Acoustic Sounds
By: Michael Fremer

March 21st, 2023



Intervention Records Announces "Frampton@50" "Artist Approved" Deluxe Box Set

3 peak "pre-super stardom" Frampton albums

After Peter Frampton exited Humble Pie, but before the double live LP "Peter Frampton Comes Alive!" delivered to him super nova pop stardom (an unexpected career explosion that almost destroyed him) he released a series of superbly crafted A&M albums that caught the ears and eyes of rock cognoscenti worldwide, but didn't exactly light a fire on the Billboard Top 100.

In the U.K. Humble Pie was signed to Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate Records. Herb Alpert and partner Jerry Moss were label shopping fans with money and good taste. For their A&M Records they picked up, among other Island Records acts Cat Stevens, and from Oldham's Immediate Records got Humble Pie, formed by Steve Marriott and Frampton after Marriott walked off stage New Year's Eve 1968, breaking up Oldham's super group Small Faces, which of course rose again as Faces with new lead singer Rod Stewart.

As Safe As Yesterday Is and Town and Country, two of Humble Pie's finest and most interesting efforts were released separately on Immediate. Town and Country, a mostly acoustic album that Humble Pie's "boogie" era fans wouldn't recognize as being the same band, was rush-released as Immediate was on the verge of financial collapse. A&M later released both as a "two-fer".

In 1972 after four Humble Pie albums, Frampton quit to go solo, choosing to remain with A&M, which also smartly chose to remain with him, though he got off to a slow start. Despite the fine craft—the songs, the playing, the sweet production and engineering by Chris Kimsey, and the presence of Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Spooky Tooth's Mike Kellie and Mick Jones, among others who happily participated, the self-produced Wind of Change recorded at Olympic Studio, never rose above 177 on the Billboard Charts. Meanwhile, also in 1972, Humble Pie released its 5th album, Smokin', the first without Frampton. The back to boogie album was the group's "break out" release, reaching number 6 on Billboard's Top 200 chart. ce la vie!

Frampton returned to the studio and self-produced Frampton's Camel, which was more of a group effort with a somewhat harder sound. It reached only 110 on the Billboard 200 Chart. But it caught the eager ears again, of rock cognoscenti, some of whom had been following Frampton from his early days as a member of The Herd. I was one of those and when in April of 1974 Frampton played The University of Rhode Island in support of his next album

Something's Happening, which is not included in this box and which did not happen on the charts, I got in a car and with Jon Pareles, now the New York Times's chief popular music critic, drove to Rhode Island to see Peter Frampton, passing a joint between us (we were in the back seat) because we knew something was happening!

At some point in all of this, either directly before, or soon thereafter, I was doing my weekend all night radio show on WBCN-FM and talking up a storm about Peter Frampton, playing his first two albums, and insisting to all who were listening that he would soon be a big star (I was doing likewise about the band Big Star). I was certain. A few minutes later the listener line lights up, I pick up the phone and it was Peter Frampton! He was in town, not playing, listening to BCN and he heard what I'd said. I invited him up and we played records and talked on the air and off.

Next up was Frampton, released spring of 1975 and that album both went Gold and contained a few songs that were made huge on ... Comes Alive!, which was released January of 1976. That album is the third record included in this box set.

In June, 1977 Frampton, in the wake of "...Comes Alive!, at the time the best selling live album ever returned to Boston, this time headlining at The Boston Garden, greeted by screaming fans, mostly young girls. I brought friends expecting to see the hard working, hard playing guitar craftsman I'd seen a few years earlier but Peter blew kisses to the adoring fans almost as much as he bent the strings. I felt bad for him then and even worse after seeing him in the ill-fated "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" movie starring The Bee Gees, in which Frampton played Billy Shears.

Not even George Martin's involvement as musical director could save this disaster, which New York Times film critic Janet Maslin (another Boston acquaintance) described as "a business deal set to music." In Rolling Stone, Paul Nelson, (who for a short while was Bob Dylan's roommate at the University of Minnesota and later was the A&R man at Mercury Records who signed The New York Dolls and who handed me a live Dolls album cassette that for all I know is the only copy that exists), wrote that Frampton "absolutely does not have a future in Hollywood".

