Without doubt one of the greatest, most collectable of hard rock rarities, Growers Of Mushroom – the 1971 debut album by Leaf Hound – has only gained in lustre (as well as monetary value) in the fifty-odd years since it was released – to little fanfare – on the Decca Records label. Fronted by Peter French, whose gutsy, emotive vocals were complemented by the hard rock shapes thrown by guitarist Mick Halls, Growers Of Mushroom was laid down in an eleven-hour session.
This powerful album was once feared lost amidst the avalanche of rock recordings made during the era when Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin ruled. The group broke up even before the album was released, but nevertheless, created a set of performances which deserved recognition and did indeed impress a young Malcolm Dome, who would later become a champion of hard rock and heavy metal as a top reporter and critic for Kerrang magazine, and who sadly passed away in November 2021. The legend of the album was further underscored by a feature piece written by Andy Davis for Record Collector in the early 90s, which greatly renewed interest in the band and Peter French.
Interest in the band continued to grow with French convening a new line up of Leaf Hound for the 2000s, and cut the album Unleashed (released 2007), who lined up as Luke Rayner (lead guitar), Ed Pearson (bass) and Jimmy Rowland (drums). The album picked up some terrific reviews, and French has continued to gig at home and abroad with the band.
Repertoire Records have yoked together Growers Of Mushroom and Unleashed as a smartly packaged, slipcased two CD set. Growers also features two extra tracks – ‘It’s Gonna Get Better’ and ‘Hipshaker’ to the original album.
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