outer limits/floored masters

PAST IMPERFECT (Jeff Christie)
(CD, Angel Air Records)

past imperfect

ALMOST the entire output of the Outer Limits, including some demos, has been captured on one disc of this double CD set. The only missing item is a song called Writing On The Wall, for which no known recording exists. The only version can be heard in part on the documentary Death of a Pop Group.
   The second CD in this set consists of all the songs planned for Jeff Christie's aborted solo album of the 70s.
  The set has been released to immense critical acclaim (see some of the reviews below).


Disc 1:

1. When The Work Is Through
2. Just One More Chance
3. Help Me Please
4. Great Train Robbery
5. Sweet Freedom
6. The Dream
7. Stop
8. Everything I Touch
9. Anyday Now
10. See It My Way
11. Funny Clown

12. Listen
13. Paper Jake
14. Days Of Spring
15. Epitaph For A Nonentity
16. Man In The Middle Of Nowhere
17. It's Your Turn Now
18. Dancing Water
19. Look At Me
20. Run For Cover
21. Mr. Magee's Incredible Banjo Band
22. Tomorrow Night

For reviews of tracks 1-5, see here.
For reviews of tracks 6-22, see here.

Disc 2:

1. Turn On Your Lovelight
2. Both Ends Of The Rainbow
3. You've Got The Love
4. Midnight Express
5. Troubadour
6. Back On The Boards
7. Another Point Of View
8. You And Me
9. On The Same Side
10. Saints And Sinners

11. Take Me As You Find Me
12. Tightrope
13. Somebody Else
14. In A Rich Man's Shoes
15. Jody
16. Shine On
17. Turning To Stone
18. It Aint Easy
19. Shake Off These Chains
20. Back In The Jungle
21. Yuletide Lights
For reviews of these tracks, see here, here and here.



ONE of Britain's finest composers
floored inside“BEST known as the frontman for early ‘70s hitmakers Christie, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Christie’s career long predated that band.
  In fact, his earlier group, Outer Limits should have been just as big, if not bigger than Christie themselves.
  Formed in the dying days of 1963, the band released three singles, gigged incessantly, and took part in the legendary package tour featuring Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd and Amen Corner.
  Yet they never managed to land a hit or record an album. However the Outer Limits did leave behind a slew of demos before folding in 1968, 22 of which features on the first disc of this 2CD set.
  An incredible songwriter, Christie penned all the band's numbers, and his strong ear for a pop melody and a way with a catchy chorus is self-evident.
  Recorded between 1966-1968, the songs are stylistically diverse, encompassing R&B, British Invasion pop, and psychedelia. It's a soundtrack of the age, and while certainly influenced by the stars of the day, notably but not unsurprisingly The Beatles, still Outer Limits were no mere copyists, having a sound very much their own.
  The rambunctious Help Me Please could have been contender, while Great Train Robbery should have shot up the chart along with the acid-washed The Dream.
  The tough Anyday Now, the harmony drenched Funny Clown, the bouncy Look at Me, the California dreaming of Dancing Water, and the pumping Run for Cover are just some of the other highlights found on this stunning disc.
  Christie now beckoned, and upon its demise, the singer/songwriter launched a solo career, although his projected debut foundered in the mid-70s, and a second go begun later in the decade also ended up being shelved.
  It was these aborted that comprise most of the second disc, with another half a dozen tracks culled from later in his career.
  The enclosed booklet provides all the background, taken from discussions with the artist himself. Finding himself out of musical fashion, Christie continued doing what he did best, writing strong songs and pushing his own stylistic envelope.
  Midnight Express is a case in point, pomprock on amphetamines driving straight into the discos. Sixties pop infuses Both Ends of the Rainbow, a surprising punk edge cuts through Tightrope, jazz, classical and pop harry Saints and Sinners, a tinge of funk flutters across Back on the Boards, and new wave sweeps over Somebody Else.
  And while the later numbers are not so adventurous, Christie has yet to lose his touch. All told this is a sumptuous set, and a superb tribute to one of Britain's finest composers."
Jo-Ann Greene:

