Leaf Hound was one of those bands that slipped through the cracks in the early 1970s but are now receiving the recognition they deserve. After only one album, they went on the do other things, most notably their singer, Peter French, who joined Atomic Rooster in 1971. But what an album it was! “Growers of the Mushroom” has all the elements of British blues and proto-metal: blistering riffs, raspy vocals, and a twinge of psychedelia. Though Leaf Hound was not as influential as similar bands from the time, like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, one can imagine the impact they could’ve had if they continued.
One of their most outstanding accomplishments was the hit song “Freelance Fiend.” Wow! What an incredible track. Though Peter French is heralded for his signature ’70s-esc screeches, what really stands out to me is the dance between the two guitarists, Mick Halls and Derek Brooks. “Hipshaker” is another stand-out track.
In 2007, Leaf Hound spontaneously reunited to release one more album, this time with a completely new lineup. Peter French reinstated himself as lead singer, but the rest of the band included Tom Smith on guitar, Pete Herbert on bass, and Dominic French on drums. Including a collection of new tracks, remastered oldies, and songs from Atomic Rooster, the album was a success. However, “Growers of Mushroom” became somewhat of an artifact among record collectors, sometimes selling for over $4,000.
It’s no doubt their popularity has soared exponentially since their disbandment, going on to inspire artists like Tame Impala and Wolfmother. Leaf Hound is definetely worth taking a listen to!
Members: Peter French (vocals), Mick Halls (guitar), Derek Brooks (guitar), Stuart Brooks (bass), Keith George-Young (drums)
Discography: Growers of Mushroom (1971), Unleashed (2007)
Best Songs: Freelance Fiend, Drowned My Life in Fear, Stray, Hipshaker, Too Many Rock ‘N’ Roll Times
– DJ Butter