THIS much-anticipated set was released in 2012 and
contains 40 of Jeff's unreleased songs from the 70s. All of the songs
have been previously reviewed on this site in the Solo
Sessions pages. While most of them feature Jeff alone in
the studio, there are several which were recorded by the band as demos
and possible single or album releases.
The double-CD package has, like its predecessors,
received much airplay and favourable reviews (see below).
1. Sweet Jemima
2. Rain Or Shine
3. Mr Big Shot
4. Witness For The Prosecution
5. Better Days
6. Little Miss America
8. Politician Man
10. Fantasy World
12. Long Grass
13. When I Was Young
15. Living Is Giving
16. Troubled Times
17. One Way Ticket
20. Melancholy Man
1. Cannery Row
4. From Hero To Zero
5. It Can't Happen To Me
6. Part Of My Life
7. Heaven Knows
9. All The Kings Horses
11. I Said She Said
13. Set Yourself Free
14. Wild Grows The Heather
15. Programmed To Receive
16. Movin On
19. Life On Earth
20. American Boys
IF there was any justice in the music world, singer-songwriter
Jeff Christie would be a huge name. Best known for heading up the
1970s pop band Christie, Jeff and his bandmates in Christie are remembered
in a 2012 double CD set from Angel Air Records, entitled No
Turn Unstoned. Compiled by Jeff and put together in his studio,
the 40-track set compiles a number of Christie tracks and serves as
a fine introduction to the band as well as being a great collectible
for long-time Christie fans. No Turn Unstoned
is a fine companion release to the 2008 Christie double CD
set, also released by Angel Air, entitled Floored
HAVING a hit single is a blessing and a curse. On the positive
side, you get lucky enough to have a song that's really, really popular
and sticks in people's minds and -if you're lucky - you even make
some money. But on the negative side, if you don't follow it up with
plenty of other hit singles, you end up being known for one single
song and little else. In the early 1970s Great Britain's Jeff Christie
was one of the lucky ones.
by his band Christie was one of the biggest hits of its time ... making
its way to the number one slot in 26 countries. Jeff and his band
were able to ride the wave of popularity for a few more years even
though they never had much success with any of their follow-up singles.
In 1975 the band split up, and that was the end of Christie.
But eventually Jeff decided to pick up the
ball and continue running, which brings us to the present day. Jeff
is now playing and recording with a new version of the band. Not long
ago he began ploughing through tons of demos and rough recordings
and decided there was enough valid material to release this double
In many cases issues of unreleased material
like this can be a disappointing affair. But this is not one of those
cases. Yes, some songs are better than others ... but there are so
many fantastic little gems here that they make this set more than
worth your while.
If you appreciated the two Pete Ham CDs that
were issued after his death, there's a good chance you'll go ape over
these songs. You do have to use your imagination a bit on some tunes
to realise what they could have been ... but that's no big deal at
The first disc in particular offers some really
great songs that have stood the test of time. The songs on the humorously-titled
No Turn Unstoned were recorded during
a particularly prolific period in Jeff's life and they seem to capture
truly credible inspiration. Songs that really stick in our minds here
are Rain or Shine, Little Miss America, Better
Days, Fairytale, Steamroller, and Breakaway.
Hopefully this release will make folks aware of how much Jeff has
to offer than one hit tune. Top pick.
the bottom of a pot at the rainbow's end uncovers a treasure trove
of unreleased nuggets. The Yellow River
fans should apply with no reservations. Jeff Christie's aficionados
must have spent some time on his site poring over the Solo
Sessions section. After all, his classic band's output is rather
limited while consistent, so there surely was more in the veteran's
Christie allowed a generous peek into it
on the Floored Masters - Past Imperfect
set but now undertook an almost thorough work to turn up no less than
40 songs. "Almost" means the archives haven't been emptied,
which is good because these two discs have a lasting value bordering
The pieces' quality differs sonic and tune-wise,
some being demos, of which 1973's rhythm-and-bluesy Witness
For The Prosecution is the crunchiest, acoustic Programmed
To Receive from 1981 the most intense, and Politician
Man the most serious in its country rock jive, and some getting
too close to the inspiration source: slide guitar-driven Steamroller
to Elvis' rockabilly boogie, a romance I
Said She Said to Besame Mucho.
