Orang-Utan: (same) 1970, Bell Records


The group Orang-Utan consisted of an amalgamation of talent. The best musicians from several other notable dissolving bands, that had been playing in the North of London in the late 60s, were to be the contributors in combination. The story behind this group is just as interesting as the music they played itself. This group of musicians recorded their album’s worth of material at what was then a 16 track “state of the art” studio facility in London. For somewhat unique and intriguing starters, this British band’s only s/t album was released on the US Bell Records label in 1970.

The odd thing about the whole thing being that until the group found out quite by accident, they had zero knowledge of their own release! Adrian Miller was the person that claimed the producer’s title on the Bell album release in the United States. Unfortunately, he was also the person responsible for stealing this material from the musicians and getting it released without the group’s consent or knowledge. Adrian even secretly convinced the group’s unsuspecting manager at the time, to suggest to the band to change their name to Orang-Utan. At the time the band were still going by their original name “Hunter” which they had taken from the famous Albert King song. It’s a real shame that it all went down this way in the history books because this group really showed promise. Had they been managed with any real degree of integrity & professionalism, they quite possibly would have went on to do bigger & better things as a group. The music itself consists of well played and diversely crafted heavy guitar oriented rock. It is not of a Psychedelic nature, or Acid Rock based as some have claimed. There was only one member that even smoked hash regularly. Several of the songs are nothing short of brilliant and serve to show what incredible talent these young 19-20 year old musicians possessed. Most all of the music was written and composed by Jeff Seopardie who was the drummer, with the majority of the guitar & bass riffs being developed and played by Mick Clarke & Paul Roberts respectively. There actually was a second guitarist that played on the album, but unfortunately he was sacked for personal reasons right after the material was recorded. Therefore with so little actual band member involvement within the album’s US release, he was lost to obscurity and never credited. Although, I do know his first name to have been Sid. Another large added benefit to the group’s impressive efforts are the powerful and well suited vocals. For having such a seriously strong singing voice with excellent pitch, the vocalist Nobby Clark (NOT to be confused with the vocalist from the Bay City Rollers with the same name!) only had one lung! It certainly didn’t stop him belting out his excellent & energetic voice like the best of the other vocalists that he was in league with at the time. Nobby was actually the second vocalist for the band & demos do indeed exist from the band line up that proceeded him.

I have to comment on this remarkable group and their case history in retrospect: It’s pretty damn sad that after having paid for the then “State of The Art” recorded studio time that went into making up their excellent early Heavy Rock album, with zero credit whatsoever at the time and now having several subsequent CD reissues since, that these same actual band members of which some are still active musicians today, have yet to receive a single cent for all their early stellar hard work!

35 Comments

  • FYI – Jeff Seopardie was later in Pacific Eardrum & Gary Boyle’s post-Isotope jazz-funk fusion band…

  • Cheers for that. The second guitarist was Sid Fairman. He wasnt sacked though. When the LP was released, we realised we had been screwed and the band just folded.

  • The vocalist is Terry Clark, formerly of UK Psych legends Jason Crest.

  • It should be noted that this LP was
    only released in the USA. Never had
    a UK release on vinyl to date. Seems
    odd since the band was british.
    great album though.

  • I have a small record/CD store and this came in the door from a used collection…one of those diamond in the rough moments. I’ll send a few bucks so they can finally get some royalties. Who can I mail it to?

  • Hi, I am the Sid Fairman who played on the Orangutan album. My thanks to Paul Roberts, the Orangutan bass player, for pointing out that I wasn’t sacked! Hi Paul, I hope that you’re well and in good health. Be lucky, cheers Sid

  • diz iz not gud m8….i fought it wz gonna be a sung not sum kinda story i dun want dude ok….i want a song or poem for my homework..ok im neva eva cumin 2 diz website agen diz website stink……..
    P.S- like uu!!”!”!
    dun boooda emailin me bak m8 right ooo ill tell ma rich daddy…ill only cum if itz a poem or a sing…not a story….by da way i can tell ma dad beacuse my dady is a police….

  • Wotcha Sid – Nice to hear from you.All well with me, and you too, I hope. Have you seen on the internet that the original vocalist has ended up as a professional Rod Stewart impersonator!!!. Funny old world, innit? Regards, Paul Roberts

  • Hiya Paul, and nice to hear from you to. What you up to now, are you still playing? Still living in London? I spend quite a bit of time in mallorca now, which is great. I emailed Mick Clarke a week or two ago but as yet no reply. I’ll let you know if he ever answers. Be good, cheers Sid

  • Hi Sid. Im on the Other Sunny Island – the Isle of Wight!!!.Got 4 guitars, but not playing now.Still doing your Paul Kossoff impression?!.Good luck with contacting Mick – when’s the Reunion Tour?. Cheers Paul

  • Paul, from what I remember, the last time I was there, the Isle of Wight is a good place to live. I’ve still got a few guitars myself, and I did come out of ‘retirrment’ a few years go to do a gig with a few mates of mine who have their own band. Bloody hard work but good fun. The Paul K impression is no more I’m afraid, I expect I could resurrect it if I had too though. No word from Mike yet but a reunion tour? Now there’s a thought!!