ONE of THE re-releases of the year
"EVERY now and then, a whole new wonderworld behind the “one hit wonder” tag pops up on the kaleidoscopic horizon of the swinging sixties, unveiling a side of the author that is much more adventurous than the one suggested by the hit in question.
  Jeff Christie might not be just a one hit wonder, but it’s perfectly clear that in most cases the only thing being mentioned alongside his name is ‘Yellow River’.
  No less than 22 examples (five single sides, along with 17 unreleased demos, all from ’66-‘68) included on the first of this two CD set, stretch out sometimes even way beyond of what you might consider for an “outer limit”, every single one of them written by the the pre-fame Christie himself.
  Of the officially released stuff, Just One More Chance is considered somewhat of a Northern Soul classic, which is where When The Work Is Through seems to fit just as well , before giving it a bit freakier approach by way of the early attack in Help Me Please.
  With an additonal harmony or two, what they end up with is a genuine contender for an imaginary Bee Gees track, as heard in Great Train Robbery, paired up with Sweet Freedom, another upbeat piece of harmony pop with a strong Hollies flavour to it, for their final single release in ’68.
  Leaving almost two LPs worth of demos behind, they could’ve easily ended up with at least one longplayer, worthy of any late’60s pop fan’s attention.
  Naturally enough, and in accordance with the environmental demand, Outer Limits were catching up with the less swinging and more lysergic vibes. All British classics that never were, it’s the Beatles-by-way-of-The-Move model that comes to mind most often, best heard in Funny Clown or Listen.
  Along your way out of the limit, you’ll also hear the moody The Dream, the Syd-through-Blossies-like quirky little pop number Days of Spring, or the pair of late’60s Mersey updates, Epitaph For Nonentity and Look At Me, both sounding not too unlike Jimmy Campbell at his Lennon best, before you’re taken on a Honeybus ride with Mr Magee’s Incredible Banjo Band.
  Though it’s obvious that Christie had still had it by the time of the 80s, the obligatory synthetic production doesn’t really make me want to go through the second CD once again, except for a single song, which is the Emitt Rhodes-like You and Me.
  Still, it doesn’t spoil my impression of this being one of THE re-releases of the year.
Garwood Pickjon,

"THE Yellow River had a spring and an estuary. Here's where the story began.
Remembered mostly for their tremendous hit, Christie were a mindchild of one Jeff Christie, a songwriter of immense proportions who deserves much more than he's been getting from the off.
  The whole output of his Outer Limits days is gathered now on CD.
Essentially a school band formed on the verge of the Beatlemania - and Stop feels like a slow-mo re-write of the Fabs' What You're Doing - this combo played only original material, which was blacker than what most of their pop contemporaries were doing at the time.
  With brass-splashed When The Work Is Through going the Stax way and It's Your Turn Now taking it to Motown, the piano figure of Just One More Chance, out on Deram, outlines a fine example of pre-psych Brit beat.
  Surprisingly, none of these charted, neither did 1968's Andrew Loog Oldham-produced cinematically infectious Great Train Robbery that reminded the Beeb of the English crime of a few years before and, had it hit, together with See It My Way, could have given Ray Davies and Roy Wood a run for their money.
  If only Tomorrow Night fulfilled its jolly promise, this singer could have been a superstar."

OUT on his own for the first time, in 1978 Jeff set to work on his solo album, but the timing was too wrong with punk having swept any thought of a well-crafted pop rock song such as the achingly urgent On The Same Side, or It Ain't Easy from Christie's former band's last sessions, so the planned record didn't see the light of day - until now.
  It's a great collection of mostly acoustic-tinged would-be smashes like the surefire dancefloor, rather than studio floor, filler Midnight Express riding on funky bass, and catchingly gentle single Both Ends Of The Rainbow.
  Elsewhere, the flute and sax-adorned buzz of You And Me, which gains momentum during its course, could have go down well with the folk and fusion fraternities, whereas the '60s-styled Saints And Sinners lurches the disco-ska way.
  Yellow River has proved to be both a blessing and a curse, nobody taking its writer as a serious musician, but there were a couple more attempts to re-establish Jeff Christie as such, the cream of those included here.
  The anthemic sweep of the Shine On harmonies could have made it a great arena-chanter in 1981 and is hard to resist now as is Yuletide Lights, that can chart any given Christmas.
  Will Angel Air dare to put it out on a single to make Christie shine anew?

outer limits

"Back in the ‘60s for every great English rock band like Traffic or the Moody Blues, there was a hundred other worthy UK bands that just didn’t make the grade.
  One of England’s top reissue labels, Angel Air, continues to remaster some great archival UK rock albums and they turn up gold with a 2008 double CD set by singer-songwriter and guitarist Jeff Christie and his band Outer Limits, entitled Outer Limits And Floored Masters: Past Imperfect.
  Back in 1967, Christie in Outer Limits shared bills with Jimi Hendrix, The Move and Procol Harum and as their music here proves, there’s good reasons why.
  Christie’s early work in Outer Limits evokes both early Traffic with Dave Mason, and also music The Bee Gees were making around that same time.
  Despite some outstanding tracks, bad breaks marked the end of Outer Limits as contenders.
  Angel Air’s double CD set puts together 22 Outer Limits studio tracks released circa 1966-68 on the Deram and Immediate labels, with 21 more tracks Christie recorded in 1978 and a couple more from 1981.
  Best known for writing and scoring big time with the 1970 Christie hit Yellow River, Jeff Christie and company evoke a post-Beatles/Bee Gees kind of vibe, and on these vintage Outer Limits cuts and coupled with the unearthed 1978 solo tracks, it works just great.
  Par for the course with Angel Air, the double CD set features excellent liner notes.”

