"BELOW THE BELT"
1975 (Released January 1976)
Virgin Records B2049 (UK)
Produced by Boxer and Richard Digby-Smith
|SIDE A||SIDE B|
|SHOOTING STAR (Patto/Halsall)||WAITING FOR A MIRACLE (Halsall)|
|ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (Halsall)||LOONI ALI (Patto/Halsall)|
|CALIFORNIA CALLING (Patto/Halsall)||SAVE ME (Patto)|
|HIP KISS (Patto/Halsall/Ellis/Newman)||GONNA WORK OUT FINE (Patto/Halsall)|
|MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE (Patto)||TOWN DRUNK (Stamp/Avery)|
Patto - vocals and keyboards
Ollie Halsall - guitar and keyboards
Keith Ellis - bass guitar
Tony Newman - drums
titles published by Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd except for TOWN DRUNK
published by Cookaway/Gas Songs and WAITING FOR A MIRACLE published by
|Album cover design and concept: Nigel Thomas||Photography: Alex Henderson|
|Graphics: Richard Evans||Model: Stephanie Mariann|
Recorded at The Manor under especially
|Engineer: Richard Digby-Smith|
|Assistant Engineers: Steve Cox and Steve Cater|
"Below The Belt" established that Boxer would be a straight-ahead rock band. Ollie and Mike were writing together again, but the new music did not hark back to the days of Patto (you may notice that "Shooting Star" has a chord progression that was also used in "Time To Die" on Patto's first album, though).
According to the host for the BBC session the band did prior to the album's release, it was originally going to be titled "Round 1" or "Round One".
Their first album was produced and engineered by Richard Digby-Smith, an engineer for Patto's "Hold Your Fire" and "Roll 'Em Smoke 'Em..." albums. Overall, the production gives the band a good, full sound, but as with many bands, it's been said that the album failed to capture their impressive live sound.
All of the band's members were great players, but showcasing of their soloing capabilities was kept to a minimum, which shows that Mike and Ollie were more focused on the songwriting than the extended guitar/keyboard solos that were typical of the early to mid-seventies. In fact, the "All The Time In The World" single does not feature any soloing at all.
For the guitar fans, there is still plenty of great guitar from Ollie. The slide work in "California Calling", the tasteful solo in "More Than Meets The Eye", the volume/echo bits in "Gonna Work Out Fine", and Ollie singing along with his guitar on "Save Me" are a few of the moments that come to mind
The album contains some great tunes. "California Calling", "More Than Meets The Eye", "Waiting For A Miracle", and "Save Me" are my personal favorites. "Waiting For A Miracle" is a great remake of Ollie's tune from the Tempest "Living In Fear" album (1974). "Town Drunk" is a slow, bluesy tune that features a great vocal from Mike -- it was written by Terry Stamp and Jim Avery for Terry's "Fatsticks" album (1975), on which both Ollie and Tony Newman played..
Unfortunately, the album cover received more attention than the music. It featured a model named Stephanie Mariann. The first pressings of the album had a full-frontal nude photo on the back cover, which caused the jacket to be banned. The cover was redone covering her lower private bits with a Boxer logo. The original uncensored covers are supposed to be quite rare. Of course, in the United States, they wouldn't allow even her breasts to be shown, so they completely redid the cover using the band photo from the inside of the UK gatefold cover.
Click here to read Ira Robbin's review from the April/May 1976 issue of Trouser Press. Not extremely favorable, but at least they included a nearly-focused live photo.
Click on Mike's boxing glove to see an unobstructed view of the cover.
The album was reissued on CD in 1997 by Virgin Records (Cat. # CDV2049). It was reissued on CD in 2012 by Esoteric Recordings (ECLEC2341), including the "Don't Wait" single B-side and expanded liner notes.
|Record label from the 1st UK pressing.|
|Records labels from the stock and promo US pressings.|
|The US album cover. Check out the promo insert that came with the US promo copy.|
|The US promotional LP has a gold "Demonstration Not For Sale" stamp and a Suggested Cuts sticker on the back of the album cover.|
"All The Time In The World"/"Don't Wait" UK single
Virgin, Cat. # VS 135. Great non-LP B-side.
|An extremely rare 12-inch promo version of the "All The Time In The World"/"Don't Wait" single (Virgin #VDJ-12).|
|"All The Time In The
World" mono/stereo US promo single, Virgin ZS8 9506. This
single came in a picture sleeve, the rear of which reads
"Demonstration - Not For Sale". "Save Me"
was to be the B-Side, but I've never actually seen a stock copy of the
|"All The Time In The World"/"Don't Wait" single with picture sleeve from Holland.|
|A full page ad from the February 7th, 1976 issue of New Musical Express.|
|US promotional poster.|
|Promotional sticker. Country of origin uncertain.|
[Return to Top of Page]