Solo albums: Very prolific saxophone player, he also plays keyboards. He was born and raised in Blackburn. Chris Mercer has played in dozens of albums. It's very common to find him in many albums from the British blues-rock scene, where he belonged. I think that Chris Mercer and Mel Collins must be the most prolific sax players I've ever found. Are you ready to start with? :)


First I know from Chris is that he joined Bluesbreakers in May 1967. John Mayall had lost his great partner Peter Green, and searched for new musicians, including the great ones Mick Taylor, Keef Hartley and Chris Mercer.

In June 1967, Mayall adds a rhyhtm guitar, Terry Edmonds. But Edmonds leaves the band that same month. They release a studio album, the superb Crusade, with covers of great blues songs, as well as several original songs.

Following that, John McVie leaves the band in August 1967 to rejoin old Mayall bandmates Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood in order to form the fantastic blues-rock band Fleetwood Mac. Rip Kant also leaves, and the new lineup in August 1967 is:

They recorded a track in September 1967, "Suspicions (part one)" included in the fantastic collection of outtakes, Thru the years, and "Suspicions (part 2)" appears in another collection of outtakes, Looking back.

Paul Williams only stayed two months, until October 1967. The bassist role was filled in a very short period with three different musicians. Keith Tillman joined until February 1968

They released two consecutive live albums, recorded in 1968, Diary of a band, vol. 1 and Diary of a band, vol. 2. These live albums are a unusual experience. They can't be considered the typical live album. They include interviews, funny parts, and long jamming around dense blues numbers. I like them, although the second volume contains more musical content. Some parts are really, really very good, although the albums never got great acclaim.

Next bassist to join, in March 1968, is the very young Andy Fraser.

But Andy Fraser only stayed till April 1968. Later he was in the succesful band Free. But this time, more changes happen. Keef Hartley leaves to lead his own Keef Hartley Band. This must be (as far as I know) the first time Mercer and Lowther played together. We'll find them together in lots of album credits, as we'll read in the sessions page.

They released Bare wires, recorded on April 1968. Another unreleased track, "Knockers step forward" appear in Thru the years.

It's interesting to note that this lineup was the seed for a great band, Colosseum (watch my Clem Clempson page for more details). Reeves, Heckstall Smith and Hiseman went to form this band when Mayall changed the lineup. Only Mick Taylor remained with Mayall. This was July 1968.

Looking back comprises 11 tracks, none of them ever available on an album. There are songs from 1964 to 1967. Another musicians from my Olympus: Hughie Flint (2 tracks), Keef Hartley (2 tracks), Aynsley Dunbar (3 tracks). And with fantastic guitar players: Eric Clapton (1 song), Peter Green (7 songs!!!), Mick Taylor (1 song).

Thru the years (originally a 2LP, including the complete Looking back LP inside), now it has been released as a 1CD, with just the tracks not yet included in Looking back. It comprises 14 tracks, none of them ever available on an album. Another musicians from my Olympus: Hughie Flint (2 tracks), Keef Hartley (1 track), Aynsley Dunbar (7 tracks). Noted appearances: Peter Green (8 songs, some of them just superb!), Mick Taylor (3 tracks), and several of the musicians who later formed Colosseum: Jon Hiseman, Tony Reeves and Dick Heckstall Smith.

My opinion about those two rarities album is that they have a very good quality. I love them!!

Further albums with unreleased material include Primal solos, with live tracks dating from 1966 till 1968, thus including several tracks from the lineups where Chris Mercer was.

Down the line is a double compilation album comprising the very first album Mayall released (called John Mayall plays John Mayall) plus another LP full of tracks from other albums. I think it must include several unreleased tracks, but I'm not sure, as I don't have this album.

In 1997, it has been released the compilation The best of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers - As it all began 64-69. It has been digitally remastered, and includes Mayall's comments on every track, from an interview. In my own opinion, the selection is quite good, and includes some songs not available on albums. Chris Mercer plays in 4 tracks: "The death of J.B. Lenoir" (from Crusade), "Me and my woman" (also from Crusade), "Suspicions (part one)" (from Thru the years) and the live song "Start walkin'" (from Primal Solos, recorded at Falmer College, Brighton England, 25th May 1968).


Wynder K. Frog was the pseudonym for great keyboardist Mick Weaver.

