Chicken Shack Biography

Chicken Shack was the product of eccentric guitarist Stan Webb, veteran of several R&B outfits including the Blue 4, Sound Five and the Shades Of Blue. The latter, active between 1964 and 1965, included Webb, Christine Perfect (Christine Anne Perfect, 12 July 1943, Greenodd, Cumbria, England; piano/vocals) and Andy Silvester (bass), as well as future Traffic saxophonist Chris Wood. Webb and Silvester formed the core of the original Chicken Shack, who enjoyed a long residency at Hamburg’s famed Star Club before returning to England in 1967. Perfect then rejoined the line-up which was augmented by several drummers until the arrival of Londoner Dave Bidwell. Producer Mike Vernon then signed the quartet to his Blue Horizon Records label. Forty Blue Fingers Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve was a fine balance between original songs and material by John Lee Hooker and Freddie King, to whom Webb was stylistically indebted. OK Ken? emphasized the guitarist’s own compositions, as well as his irreverence, as he introduces each track by impersonating well-known personalities, including UK disc jockey John Peel, ex-Prime Minister Harold Wilson and UK comedian Kenneth Williams. The quartet also enjoyed two minor hit singles with ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ and ‘Tears In The Wind’, the former of which featured a particularly moving vocal from Perfect, who then left for a solo career (later as Christine McVie). Her replacement was Paul Raymond from Plastic Penny.

Ensuing releases, 100 Ton Chicken and Accept!, lacked the appeal of their predecessors and their heavier perspective caused a rift with Vernon, who dropped the band from his blues label. Friction within the line-up resulted in the departure of Raymond and Bidwell for Savoy Brown, a band Silvester later joined. Webb reassembled Chicken Shack with John Glascock (b. 1951, London, England, d. 17 November 1979; bass) and Paul Hancox (drums) and embarked on a period of frenetic live work. They completed the disappointing Imagination Lady before Bob Daisley replaced Glascock, but the trio broke up, exhausted, in May 1973, having completed Unlucky Boy. The guitarist established a completely new line-up for Goodbye Chicken Shack, before dissolving the band in order to join the ubiquitous Savoy Brown for a US tour and the Boogie Brothers album. Webb then formed Broken Glass and the Stan Webb Band, but he has also resurrected Chicken Shack on several occasions, notably between 1977 and 1979 and 1980 and 1982, in order to take advantage of the band’s continued popularity on the European continent, which, if not translated into record sales, assures this instinctive virtuoso a lasting career. Stan ‘The Man’ Webb continues to delight small club audiences with his latest incarnation of Chicken Shack.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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