Over the years several people have warned me off the sole album by British hard rockers Jerusalem, saying it was amateurish, derivative and trashy – but as I tend to think those things can be virtues in this genre, I recently picked up a copy. Reader, I like it a lot. Yes, it’s crude, dumb and heavy, and shamelessly cops licks from Hendrix and others - but its relentless riffing, tasteless guitar leads, caveman drums and over-the-top vocals / lyrics combine well with its garagey production sound, making it a definite keeper for me.
Jerusalem were discovered in their hometown of Salisbury by Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan, who signed them to his so-macho Pussy Enterprises company. Shortly after the nascent band had supported Led Zeppelin in Salisbury's City Hall (in December 1971), Gillan produced their LP in four days flat in De Lane Lea in Holborn, central London. It was released in a gatefold sleeve (with front cover artwork by lead guitarist Bob Cooke) on March 24th 1972:
This is what Gillan had to say about them on the back cover (note that he acknowledges that they are 'raw', 'crude' and 'in their formative stages'):
Here's a test pressing label:
And here are the finished articles:
In January 1972, after the album had been recorded, the quintet posed for some promo photos in the grounds of Hurdcott House, a pile outside Salisbury (the shot on the back cover was taken in the orangery there). Here are some more pictures taken that day:
The disc appeared in the UK and Germany, but no one took much notice. I have only encountered one review, which appeared in Gramophone in May, commenting that 'Jerusalem are young and very heavy, and their album should suit anyone who wants to give a sympathetic ear to the underprivileged side of the latest musical generation gap, between today's riff-sodden teenagers and their sedate, Dylan-loving elders. I find this band distinctly better than Black Sabbath, but who am I to judge?’ Sales were minuscule, despite the appearance of a couple of press ads in early April:
Nonetheless, Deram persevered long enough for them to issue a 45 a month later, coupling the excellent non-LP Kamakazi Moth with the lead-off number from the album, Frustration. The new song has a slicker, more polished and tight sound than the album, and suggests they could have gone on to great things had they had the chance. Here's the press release for the single:
And here's an ad for the 45:
Here aredemo and stock labels for the A-side, and an acetate of the B-side:
The single also appeared in a picture sleeve in Germany (reproducing the LP artwork), and - somewhat bizarrely - had an Italian release too, in this rare sleeve:
In JuneBeat Instrumental ran a piece offering the quintet's history:
By the summer of 1972, however, the dream was over. The band mutated into hard-rockers Pussy, but sadly rhythm guitarist Bill Hines died in a car accident soon afterwards. The other members are (I believe) still with us. The Jerusalem album is no masterpiece, but still a lot better than most early 70s hard rock obscurities, and I recommend it to fans of Black Sabbath, The Pink Fairies and so on.