Vinegar Joe (band)

Vinegar Joe were an English Blues rock band, formed in 1971 in London. They released three albums on Island Records, but were best known for their live shows and launching the solo careers of Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer.[1]

Vinegar Joe
Vinegar Joe.jpg
Vinegar Joe (1972) album cover
Background information
OriginLondon, England
GenresRhythm and blues
Years active1971–1974
LabelsIsland Records
Past membersElkie Brooks
Pete Gage
Robert Palmer
Steve York
Dave Thompson
Conrad Isidore
Rob Tait
John Hawken
John Woods
Mike Deacon
Keef Hartley
Jim Mullen
Pete Gavin
Alan Powell


Vinegar Joe evolved out of Dada, a 12-piece Stax-influenced, jazz/blues rock[2] fusion band. Dada released one eponymous album in 1970, with a line up including vocalist Elkie Brooks and guitarist Pete Gage.[3] Singer Robert Palmer, formerly with The Alan Bown Set joined Dada after the album had been recorded. Dada were signed by Ahmet Ertegun for Atlantic Records. After their US tour, Ahmet sub-licensed them to Chris Blackwell of Island Records for the UK and rest of the world, with instructions to reduce the line up to form Vinegar Joe in 1971, adding keyboard player Dave Thompson, but the band was still without a drummer. Phil Collins had unsuccessfully applied for the job.[4] Conrad Isidore[5] and Rob Tait drummed on the first album. Tim Hinkley added keyboards alongside Dave Thompson and it was Hinkley who appeared on the cover of the first album. Their debut LP Vinegar Joe was released in April 1972 on Island Records in the UK and Atco Records in the US.[3][6] The album cover featured plasticine models of the band created by John Padley.[7]

Tim Hinkley took over from Thompson on keyboards and was succeeded by John Hawken. Drummer Rob Tait played the first series of live shows succeeded by John Woods. Mike Deacon took over on keyboards. During recording of their second album, Rock'n Roll Gypsies, also released in 1972, Keef Hartley played drums. Guitarist Jim Mullen also joined the band for this record and played on the US tour. The artwork for the album was supplied by Hipgnosis.[8] Drummer Pete Gavin joined the band prior to the US tour and recording of their third and final album Six Star General released in 1973. The band dissolved in the spring of 1974. Alan Powell played drums during the band's final weeks.

Subsequently, Brooks and Palmer went on to enjoy success as solo musicians. Gage became a record producer and arranger, working with Brooks, his wife, until their divorce, and a range of musicians such as Joan Armatrading and specialising in upcoming rockabilly and punk bands including as Restless and King Kurt.

Album discographyEdit


  • Dada – Dada, Atco Records, 1970 (pre-Vinegar Joe)
  • Vinegar JoeIsland Records (UK), Atco Records (US) 1972 (re-issued on Lemon)
  • Rock'n Roll Gypsies – Island Records (UK), Atco Records (US) 1972
  • Six Star General – Island Records (UK), Atco Records (US) 1973

Compilation albumsEdit

  • Six Star Gypsies, 1994
  • Speed Queen of Ventura: An Introduction to Vinegar Joe, 2003
  • Vinegar Joe: The Island Recordings 1972-1973, 3CD, 2021 Cherry Red Records.


Year Album Chart Peak ref.
1972 Vinegar Joe
1972 Rock'n Roll Gypsies US Billboard Bubbling Under the Top Lp's 201 [9]
1973 Six Star General

Former membersEdit

  • Elkie Brooks - vocals (1971–1974)
  • Pete Gage - guitars (1971–1974)
  • Robert Palmer - vocals (1971–1974)
  • Steve York - bass (1971–1974)
  • Dave Thompson - keyboards (1971–1972)
  • Conrad Isidore - drums (1971–1972)
  • Rob Tait - drums (1971–1972)
  • John Hawken - keyboards (1972)
  • John Woods - drums (1972)
  • Mike Deacon - keyboards (1972–1974)
  • Keef Hartley - drums (1972–1973)
  • Jim Mullen - guitars (1972–1974)
  • Pete Gavin - drums (1973–1974)
  • Alan Powell - drums (1974)
Additional musicians


  1. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Vinegar Joe | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Elkie Brooks - Biography & History - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  3. ^ a b Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 237. CN 5585.
  4. ^ Collins, Phil. Not Dead Yet. London, England: Century Books. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-780-89513-0.
  5. ^ Conrad Isadore (Isidore) at AllMusic
  6. ^ "Vinegar Joe Discography". discogs. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Vinegar Joe Models 1971 Pictures". Getty Images. 1 September 1971. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Rock 'n Roll Gypsies – album 1972". Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Billboard Bubbling Under Top lp's" (PDF). Billboard Charts. Retrieved 17 March 2022.

External linksEdit