THE RUMOUR Max, Frogs Sprouts Clogs And Krauts + Purity Of Essence

Max (1977)
Echoes Of Another Backing Band

The Rumour’s fantastic debut was, at its core, a varied rock album that was somewhat removed from the group’s more primitive pub-rock beginnings. Outside of the confines of being Graham Parker’s back up band, The Rumour’s advanced abilities were immediately evident on Max, and not really that surprising given the many years these guys honed their craft via Brinsley Schwarz, Ducks Deluxe and Parker. The instrumentation here is full and vibrant, with a rich, rootsy interplay that drew comparisons to The Band. The horn work, background singers and solid songwriting made Max a keeper on all levels. Even the Nick Lowe-penned opening track, “Mess With Love,” is driven home by a spiky guitar style more closely associated with Robbie Robertson’s attack. This is a vinyl rip, CDs are at Amazon.

Mess With Love (3:47)
Hard Enough To Show (4:06)
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me (3:27)
Jet Plane (4:13)
Looking After No. 1 (2:49)
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (3:08)
I’m So Glad (3:15)
Face To Face (3:59)
This Town (2:45)
Something’s Goin‘ On (3:12)

Frogs Sprouts Clogs
And Krauts
New Wave Smarts

Despite the well-honed execution of Max, The Rumour made a direct stab at commerciality when they hooked up with Jake Rivera (Stiff Records) for the distinctly poppy 1979 LP, Frogs Sprouts Clogs And Krauts. While many were bemoaning The Rumour’s move away from the rootsier, Band-esque sound of Max, I was simply digging how easily they were able to pull off this switcheroo. With their collective experience, mastering the New Wave was a cinch for these guys, and they had the dexterity to add more meat to the genre than was typically expected from bands that had only been playing for a year before they garnered a contract. FSC&K is lively and imaginative, with vocals and instrumentation bouncing out from every corner, bristling with energy and exuberance. Listening, you kind of sense that the band may have felt this was a make-or-break opportunity for them. The album failed to click, however, despite the commercial touch of Nick Lowe’s obvious influence. Their next (and last) album, went virtually unnoticed after FSC&K failed to deliver any hits. This is the 2007 reissue, including bonus tracks. Amazon.

Frozen Years (3:34)
Emotional Traffic (2:46)
Tired Of Waiting (3:25)
Loving You (Is Far Too Easy) (3:22)
Euro (4:00)
Leaders (3:11)
We Believe In You/New Age (5:10)
All Fall Down (2:33)
One Good Night (2:50)
I Can’t Help Myself (2:46)
Hard Enough To Show (3:20) – Bonus Track
Frozen Years (Edited Version) (3:27) – Bonus Track
I Want To Make You Happy (3:32) (45 Issued As “The Duplicates”) – Bonus Track
Call Of The Faithful (3:08) (45 Issued As “The Duplicates”) – Bonus Track

Purity Of Essence (1980)
A Confusing Last Hurrah

When I first put this post together, I was working under the assumption that the UK and the US versions of Purity Of Essence were the same album… only, with alternate tracks and a reshuffled running order. Which is why the post features the UK version, along with a handful of tracks from the US version. It took one of our readers to set me straight. Turns out that both releases are completely different recordings altogether, which I may – or may not – have known about last century, but just didn’t bother to remember (despite owning both versions since 1980). A few of the tunes from the US version had never seen the light of day on CD – until just recently (HERE) – including, “All Boys Lie,” “Rubber Band Man” and “Depression” – an obscure Glenn Tilbrook composition never recorded by Squeeze. “Name And Number” eventually found its way onto import CDs of Purity, HERE. So this d/l is a bit of a Frankenstein in light of all this, which I’ll get around to doctoring eventually. You’ve got all the tunes, at least, just not all the versions.

My Little Red Book (3:16)
I Don’t Want The Night To End (2:31)
Have You Seen My Baby (3:57)
Falling In Love With A Dream (2:52)
Tula (3:31)
Writing In The Water (4:05)
Houston (3:23)
It’s Gonna Work Out Fine (3:55)
More Than She Will Say (3:42)
Pyramids (3:53)
That’s The Way The Ball Rolls (2:34)

All Boys Lie (2:48) – US Vinyl Version
Rubber Band Man
(4:12)US Vinyl Version
(3:05)US Vinyl Version
Name And Number
(3:00)US Vinyl Version


  • Willard
    May 26, 2011 - 08:48 | Permalink

    Sorry, we lost all our comments on recent posts.