Yet Mailman brilliantly updates Please
Mr. Postman and The Rolling Stones-quoting Cannery
Row from later in the '70s goes beyond the pastiche with its
row of catchy tunes canned into one song. It's equally impossible
not to go with the extremely raw, if compelling, harmonica-hued Solitude,
the infectious glam of Abilene, or easy,
piano-supported flow of Fantasy World.
Elsewhere, Wild Grows
The Heather swells up in the mood to orchestral proportions,
and the highly charged It Can't Happen To Me
has a nice rhythmic undertow to its Wild West imagery but gets carried
away with a My Sweet Lord brush. Still,
the best are the tracks where Christie's Spanish guitar sweeps over
electric drive like it does in the arresting buleria-shaped Melancholy
Man, which houses a nice riff to boot, or even takes over as
in the wistful, trumpet-wielding flamenco Heaven
Knows and breezy ballad All The King's
Completely different is taut Life
On Earth, showing how well Jeff Christie could have fitted
the '80s if he only wanted to chase the charts again. Apparently,
he didn't: a cruel act in his fans' eyes that, with No
Stone Unturned, will go all dewy.
let it rock website (dimitry epstein)
AT the beginning 70s Christie had a world-hit with Yellow
River in 26 countries.
Bandleader Jeff Christie is still active and
now he has looked in his archives and found enough pop material for
a double CD. The sound quality varies just as the quality of the songs,
but there are also a lot of pearls- and also the stylistic spectrum
From the acoustic Programmed
To Receive (1981) to the Elvis-like rockabilly Steamroller
or the country-rocker Politician Man
up to the heart-melt ballad I Said She Said
or Abilene with glam-character
many genres are included. In Cannery Row,
Christie finds inspiration by the Stones, and in addition he is also
be an impressive Spanish-guitar player.
Snap at the chance, this CD set is recommended.
Good Times Magazine
YELLOW River was a monster hit for
Jeff Christie. This compilation shows us a different Jeff Christie,
who's displaying a broad variety of fine tunes. From pop to rock,
it's all there.
As a band Christie scored on the continent
and Jeff's songs caught the atention of artists such as Quicksilver,
Leapy Lee and even the US super band REM.
Some other songs, including
San Bernadino and Iron
Horse, had a big hit potential and their debut album
spent no less than 10 weeks in the US charts. At the time Christie
was the British answer to the American Creedence Clearwater Revival.
On this double CD we get a good 40 songs that
Jeff himself wrote in the early seventies and which he now found the
much needed time to put on a CD release.
The first CD has some nice moments including
Hollywood, Living Is Giving, Solitude,
and especially One Way Ticket, that evokes
memories of other sixties and seventies bands. Two highlights are
Abilene and the closing track Melancholy
Man, which firmly rocks as it should. A totally different Christie
from the previous numbers.
CD2 starts with the handsome
Cannery Row which waw waw pedals away under the dust. With
Wild Grows The Heather and Movin
'On, with strong drum part, we see the highlights of this second
In summary, No Turn
Unstoned is a nice collection of nice pop tunes but they are
not really close to their big brother Yellow
Christie are still touring around the world
and successfully. Especially in the US and in Europe, they can always
count on a full house.
Keys and Chords website
SO this is Christie, whose bandleader Jeff
Christie scored the prestigious Ivor Novello award, amongst others,
for his 70's chart-topper Yellow River.
Other hits from Christie's repertoire include San
Bernadino and Iron Horse.
None of these goldies make an appearance on
this two-disc compilation, but nonetheless, there's a good few gems
to be discovered here.
