THE GEORGIA MUSiC CHANNEL PRESERVING THE HISTORY OF GEORGIA MUSIC ARTISTS
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Hydra - The Band
After All These Years.........
Where do I begin? I suppose that a brief visit to the beginning would be appropriate. Hydra is a
product of the Atlanta club scene in the late 1960s. Steve Pace and Spencer Kirkpatrick first played
together in 1968 in the band "Strange Brew". Wayne Bruce was playing in the band "Nickelodian"
and was invited to join Pace and Kirkpatrick in the short lived "Noah Mayflower”. The three
remained together in "Osmosis” and by the end of the decade Hydra emerged. Enlisting a
succession of bassists the lineup was finally set with the inclusion of Orville Davis in that slot and
the band embarked on its campaign for rock 'n roll success.
They first conquered Atlanta, quickly becoming the premiere act on the local scene. By 1971 they
had been signed to management and booking contracts, and soon began expanding their territory
playing further and further afield. They began opening concerts for major international acts and
playing larger and more prestigious venues. Hydra was becoming a Southern legend and a tight,
proven act. I joined the Hydra organization in early 1971, becoming the band's road manager and
audio engineer soon thereafter.
In 1973 Hydra signed a recording contract with Capricorn Records. Two albums resulted: The
self-titled debut release in 1974, and 1975's more representative release, "Land Of Money”. It
seemed as if things were progressing according to script, but by late 1975 it became obvious that
the growth of the band’s success had stalled and a change was in order. Davis left the band, new
management was secured, and a new recording contract was inked with the band moving to
Polydor Records. In 1977 Hydra released what would be, until now, their final and some feel their
finest, recording, "Rock The World”. The album featured a streamlined three piece band with Bruce
moving from guitar to bass, and a cleaner "live" sound which was immediately recognizable as
Hydra. The changes, and the new start, created a renewed enthusiasm. Unfortunately it was short
lived, by the end of 1977 Hydra was all but disbanded. They played together occasionally during
1977 and 1978, but then it was over. In 1998 Capricorn Records reissued Hydra's first two albums
in CD format for the first time ever. Every single CD that has manufactured and distributed was sold
and this speaks volumes to the band'’s continuing popularity.
In the ensuing 27 years there have been only a few opportunities to hear and see Hydra
perform. In 1997 an organized reunion occurred at an Atlanta night spot called "The Doghouse".
First Jimmy Cobb, then Tommy Vickery, filled in on bass for the absent Davis (who had been
erroneously reported as deceased). The band performed two nights a week for 12 weeks until
other commitments forced an end to the reunion. These shows did, however, cement the inclusion
of Vickery into the Hydra family. After his first set with the band Steve Pace smiled and said;
"Playing with him felt as comfortable as putting on an old pair of shoes".
In April 2005 it was announced that Hydra would reunite for a performance at the "Atlanta
International Guitar Show”. I decided that, for once, a quality live recording should be attempted.
This was one thing that had not been accomplished during the band’s career. I began to
conceptualize a live CD intended for non-commercial distribution. At the same time, Steven
Hawkins and Charlotte Hannon of the Atlanta Music Group and Emphasis Records inquired about
the possibility of doing the same thing for possible commercial release. It was decided that we
would combine our efforts, and a new live Hydra recording is the result of that collaboration. An
additional performance was scheduled and, in addition to the May 7 show, the band performed
before a large, enthusiastic crowd at "Jake's Toadhouse" on July 28. This performance was also
recorded and is well represented in this collection.
The future of HYDRA looks promising. Everyone is having fun again and the enthusiastic response
of the fans has been extremely contagious! The band's music is being played on the radio again
thanks to the advent of XM-40 DEEP TRACKS on XM Radio, and the band is planning to write new
material and record a new album in the near future. Speaking for all HYDRA fans, old and new......
WE WAIT WITH BAITED BREATH !!!!!!!
By Edgar "Big Ed" Brimer
Hydra - "Suits Me Too A Tee" - Live From The Headrest - Atlanta 1973
Hydra - "Let The Show Go" (1975)
Hydra - "Waisting Time" From The Album Live After All These Years (2005)