He assembled a band under his own pseudonym, with a great lineup:

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)



Out of the frying pan is their second album, with a funny cover. Guesting here, some Chris Mercer old companions: the horn section from John Mayall: Dick Heckstall Smith and Henry Lowther. I love this album. It includes covers from Rolling Stones ('Jumpin' Jack Flash') and several known songs, plus some others written by Mick.

Into the fire is their third solo album, and here we find the great Shawn Phillips guesting on guitar and vocals.

When they split, the main core went to Grease Band (Mick, Neil, Alan and Bruce), while Rebop later reappeared in Traffic, and Chris's next step was...


And then, in 1969, Chris Mercer joins for a very short stint in this revamped band (they had split in 1966), whose leader was steel guitarist Glen 'Ross' Campbell.

They only recorded a single that same year, with the help of Chris' friend Neil Hubbard on guitar. These tracks appear in the compilation Golden glass.


Owen, Campbell and Chris Mercer form Juicy Lucy in 1969, rejoining Chris' former companion, Neil Hubbard.

They released a self titled first album, Juicy Lucy, containing a great version of Bo Diddley's song "Who do you love" (covered by many groups. Now I remember a great rendition from the magnificent Quicksilver Messenger Service). With help from some other musicians, like Loughty Amao (percussion, from Osibisa), Bodo Schopf (percussion), Remi Kabaka (percussion). The band also appears in the rock movie "Supersession".

After a few months, Ray Owen leaves the band, being substituted by Paul Williams.

But changes will continue in the band. Pete Dobson and the great Neil Hubbard also left them, and for a short period, he's replaced by a superb keyboardist, Tommy Eyre.

(click here to get a bigger image, 57 Kbs.)
(from left to right: Keith Ellis, Chris Mercer, Paul Williams, Tommy Eyre, Rod Coombes and Glenn 'Ross' Campbell (on the floor))

But Eyre leaves soon, being replaced by another great musician, Micky Moody.

In June 1970, this lineup recorded their second album, Lie back and enjoy it.

The band was chosen by Record Mirror magazine in their polls as 'most promising singer/band' as #4 (ahead of, for example, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Black Sabbath!).

New changes again for their third album, Get a whiff of this:

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

And around July 1971, Chris Mercer left the band, although they continued with a new lineup. Ah, by the way, they have reformed in 1996 again, with Micky Moody commanding the band. No, Chris Mercer is not involved this time.

The compilation Who do you love - the best of Juicy Lucy includes some unreleased tracks.


(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

Oh, this is hard to track! Gonzalez was a British band, formed around 1971, whose members weren't a stable lineup. The lineup could include from 10 up to 30 musicians. As Chris has told me, Mick Eve was the leader, and Chris himself was co-leader. Carl Douglas was one of the first singers in the band, prior to enter the studio. When they were ready to record their first album, the main core of the band consisted of:

They released his first, self-titled Gonzalez album in 1974, with this lineup.

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

Their second album, Our only weapon is our music, was recorded by:

Finally there's some Gonzalez album released on CD. There's a 2in1 CD containing the 1st and the 2nd albums (that is, Gonzalez (1974) and Our only weapon is our music (1975)). It's a release from June 1998 in the label SFM (See For Miles).

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

The third album, Shipwrecked, features this lineup:

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

For some reason, it seems that Haven't stopped dancin', released in 1979, is a reissue of Shipwrecked (released in 1977).

In their fifth album, Move it to the music, there are new changes:

By the way, drummer Sergio Castillo was several years backing a Spanish singer, Miguel Rios (with Thjis Van Leer, from Focus, in the same lineup!).

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

Their last album was Watch your step, but I don't know the lineup, as I don't have it. Help, please!

Without any human form to include here all their members, they continued playing together, in their own albums as Gonzalez, as well as in many other albums by different artists, until 1986, when founder member Roy Davies died.

Some others members who played in Gonzalez are:

Bobby Tench and Max Middleton also used to play live with them from time to time in the 70s. They were a happy family, weren't they? :)


Great keyboardist, he'll have his own page in my Olympus. He had a band called Olympic Runners with some musicians who were part of Gonzalez band. Around 1975, his band comprised these members:


This band was formed by vocalist Elmer Gantry around 1975. But in 1976, they change the lineup, adding two members for a horn section in live concerts. This horn section consisted of Chris Mercer and Bud Beadle, both from Gonzalez.

They released the album Forget the past (1978, Hot Wax), with Kirby (guitar), Steve Emery (bass), John Cook (keyboards) and Nicko McBrain (drums), plus Fran Byrne (drums) and Chris Mercer (sax).