George Harrison said of Frampton and the Bee Gees: "I think it's damaged their images, their careers, and they didn't need to do that. It's just like the Beatles trying to do the Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones can do it better."

Much of what happened to poor Peter Frampton during this time can rightly be blamed on Dee Anthony's (mis) management. Anthony managed other artists as well including Joe Cocker, Ten Years After and The J. Geils Band, and damn I was on the phone today for 1/2 hour with Peter Wolf talking about other things and forgot to ask him about this. There are stories about money siphoning mob connections, John Gotti, Gambino crime family, etc. all of which is secondary to the mismanagement of Peter Frampton's career, which climaxed (pardon the pun) with the album I'm in You not part of this set!

So why bring all of this up here in a publicity announcement of this box set? Because many music fans probably don't know Peter Frampton's work other than through ....Comes Alive and that movie and think of open shirts and bubble gum music. The albums in this box set are not that. They are the thoughtful, mature works of an extremely talented musician who later got mismanaged and hung out to dry. For those who only know that Frampton, they will surely enjoy the one who self-produced these three wonderful albums.

On March 30th I'll interview Frampton and speak with him for the first time in almost 50 years so stay tune for that, though after he reads this, who knows?

Here's the Intervention press release:

"Grammy Award-winning guitarist Peter Frampton and Intervention Records are thrilled to announce the Artist-Approved Frampton@50 Limited Edition Vinyl Box Set. This AMAZING box set is numbered and LIMITED TO ONLY 2,500 COPIES. This exclusive set is available for PRE-ORDER and ships to customers July 28, 2023.

Click HERE to pre-order and reserve your Limited box set NOW directly from Intervention Records.

In addition, Peter Frampton webstore has an exclusive allocation of 250 Frampton@50 vinyl box sets that include an AUTOGRAPHED version of the Frampton's Camel promo poster referenced below, with the proceeds benefitting the Peter Frampton Myositis Research Fund. Click HERE to pre-order the autographed charity version.

The Frampton@50 Limited Edition Vinyl Box Set is comprised of meticulously restored 180G reissues of the essential 1972-1975 studio releases that put Peter Frampton on the fast track to becoming the household name and rock legend he remains to this day, Wind of Change, Frampton’s Camel and Frampton. The Limited box set also comes with an authentic reproduction of the Peter Frampton promo poster that was included only in the earliest original LP copies of Frampton’s Camel and a Certificate of Authenticity with a message from Peter.

The Frampton@50 premium vinyl reissues sound sensational and are 100% Analog Mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering from the best-sounding analog tape sources available. The flat, heroically quiet 180g vinyl is pressed at boutique press Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, Ohio.

Intervention approached the Frampton@50 album art restoration with the same fanatical attention to detail and authenticity as the audio. The jackets for all three Frampton@50 Series LPs are Old Style “Tip Ons” by Stoughton Printing, with Wind of Change and Frampton’s Camel sporting “brown-in” blanks true to the UK original LP releases. Frampton original LPs came with an inner sleeve with lyrics printed on both sides, which Intervention has expanded to comprise the interior panels of a gorgeous single-LP gatefold. All three LP jackets are printed on heavy stock, and film laminated for enhanced beauty and durability.

The box is a deluxe slip case, with a matte-textured finish and spot Gloss UV highlighting the main image, and double-pass foil numbering.

The Frampton@50 Series studio releases are also available for pre-order NOW on hybrid CD/SACDs ($30 ea.) which play on all CD and SACD players. These CD/SACDs feature the same definitive remastered audio as the 180G LPs, mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering Direct-to-DSD from analog tapes. The CD/SACDs will ship in April, 2023. Click HERE to pre-order all three.


  • 2023-03-22 10:07:04 PM

    Nigel Tufnel wrote:

    Fantastic news from Intervention - Pre-Order just placed!

    After the MoFi debacle last year and STILL no front person for MoFi I'm more than happy to support a small reissue label where the head person is out front and there's 100% transparency of the mastering and pressing chain.

    Shane - line up the Chris Isaak box set - the two Valerie Carter 1970 releases on Columbia, the Shawn Colvin box set - the two Julee Cruise LPs from the late 80s- early 90s. The vaults are deep!

    • 2023-03-22 11:53:45 PM

      Mark Ward wrote:

      That is quite the wishlist!!! Love Julee Cruise.....

    • 2023-03-23 05:05:48 PM

      IR Shane wrote:

      And 100% transparency on sources! I have barked up the Chris Isaak tree, grow up in the Bay Area and would kill or die to do his catalog. I'll keep trying. Love these suggestions, Julee Cruise of the ethereal Twin Peaks fame is an amazing ask!

    • 2023-03-23 05:09:11 PM

      IR Shane wrote:

      PS- GREAT handle and avatar.

  • 2023-03-22 10:39:04 PM

    Paul Robertson wrote:

    Love MF’s insight into this era, always have. No nonsense and always included are tidbits of fun memories too. Reminds me specifically of reviews and not so much announcements from another chapter in his career, in particular Paul Rodgers The Royal Sessions and discussing his history which was super cool.

    I actually checked daily for a while after Dylan’s Bootleg Series Fragments was released, hoping for his take out of curiosity (I love it) and possibly more interesting insight into the recording………nobody knows Dylan like MF………..but at least we got a an excellent review from his much younger colleague that was honest, thorough, and well written with total common sense injected regarding the format choices

    Sorry for the rant and getting back on track here, I think it was Intervention that did a couple of the Steeler’s Wheel rereleases that I have and they are fabulous…….so need to seriously consider this box!

  • 2023-03-22 11:52:15 PM

    Mark Ward wrote:

    Did not know these albums at all, but a quick audition on Tidal has sent me over to IR to place my pre-order. Every IR reissue I have bought has been phenomenal, so this is a no-brainer. We are living in a golden age of vinyl reissues! Loved the stories - especially Frampton coming on the air! As a former radio guy (at the rather more sedate WBUR near Kenmore Square) I really appreciate that tale! Remind me to tell you about the Car Talk guys.....

    • 2023-03-23 05:08:06 PM

      IR Shane wrote:

      Thanks for this! YES! These are truly wonderful albums and I think a lot of people willed o exactly as you did, stream it and say WOW and head over for a vinyl Intervention!

  • 2023-03-23 03:47:02 PM

    Silk Dome Mid wrote:

    As a big Humble Pie fan, I bought Wind of Change as soon as it was released. At first I was put off by the quieter vibe, no heavy rock like the Pie, but I came to love the album. BTW, Frampton's autobiography Do You Feel Like I Do? is well worth reading.

  • 2023-03-23 05:58:46 PM

    chet wrote:

    I was in college in NYC in 1972 and saw the last concert of Frampton with Humble Pie at the Palladium on 14th st.,which is the NYU swimming pool now. He played the first set with the pie and then played his own solo set .Loved the Camel! Those were the days my friends.... Cheers,Chet

  • 2023-03-23 06:01:34 PM

    Mike Vordo wrote:

    Any chance these will be available separately in the future, and still be AAA?

    • 2023-03-24 03:44:58 PM

      IR Shane wrote:

      At some point, yes, and they will be the same pressings, 100% analog and pressed on 180g vinyl by Gotta Groove, stampers replaced every 500 units!

  • 2023-03-23 10:47:18 PM

    Robert Nakata wrote:

    Why is Something's Happening not included in this box set?

    • 2023-03-24 03:46:46 PM

      IR Shane wrote:

      We might revisit in the future if the demand is there, but I never intended this as a completist set, but rather the essential studio albums that track Peter's artistic growth from Humble Pie to solo superstardom.

      • 2023-03-24 09:17:47 PM

        Silk Dome Mid wrote:

        Thank you for the information, Shane!

      • 2023-03-29 12:25:33 AM

        James Richbourg wrote:

        I surely do hope that you revisit the idea of reissuing Something's Happening. I feel it's Peter's finest album and would be one of the first to pre-order.