The origins of Greyhound date back to the mid-sixties when singer, Freddie Notes teamed up with London-based musicians, Earl Dunn (lead guitar), Trevor Ardley White (bass), sonny Binns (keyboards) and Danny Bowen Smith (drums), to form Freddie Notes & The Rudies. the five-piece band quickly gained a formidable reputation on the local West Indians music scene with their energetic live performances and numerous recordings under various guises, issued on labels such as Blue Cat, Pama, Downtown, Joe's and, most notably, Trojan itself.
In the autumn of 1970, they achieved moderate national chart success, when their version of Bobby Bloom's "Montego Bay" reached number 45. A popular album on Trojan (CDTRL 349) swiftly followed, but just as their future as Britain's leading Reggae group looked assured. Freddie Notes and The Rudies decided to go their separate ways, as drummer Danny Smith recollected in July 1971:
"We were known as Freddie Notes and The Rudies until Freddie left a few months ago, when we became The Rudies. Freddie left because we had different ideas over music and policy. After going out as The Rudies for a while we decided that the name was getting a bit stale and Reggae-ish, so we changed again to Greyhound."
Prior to assuming this new name, the group did in fact record the single, "Be Loving To Me" b/w "Judgement Rock" as The Tillermen, issued on the Trojan subsidiary Duke label, early in '71. By this time, Glenroy Oakley had joined their ranks as a replacement to Freddie Notes and they had been taken under the wing of Dave Bloxham, who was currently employed as Trojan's promotions manager.
With the new name came a new approach to their music and in an attempt to break away from the old image of The Rudies, Greyhound began exploring different styles. Smith later recalled:
"We had a go at some Rock & Roll at our gigs, but it didn't really work. Now we just do Reggae and Soul and we're rehearsing some Deep Purple and Sly & The Family Stone..."
Experimentation on such a scale proved a little too adventurous for much of their audiences, but just when the group's very future was being questioned, salvation came in the form of an invitation to perform at the wedding reception of Mick and Bianca Jagger:
"Trojan records received a phone call from France asking for a Reggae band to play at the wedding. We were the only ones available, so we took the next plane out. we played there for an hour and afterwards, Mick Jagger thanked us and asked us to play some more and we really enjoyed it. There was a change in audience reaction after the wedding. people began to think that we were not just another group and they had heard of us."
The publicity of the event undoubtedly assisted in raising the profile of the group and helped ensure the success of their first single as Greyhound; "Black And White" b/w "Sand In Your Shoes". The A-side had been written by Americans Dave Arkin and Earl Robinson in 1955 and was chosen for the group by Bloxham, who felt its positive lyric perfectly suited their Pop-Reggae style. Issued by Trojan in the summer of 1971, the record swiftly entered the national charts, where it peaked at number six, spending a total of 13 weeks in the top 50. The song's popularity was noted by Californian Pop-Rock outfit, Three Dog Night, whose version became a US number one the following year.
Greyhound's follow-up single, "Follow The Leader" b/w "Funky Jamaica" proved popular throughout much of Europe, but failed to make an impression in the UK and as a result, Trojan decided not to hedge their bets for the group's third release. To guage the commercial possibilities of four potential A-sides, the company pressed up a strictly limited number of blank-labelled EPs, sent to a select number of individuals in the music industry. While "High And Dry", "Love Is Blue/I Can Sing A Rainbow" and "Peace And Love" were all deemed fine efforts, by far the most popular of the tracks was the group's up-beat interpretation of Henry Mancini's "Moon River", from the film, "Breakfast At Tiffany's". In response, the song was officially released by Trojan in a picture sleeve, backed with two titles; "The Pressure Is Coming" and "I've Been Trying", and by early '72 the single had broken into the British charts, where it eventually reached the number 12 position.
The group's fortunes remained on the ascendant with the release of their debut album, "Black And White" and a third singles chart hit, "I Am What I Am" (b/w "Sky High"), which peaked at number 20 in the spring. Unfortunately, the record proved to be their last major commercial success and their penultimate 45 for Trojan. Following the release of "Floating" b/w "I Troubles", Trojan's partnership with Island came to an end and as part of the deal, Greyhound signed with the latter. The group's spell with Island proved far from fruitful and after the release of the single, "Dream Lover", they moved on to join EMI's off-shoot, Retreat. The change of label did little to revive their fading fortunes and by the time Polygram released Greyhound's second LP, "Leave The Reggae To Us" on the Transatlantic label in 1975, they were already a spent force, with Binns, White and Dunn long since departed to form the nucleus of a seven-piece band, Dansak.
Although Greyhound's recording career had been brief, in a period spanning a couple of years, they had succeeded in becoming one of the most commercially successful Reggae act of all time, with three major British chart hits to their name. These, along with the remainder of their Trojan material is featured on this CD, the basis of which is formed by their popular debut album from 1972. While the group have often been dismissed or ignored by many purists, nobody can contest the enjoyment their unique brand of Reggae brought to so many listeners around the world.