    Search HERE

  • 96dbFreak
    May 30, 2011 - 00:37 | Permalink

    You may or may not know this, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Early in 1977 David Bowie released his album “Low”, including the song “Breaking Glass”. As a jokey response, Nick Lowe released the “Bowi” EP, (dropping the “e”, just as “Low” had dropped the “e”), including the song “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass”. Carrying on the (not very good) joke, Nick Lowe’s mates The Rumour countered Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” with “Max”.

    • Willard
      May 30, 2011 - 06:58 | Permalink

      Thanks 96. DID know that, but since we lost all our comments on this one, it’s good to have the story here. Thanks.

  • June 8, 2011 - 01:02 | Permalink

    A further clarification: There are two different versions of the song “Name And Number”. The first was recorded at the same sessions as the UK album and appeared as the b-side to the single “My Little Red Book”. The second version was recorded at the American sessions and appears on the US album. The version that appears on the Gadfly CD, which is the straight UK reissue, is the UK b-side. This is also the version that appears on import versions of the CD. The American version has never appeared on ANY CD until the recent “Purity Of Essence: The American Edition”, which I produced for Quake Records. So there you have it: None of the material on the American vinyl LP, including “Name And Number”, has ever appeared on any CD until now.

  • Willard
    June 8, 2011 - 07:28 | Permalink

    Thanks John. Sorry we lost our previous comments about this.

  • December 13, 2011 - 09:52 | Permalink

    IIRC, the back cover of Max has a small photo of the band in a Cadillac Fleetwood, too.

    • Willard
      December 13, 2011 - 10:21 | Permalink

      HA! Never caught that one.

  • scott
    April 23, 2012 - 23:05 | Permalink

    A member of The Rumour explained to me the reason for the existence of the two versions of Purity of Essence: after recording the original U.K. version for Stiff Records, when the band tried to find an American label to pick it up for U.S. release, Stiff was asking for an unreasonable amount to license the album. So it ended up being cheaper for the band to just rerecord it for its U.S. release on the Hannibal label. To confuse matters further, when Gadfly Records reissued the album on CD in America, they combined the British tapes with the American cover. To the best of my (and the band’s) knowledge, the U.S. version has never been reissued on CD or digitally. The British version is a bit more produced, whereas the U.S. edition is looser and more basic, and I think I prefer it. It’s worth noting that most record deals contain a clause forbidding the artists from rerecording material for a certain length of time, obviously that was not the case with the Rumour’s Stiff contract.

    April 26, 2012 - 15:39 | Permalink

    Such a shame that any chance “Max” had to make an impression was scuttled by the new wave/punk scene. A really fine album deserving of a better fate. Unfortunately the Rumour tried to catch on with the new wave and left their mojo behind. Those two records that followed were pretty bad.

  • KDNYfm
    April 27, 2012 - 11:44 | Permalink

    Such a shame the Rumour were as ignored as the guy they were backing up..I totally agree with the Band comment…these guys could do anything. While Bruce S was turning out his Born in the USA schlock, Graham Parker was putting out and still got no attention. But iot happened to other greats…Garland Jeffreys (whom a couple Rumour members helped out on Escape Artist)

    Thanx for sharing all these albums…I still have the vinyl, but it’s nice to be able to listen to them again!


  • taro nombei
    May 4, 2012 - 01:20 | Permalink

    What a great live band the rumour were, both on their own and with GP. But, as you say, they had all paid their dues many times over. Great to rediscover them after all these years — and to rediscover you Willard!

    • Willard
      May 4, 2012 - 02:36 | Permalink

      Good to see you, Taro.

  • Adrian
    January 30, 2013 - 05:17 | Permalink

    I was watching Chris Petit’s ‘Radio On’ on dvd last night – a fascinating, very European art cinema influenced movie in which little happens, existentially. Anyway, it has a great soundtrack including Wreckless Eric, Bowie singing in german, Kraftwerk…and The Rumour’s excellent ‘Frozen Years’, albeit too briefly. Great stuff – and of course GP and the Rumour have recently reformed to support Judd Apatow’s movie.

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