Songwriter and musician Christie was born
in 1946 into a musical family, where artists like Bing Crosby got
played a lot. As a boy, Christie was equally mesmerised by the musicians
who played on the bandstand in the local park. During his rebellious
adolescence, he refused to conform in any way and - disenchanted with
the classical fare he learned at school - started to compose his own
little pieces on the piano. Christie's musical odyssey really began
when, after abandoning an initial desire to learn flamenco guitar,
he discovered rock 'n' roll!
After various outfits he eventually formed
Christie, the band baptised after his own name. Although they became
known as England's answer to Creedence Clearwater Revival, most songs
on No Turn Unstoned (brilliant title!)
tend to steer more towards pop rock, as opposed to US West Coast rock.
Each disc boasts 20 tracks, so for Christie
novices there's plenty to get acquainted with! CD1 in particular has
interesting stuff to offer, one being Rain Or
Shine - one of those catchy tunes that penetrate your brain
like it or loathe it. Little Miss America
displays a decidedly rockier note, with a distinctive 'tail end of
the 60's' feel.
in contrast, is incredibly timeless, albeit not due to its musical
arrangement. The timelessness here lies in the spot-on lyrics, namely
about all the bullshit that politicians bestow upon us: "There's
a movement to the right, there's a movement to the left, and the one
in the middle has no legislation. Vote for ME
!" The integration
of skiffle adds to this 'song for the people' output.
We're getting almost the opposite on Hollywood;
a homage to the Golden Screen era and some of its stars such as Fred
Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
One of the nicest songs on Disc 1 is Long
Grass, a country-tinged composition with some harmonica in
the chorus. It's a musical recollection of past road trips and travels,
but it's also a love song ("Oh don't leave me with just a memory").
The mellow Living Is
Giving and also Troubled Times
are well known melodies and I'm certain I've heard them on and off
on Radio Gold FM, and with One Way Ticket
we get a great yet unexpected slice of honky tonk, plus some dynamic
Curious but ultimately captivating is Steamroller,
a hotchpotch with nods to Creedence and early Doors. A little psychedelic
string work, a little Hawaiian guitar
take my word for it: it's
pacy and it sparks!
Closing track Abilene
does indeed resemble 70's West Coast rock, with some groovy chords
and exuding that 'screw conformity and let's rock out' vibe.
On CD2, it's opener Cannery
Row that swoons thanks to Jeff's harmonica. A catchy rhythm
and matching chorus continue on the nicely flowing pop-rock number
It Can't Happen To Me.
I'm sure that Part Of
My Life was penned with the best of intentions, but even the
best of intentions can't save this from dripping with schmaltz, especially
the refrain "
and when I lost you I was empty, God knows
how I cried". It's not an upper by any stretch of the imagination.
Mind you, it gets worse with Loser.
While totally alright musically speaking, it's the cringeworthy lyrics
that I have a problem with: "Loser, when are you gonna start
winning / when are you gonna start grinning / you will always be a
loser / you could never be a chooser / but you will always be my friend".
Words fail me, though obviously they didn't fail Jeff Christie
Thankfully, things are on the up again with
folky-pop-rock arrangement All The Kings Horses
(a favourite title for many a ditty, or so it would seem), and get
better still with Set Yourself Free and
I Said She Said - the latter strongly
in the vein of Scott Walker.
Programmed To Receive
starts out in a sedate Neil Young-guitar style, only to progress
into choppier chords soon after. A pop ballad in the traditional sense
is Anastasia - a very safe affair to
be honest, but it makes for some relaxed easy listening if that's
the mood you're in.
Finally, American Boys
brags with "Gonna take you, gonna shake you" though there
ain't exactly a lot of shaking going on. With its slight Supertramp
feel, the track scores plus points thanks to the participation of
T.Rex drummer Paul Fenton, who played with Christie before he relocated
to Bolan's camp.
Apart from two tracks on Disc 2, all songs
were unfinished demos and outtakes initially not intended for public
consumption. But now they are, so hey - go on and enjoy!