trio's last attempt at achieveing fame and fortune with Three Man Army Two. But like the other productions of this band commercial success eluded them also on this occasion and the band folded around 1975.

Just over 30 years later an epilogue of sorts would appear in the shape of the album Three Man Army Three, issued by German label Revisted Records. Featuring just over 30 minutes of demo recordings planned for a rock opera (Three Days to Go), compiled and reworked by Paul Gurvitz.

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THREE MAN ARMY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 19 ratings
A Third of a Lifetime
1971
3.03 | 11 ratings
Mahesha
1972
3.82 | 11 ratings
Three Man Army Two
1974
3.57 | 7 ratings
Three Man Army Three
2005

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THREE MAN ARMY Reviews


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 A Third of a Lifetime by THREE MAN ARMY album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.89 | 19 ratings

BUY
A Third of a Lifetime
Three Man Army Crossover Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars THREE MAN ARMY were an English band of brothers led by Sergeants Paul & Adrian Gurvitz, with various fired-up percussionists bringing up the rear, including Tony Newman (from the Jeff Beck Group), Carmine Appice (of Vanilla Fudge), Tom Kellie (of Spooky Tooth) and Buddy Miles (of Electric Flag). The Gurvitz brothers were previously known as the Gun, who are perhaps best-known for their 1968 hit song, "Race with the Devil". The brothers continued with the militaristic theme by going on to form the Baker-Gurvitz Army in the mid-1970's with Ginger Baker from Cream. Three Man Army delivered three artillery barrages (or albums) in a row during the early 1970's:- "A Third of a Lifetime" (1971); "Mahesha" (1973); & "Three Man Army Two" (1974). There was also one further album, the imaginatively-titled "Three Man Army 3" (2005), consisting of reworked demo recordings from the early 1970's sessions. Three Man Army are armed and ready to go, so it's time now to get locked and loaded for their first storming salvo of hard and heavy Rock. The CD reissue of "A Third of a Lifetime" - with its distinctive guitar/gun cover - added two bonus blitzkrieg songs to the original ten songs on the album.

INCOMING!!! A burst of machine-gun percussion opens fire on "Butter Queen", a storming hard rocker all about the real-life groupie Barbara Cope who was known to spread it around amongst the rock fraternity. It boggles the mind what she used to do with a slab of butter and it's probably best left to the imagination. Barbara was intimately acquainted with the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and Robert Plant once said of her, "Whatever happened to the Butter Queen? She got cheap and started using margarine," so maybe butter really IS better than marge after all. Tragically, Barbara Cope died in a house fire in 2018 at the age of 67 when she was overcome by smoke after successfully rescuing her 93-year-old mother, but the legend of the "Butter Queen" lives on forever. We're getting all Dazed and Confused now to the sound of some thunderous Led Zep- style power-riffing with "Daze", another sonic blast from the past with Gunnery Sergeants Paul & Adrian Gurvitz blazing away in a take-no-prisoners, rapid-fire Rambo rampage, backed up by some powerhouse drumming from Lance Corporal Mike Kellie. The power trio of Three Man Army sound like they're armed and dangerous and ready to rumble. This blitzkrieg album should come supplied with camouflage cream, combat fatigues and Meals Ready to Eat (or MRE's in army jargon), known derisively by army grunts in the field as "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians". FIRE IN THE HOLE!! Take cover and batten down the hatches because there's no let-up in the incredible pace of this album as the Gurvitz brothers unleash another fast and furious fusillade of fire with "Another Way". It's a real Stormbringer of a song with a syncopated funky Rock groove, featuring sudden dynamic bursts of guitar riffing sounding not unlike machine-gun fire, which is no less than what we've come to expect from the Three Man Army of romping, stomping stormtroopers. This dynamic British trio are about as likely to perform a weepy romantic ballad as the proud British navy are likely to name their next magnificent aircraft carrier the HMS Vulnerable, but hang on a minute, what's this..... ATTEN-SHUN! Stand at ease, because it's time now to take a breather as there's a complete change of pace for the title track "A Third of a Lifetime", ironically recorded two thirds of a lifetime ago. It's a beautifully lush instrumental piece featuring gorgeous guitars and vivacious violins, designed to take the listener on a magic carpet ride before ascending the Stairway to Heaven. This lovely musical extravaganza may not have the benefit of vocals, but this epic sweeping soundscape will surely inspire you with a Whole Lotta Love. It's as romantic as a candlelit dinner for two at an exclusive restaurant, only without the annoying little Spanish waiter serenading the courting couple with his third-rate flamenco music, when all they want to do is pay him to just go away and leave them alone. There's another instrumental "Nice One" to round off Side One now and a very "Nice One" it is too, featuring pounding sledgehammer drumming and heavy blues guitar riffing, and be prepared for some stratospheric guitar glissandos too. Those effects pedals and amps are turned up to the max with enough guitar reverb to send the music soaring, swirling and echoing higher up into the heavens than a Eurofighter Typhoon!