"OVER the years Jeff Christie has become known almost exclusively for the song Yellow River that was recorded by his band Christie in the 1960s.
  And that is indeed a shame because, as this double CD set makes perfectly clear, there is so much more to his career than that one (admittedly great) single.
  Rather than include the tune that everyone is already familiar with, these CDs shed light on Jeff's many other creative efforts.
  The set is divided into two parts. The first CD features the complete (!) recordings of Jeff's first band Outer Limits that released a number of singles on the Deram and Immediate labels in the 1960s. This disc is a must for anyone who ever loved great vintage AM radio pop.
  Twenty-tracks of classic unshakable pop that should satisfy even the most demanding pop fan.
  The fact that these tracks had previously been forgotten seems absolutely criminal. There are so many quality songs on this disc that we can't name them all here.
  The second CD features a never-before-released solo album by Jeff called Floored Master plus other solo recordings.
  This disc should leave many people confused, asking themselves "Why on earth didn't this guy's solo career take off?"
  Some of Christie's solo recordings bear an uncanny resemblance to some of Pete Ham's material (from Badfinger).
  If you think Jeff was just a one hit wonder, think again.
  Outer Limits and Floored Masters - Past Imperfect is proof that this man was responsible a hell of a lot more than most folks will probably ever realize. Recommended."
Rating: 5++

"CHRISTIE made his name in the 70s fronting his band Christie, who had hits Yellow River and Iron Horse. This set details what came both before and after.
  Disc One takes in the band Outer Limits, a 60s band, and a whopping 22 tracks (some in demo form). There is some great 60s pop here, often with a west coast feel.
  Help Me Please is the kind of psychedelic rock that influenced a lot of progressive work, and Great Train Robbery is nicely orchestrated. Christie here takes on lead vocals, lead guitar and some piano.
  Some nice melodies here too, if a little whimsical in places.
  The Floored Masters second disc takes in solo recordings from the late 70s and early 80s, when finding solo success, a deal even, was hard for Jeff Christie.
Many tracks feature ex Jethro Tull bassist John Glascock. Again, some pop good tunes that are typical of the period, but not something that would set the world alight.
  Singles Both Ends Of The Rainbow and Tightrope, both perky enough, are augmented by b-sides and another 20 tracks from the aborted album sessions.
  The music is good, if not startling, but it's a very complete package, with sleeve notes that include quotes from Christie himself."
Joe Geesin , Classic Rock

"I SUPPOSE Jeff Christie will only ever be remembered for Yellow River, which hit Number One in 1970, and the follow-up San Bernadino, which achieved Top Ten status.
  That was just about it for Christie in terms of chart success but he continued his career to some praise but a great deal of indifference.
  Angel Air have decided that it is time we had another look at Jeff Christie with the release of this commanding double CD featuring unreleased and bonus tracks aplenty.
  CD 1 sees him prior to his hits, mid to late 60s, in a band called The Outer Limits, and this white soul-tinged album is very much a product of that period, and maybe not that essential.
  The second CD, Floored Masters – Past Imperfect, is a totally different piece of work featuring a previously unreleased album from the late 70s, and is a pretty impressive rock album with pop overtones that certainly is deserving of a release.
  Again, the liner notes are comprehensive, making this a pretty good starter for novices of the music of Jeff Christie.
Classic Rock Society

"I ADMITthat I'm a bit biased, being Jeff Christie's only American first cousin and a fan of his music for the past 35 years!
  I remember many of these songs, especially when I saw him play in 1965 in a club in Britain. I got to hear some of my favorite songs of his in person when I went to visit him three years ago and they are just as fresh today as back then.
  My favorites are You've Got the Love, Turn on Your Lovelight, Both Ends of the Rainbow, Another Point of View, Back on the Boards.
  Buy it … it's great and you'll love his unique sound. Jeff has diligently kept at producing music through the years and is a truly dedicated and talented musician! "
Jeanne Lawton: