Reviews Zone

Vinegar Joe: Finer Things: The Island Recordings 1972-1973 (Esoteric Recordings) 27th August 2021



4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)



Vinegar Joe. Robert Palmer. Elkie Brooks. One of the best band to come out of the UK in the 1970s and boasting two GREAT singers in Mr Palmer and Ms Brooks.

Now nicely captured on this lovely three-disc box set, delivering Vinegar Joe’s three albums for Island Records in 1972 and 1973, and their non-album singles, all remastered for the first time from the original master tapes. Each CD packaged in replica album sleeves.

The set also includes an illustrated booklet, with exclusive interviews with the band’s guitarist and arranger Pete Gage and Elkie Brooks.

Vinegar Joe was formed from the remnants of Dada, but despite a reputation for sizzling live performances, the band failed to deliver commercial success, even following 1973’s final album “Six Star General” which featured standout tracks including “Black Smoke Rising From The Calumet”, “Fine Things” and “Lady Of The Rain”.

Following the band’s demise, both Robert Palmer and Elkie Brooks became stars as solo artists, while Pete Gage became a noted producer and arranger.

CD # one gives us their self-titled album, released in 1972; the 10 album tracks and one bonus cut: “Speed Queen Of Ventura”, a b-side released in ’72.

CD # two is the album “Rock ‘N Roll Gypsies”, from ’72; 10 LP tracks plus one bonus cut, “Rock ‘N Roll Gypsies” (single version)|, the A-side of their 1972 single.

The third CD is “Six Star General”, all 10 of the LP’s original tracks, plus two bonus tracks, “long Way Round” and “Black Smoke Rising From The Calumet”, the A and B-side of the 1973 single.

A fitting reminder of what a good band this was, and how they were a triple-threat with Elkie and Robert at the front along with Pete gage in the ranks. A lot of later bands were inspired by this lot, and when you play all 34 tracks here, there is no mystery as to why.


By Steven George



1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’


Follow us for all the latest news!

This function has been disabled for Music Republic Magazine.