Opening Side Two now is a song that's so good, the band named it after themselves. Yes, it's "Three Man Army", another solid slab of pure unadulterated hard and heavy Rock, only this time, it's locked and loaded with a powerful anti-war message, as these lyrics reveal:- "I came a long way from my home town, at 16 years of age. They told me that I'd be a brave man, and killing's all the rage. Why should we stand here and fight? No one seems to know, and no one seems to care." ..... Give peace a chance, although there's no chance of peace breaking out any time soon when the Gurvitz brothers are out on the rampage with their twin blitzing guitar attacks. The sonic assault on the eardrums continues with "Agent Man", featuring the familiar trademark machine-gun delivery we've come to know and love by now from the riff-meisters. This is guitar heaven! If the Gurvitz brothers haven't yet stunned you into submission, then have a listen to "See What I Took". This song is incredible! On the surface, it might appear as a typical slice of early 1970's countrified Pop, but lurking just underneath the surface like a predatory shark are some pounding killer guitar shredding solos which are just waiting to rip the song to shreds. This is like Grateful Dead meets Black Sabbath. You really have to hear it to believe it! If your eardrums are in need of a well-earned rest after that all-out sonic attack, then the penultimate tune "Midnight" makes for a very pleasantly laid-back instrumental interlude, featuring some simply sublime organ soloing and soothingly mellow guitar leads, demonstrating that there's more to the Gurvitz brothers than just storm and thunder hard rockers. Three Man Army are going out in a Blaze of Glory with their final song "Together", which is sure to delight fans of Led Zeppelin and the Moody Blues together. This rousing 7-minute-long epic combines the Mellotron magic and majesty of Nights in White Satin with the rip-roaring anthemic glory of "Stairway to Heaven". It's a tremendous album highlight to close this stunning album, and if the other nine blazing songs are all glowing stars in the galaxy, then "Together" is a brilliant supernova!

Prepare yourself for the storming Gurvitz Blitz of Three Man Army! Their thunderous Led Zeppelin-inspired Hard Rock is guaranteed to lift you out of a Black Dog depression and inspire you with a Whole Lotta Love. If you're left feeling Dazed and Confused and Trampled Under Foot following four months of lockdown during this frightful Chinese Virus year of 2020, then this uplifting album will take you up the Stairway to Heaven. "A Third of a Lifetime" was recorded two thirds of a lifetime ago, but The Song Remains the Same through the passing of the years for their timeless brand of Rock & Roll. Three Man Army are tooled up with bandoliers of thrumming power chords and heavy percussion ammo, so expect No Quarter as they rampage and blitz their way through ten sonorous songs. If you're lucky enough to find this rare album Over the Hills and Far Away in a record store, then that will be a Celebration Day!

 A Third of a Lifetime by THREE MAN ARMY album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.89 | 19 ratings

BUY
A Third of a Lifetime
Three Man Army Crossover Prog

Review by AEProgman

4 stars An Overlooked Power Trio with Some Proggy and Psych Elements!

Thanks to a new co-worker, I have been rediscovering some great stuff from the past, Three Man Army being one of them. The Gurvitz brothers (Adrian and Paul) are the core of the trio and are excellent musicians. They were/are veterans from the British rock scene in the 60s and 70s. Their previous endeavor was in a band called Gun which had some mild success, this was their next project.

The music on "A Third of a Lifetime" features some accomplished drummers of the day, Carmine Appice, Buddy Miles, and Mike Kellie. Without getting into a track by track review, the style of the music is of the hard rock nature of that period. As another reviewer mentioned, fans of Cream and Cactus will like this. But there are some instrumental, acoustic, and orchestra mixed in as well, plus some Hendrix style psychedelic elements that makes this more interesting. Adrian's vocals are very pleasant and add to the music. His guitar playing and writing skills are also top notch.

Later the Gurvitz brothers would be drafted by drum wiz Ginger Baker into the Baker Gurvitz Army. I thought this band and album deserved some love as it seems they were under appreciated in my book.

Four stars in the crossover genre.

 Mahesha by THREE MAN ARMY album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.03 | 11 ratings

BUY
Mahesha
Three Man Army Crossover Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Donīt be fooled by the rating. the only reason I gave this album a 3 star rating is because of the style of music, not of its quality. My first contact with the Gurvitz brothers (Adrian on guitar and vocals, Paul on bass) happened when I heard the Baker Gurvitz first, self titled, album of 1974. I thought both were newbies recruited by legendary Cream and Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker. Only recently I knew they were in fact quite veterans of the british scene, having played in both Gun and Three Man Army long before, Adrian also having played with famous american drummer Buddy Miles. So I was quite curious about their earlier work.

Mahesha was their second album, the first with the classic line up of the Gurvitz plus the excellent services of Tony Newman (Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, May blitz, Boxer). Listening to this CD today is hard to believe that such good collection of hard/blues/rock went completely anonymous at the time, specially when performed by such outstanding line up. It is ok that their songs were not exactly new or groundbreaking. In fact, it was very much what was fashionable at the time. But this is not a demerit. Mahesha shows that Three Man Army deserved much better luck (or maybe a bigger promotional push), for they were not only excellent musicians, but Adrian was already a mature and versatile songwriter, very good singer and absolute brilliant guitarrist. His guitar shines all over the album with his tasteful licks and solos. More important, he was not the kind of guy to overplay, much on the contraty, he used his vast talent to enhance the songs, not to show that he clould play a thousand notes per minute.

There are no fillers, all songs are good and the production was also top notch for the time. Curiously enough, the songs are credit to Adrian Curtis (his middle name. He would use his surname Gurvitz soon after this release)

If you like bands in the vein of Cactus, Grand Funk, Thin Lizzy, Cream, Mountain, etc. you cannot miss this one. Iīm really glad that ginger Baker rescued them from obscurity when he asked them to start a new group together. It would be a waste of talent to see those guys fade away without a chance. This is not really a prog gem (there is very little prog here in fact, if any), but there is little doubt Mahesha is a blues/rock lost gem. For those who enjoy the style, this is a must have. So, 3,5 stars in the end for PA.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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