  • Hi Sid & Paul, Hope all’s well. Paul, if you read this I wrote back to Sid, so, maybe if you would either leave an email address here or drop me a line through my myspace.com/mickclarke website. Let’s keep in touch, and I’d like to find out the whereabouts of Jeff as well as Nobby and contact them too. Cheers! Mick

  • Hi Mick, really plaesed that the weblink worked ok. Hiya Paul, trust that you are well. I’ll try and find out what Jeff and Nobby are up to and let you know. If you guys know any info before me then please let me know. Take good care, cheers Sid.

  • Hi Sid, Mick, Paul
    Well, well, well…I do not f****** believe it! I stumbled across this website and my jaw hit the deck. It’s good to know you are all still drawing breath. I would love to contact you all and catch up with whats happening for you guys. Some interesting comments from the author about the album eh? Best regards Jeff

  • Hi Jeff, great to hear from you, and getting in touch with Mick and Paul has been great to. Somebody actually told me about this website and said I should check it out, how right they were. Yeh, very interesting comments from the author, there is a lot of info on the album on the internet (mostly good). About time we were paid for it eh!
    Last time I saw you, you we’re living in Geneva and playing with Judith Durham I think. When you get the time let us know what you’re up to now….I don’t suppose Led Zep are looking for a support band for their O2 concert? nah, I thought not. Be good, regards, Sid

  • Sid, great to hear from you, I can’t write my email address here for obvious reasons so would you contact me on Myspace and I’ll fill you in with whats happening regarding the album. How did you know about the Judith Durham tour, did you come to a gig? Anyway I’m back in the UK now, (shit) so when you get a mo’ do the myspace thing. Here’s the url Laters Jeff
    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=247286154

  • A short message to the author of the above piece, I would love to know where on earth you got all the info on the band and album! It’s mainly due to your review above that has set the wheels in motion to try and recover any monies due to the band, for this I (we) owe you a debt of gratitude, so Thanks mate!
    Best wishes and every success with the site
    Jeff Seopardi

  • Hiya peeps,Great to hear from you Jeff – Ive done the Myspace thing, Speak to you soon. I agree – that was a really good piece about us – How many people know we were called Hunter??? I always thought that it must have been written by one of us!. I must add my thanks as well for helping us all get in contact with each other. Regards, Paul

  • Just talked to you Paul, now we’re all in some kind of communication, and it’s time we found Terry Clarke, (Nobby) so let’s get busy and track him down…..Let’s just talk amongst ourselves rather than here…….. Mick

  • This was a truly great band and it’s about time they reaped the benefits! The album has been in heavy rotation for years in my collection, I can only hope for a reunion and wish for some new tunes,
    and if they reissue on their own label and get paid for it finally, I will buy it again.Gladly.

  • Jeff Seopardie is a loser and was recently done up for child molestation

  • Thanks James, good to know that there is support for us out there. If we could find the original tapes we would re release the album.

    Again thanks for your support.

    Jeff

    Ps. The comment above was posted by an American mate with a rather sick sense of humour and I will be issuing a slap for that!

  • Deepest apologies to Jeff and evry1 – the rest of my text somehow didn’t make it though (seriously!).

    It said:

  • you guys rock!!!!! BUT CHECK OUT Sir Lord Baltimore, was it? not without Sir Lord Baltimore!Artist: Sir Lord Baltimore
    Album: Kingdom Come
    These Brooklyn metalheads’ debut album, Kingdom Come in 1970, is credited for the first documented use of ‘heavy metal’ to label a music genre. no ritualistic metal mog-thread may commence without them…! Hard Rain Fallin’ – from Kingdom Come, 1970 – audio only profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=138368424 – 188k

  • So whens the tour going to happen guys?
    Awesome album… Discovered it a year ago and cant get it out of my head!

  • Also were you as drug-free as the article suggests? Magic Playground really suggests otherwise…

  • Would you guys ever consider doing and Orang-Utan tour now that you are all in contact? I think it would blow people away.

  • Hi Mick, really plaesed that the weblink worked ok. Hiya Paul, trust that you are well. I’ll try and find out what Jeff and Nobby are up to and let you know. If you guys know any info before me then please let me know. Take good care, cheers Sid.

  • Big up the mono-lungers! I’m a one-lunged singer too!

  • Hi Sid.Are you my mate Sid who went to Cassland Road School?
    Those ole pictures sure look like it

  • An official reissue of the Orang-Utan album is being released by Guerssen Records out of Spain very soon.

    This is an enthusiastic tribute, but rife with inaccuracies. I myself penned the liner notes for the forthcoming release, working in collaboration with Jeff Seopardie and Mick Clarke, where as detailed of a history of the band as possible was put together.

    Hope all snatch it up when it’s in the racks!

  • Only just stumbled onto this band – WOW – just wow. The power is amazing and the recording great. Defo get it together boys, i’ll buy a ticket! You created a masterpiece!!!

  • Fantastic album! I still play tracks off it on my radio show here in South Africa to this day. Thanks for the great music, guys!

  • Orang-Utan has always been one of my favorite hard rock records that I procured in the early ’70s as a cut-out for 44 cents. Back in the day, my band TNT from Central Pennsylvania actually covered “Chocolate Piano” … and I have a live recording of us playing it circa 1974, which must have been the first Orang-Utan remake on the planet. Your story is truly a magical fairy tale … or at the time a bone-fide bad nightmare. But I’m glad the real story has finally been told and that you guys have received due accolades for your fabulous songs and pyrotechnic musicianship. Keep rockin’ … Erik Lindgren

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