45 Years Ago: Humble Pie Show Off Their Diversity With Their Eponymous LP
English rockers Humble Pie could think of no better name than their own to grace their third studio album, released in July 1970. But then the so-called “supergroup” led by erstwhile Small Face Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton, formerly of the Herd, were still figuring out exactly who they were.
And why not? After all, not even a year had transpired since the release of Humble Pie’s post-mod debut, As Safe as Yesterday Is, in August 1969, and just over six months since their pastoral sophomore effort Town and Country. But such was the late ‘60s’ accelerated pace of musical evolution that one can’t really blame the still-young band from rolling with the changes.
And those changes kept right on rolling throughout that self-titled third opus, which would ultimately go down as a transitional LP bridging the span between a Humble Pie that was still a sum of its component parts (including bassist Greg Ridley and drummer Kevin Shirley), and the Humble Pie that became one and, thus, greater than the sum of its parts.
For now, though, the quartet's debut for A&M Records saw them shifting from the dreamy expanse of "Live With Me," "Sucking on the Sweet Vine" and Frampton's rather hippie-dippie "Earth and Water Song," to the unassuming country flavors of "Only a Roach" and "Theme From Skint," to the fierce and cocky hard rock of "One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba," "I'm Ready" and "Red Light Mama, Red Hot!"
Of course it was the latter direction that suited Marriott's whims and soulful rasp the best, and which Humble Pie would use to barnstorm across the Atlantic in 1971, first with their next, more focused studio effort, Rock On and then with the era-defining Performance: Rockin the Fillmore.
This tandem of LPs ultimately left the ambitious Frampton feeling too confined, creatively speaking, and pushed him out the door. Within a few years, he would attain an entirely different measure of super-stardom on his own terms.
Meanwhile, Marriott, Ridley, Shirley and new guitarist Clem Clempson simply soldiered on down their own self-appointed path of blues rock devastation, but of course they probably wouldn't have found their way there without the hybrid experiments undertaken on 1970's pivotal Humble Pie.
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