Chris Mercer joined Chris Farlowe's band for a short tour in November and December 1975. Farlowe has a very long career (Atomic Rooster, his own bands: The Thunderbirds, The Hill), being the band Colosseum his most famous episode (watch my Clem Clempson page for more details).

(scan courtesy of Alex Gitlin)

They released in 1976 the live album The Chris Farlowe Band live.


During a hiatus in Roxy Music, Bryan assembled a big live band for promoting his latest album. Chris Mercer was recruited there, as he had been playing regularly in Bryan studio albums, as we can check in the sessions page.

The tour lasted from January 1977 to July 1977, although some concerts were made without the backing vocal section.





Frankie Miller is a great Scottish singer. I'll speak a bit more about him in my forthcoming page about Clive Bunker. In February 1978, he formed a new band with this superb lineup:

After a month, Micky Moody was replaced in March 1978 by another incredible player, Ray Russell: They released an album, Double trouble, as well as toured in March 1978. But in May 1978, a new lineup started another tour: But, by September 1978, Frankie Miller carried on with a completely different lineup (see my forthcoming pages on Steve Simpson for more details).
Click for short, additional info on bandmates:
Martin Drover
Paul Carrack
Someday, these musicians will be fully covered here:
Chrissie Stewart
Ray Russell
B.J. Wilson
Someday, these musicians will have a short tribute here:
Frankie Miller


Chris' current band for the last ten years in Oregon has been Pin and the Horn-Its, a ten piece R&B band based in Portland. They usually play in some of the big blues festivals out here. They have released a CD, as well as appearing in the collective live album 1993 Portland Waterfront Blues Festival (check out the sessions page).

Larry 'Pin' Pindar (guitar, vocals)
Mike Cross (vocals, guitar)
Chris Giunta (bass)
Larry Dean (keyboards, vocals)
Rick Rier (trumpet, trombone)
Steve Cannon (trumpet)
Dave Mills (trumpet)
Chris Mercer (sax)
John Granger (sax)
Brad Ulrich (sax)

Mike Klobas (drums)

Their album, Stinging the blues, contains mostly covers (by Curtis Mayfield, Willie Dixon, Earl King, B.B. King, etc.), plus one original song, 'Old friends'.


Still a member of Pin & The Horn-Its, Chris also makes some substitutions in this band. Chris and Lily had already worked together in the early 80s. Lily is a very talented singer, and her orchestra is fantastic.

Lily Wilde (vocals)
Michael Gargano (guitar)
Joey Seifers (bass) or Willy Barber (bass)
Bill Beach (keyboards)
Bryan Dickerson (sax)
Danny Schauffer (sax)
Pete Petersen (sax)
Mike Kelly (sax)

Chris Mercer (sax)
Gavin Bondy (trumpet)
Chris Schell (trumpet)
Brett White (trumpet)
Stan Bock (trombone)
Lew Chapman (trombone)
Monte Skillings (trombone)
Tom Royer (drums)

They have just released a superb album, Insect ball. This is not blues or rock, but swing at its best! An absolute delight! I've always loved those old jazz records by big bands and orchestras (Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey). In the album, Chris acts as co-producer, arranger and also plays in some songs ('Insect ball', 'Till my baby comes back', 'Go ahead and rock', 'Work baby work', and a fantastic rendition of 'Stormy weather').


Although it's not a known fact, Chris has a solo album. It's called Anglo-sax man. Some of the players that appear with Chris are:

The album was recorded in London in 1974, and mixed in L.A, but apparently it remained unreleased until 1977.


Press here to read about Chris Mercer sessions

Links related

From the always interesting Alex's Picks (by Alex Gitlin), we have: From the superb site Knights in Blue Denim: The British Blues Scene '68 - '70 (by Christer Fridhammar & Vanja), we have:
Musicians mentioned in this page that I have projected to cover in my site someday: And short tributes to:

Family tree

Coming soon (I hope so!).

Thanks section

Very special thanks to: Chris Mercer, for his help, kindness ... and for his music. Also to Oliver Mercer, for being so kind (like father, like son).

If some of his old companions read this page, you can contact him directly at

Thanks to: Alex Gitlin for so many scans, as well for info, support, albums, and many other things; Boris Shnitzer for the 'Crusade' album, as well as for invaluable help here :).


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Page created by Miguel Terol on: 06/February/1998. Last modified on: 21/December/2001. 1