Help Yourself was formed in London in 1970 initially as a backup band for Malcolm Morley.
The band consisted of Richard Treece (guitars/vocals/harmonica), Dave Charles (drums/percussion/vocals, ex-Sam Apple Pie), Ken Whaley (bass), and of course, Malcolm Morley (guitars/keyboards/vocals). The band recorded their debut self-titled album in early 1971.
Ken Whaley left the band shortly thereafter and was replaced by Ernie Graham (guitars). Whaley went on to form Ducks De Luxe with Sean Tyler.
In 1971, the group teamed up with bandmembers from Brinsley Schwarz and moved into a rented house in Headley called the Grange, where Led Zeppelin had recorded Led Zeppelin IV earlier that year. They also played at the 1971 Glastonbury Festival.
The band recorded their second album Strange Affair (1972), at Rockfield Studios with the addition of Jonathan “JoJo” Glemser on guitar.
Ernie Graham and Glemser left during the recording of the LP and were replaced by their road manager Paul Burton for the album’s completion. The lineup of Burton, Morley, Treece and Charles recorded another album almost immediately, Beware the Shadow, which was released at the end of 1972. None of the first three albums sold particularly well.
Morley succumbed to a bout of depression and was temporarily replaced by Man guitarist Deke Leonard.
Known to their fans as The Helps, their music was never easily categorised. They started out playing American-flavoured country rock (albeit redolent of pastoral England), and by their second and subsequent albums, they were producing acid-drenched psych.
Unfortunately, Glam rock was all the rage in England at the time and Help Yourself were deemed too rural for radio play at home. They did, however, find moderate success in America, where they appealed to a hippie audience.
In 1973, Ken Whaley returned to the band, and the Helps recorded an album that was appropriately called The Return of Ken Whaley. The initial 5,000 copies included a “bonus” album called Happy Days, which was recorded live on tour.
Shortly after the release of The Return of Ken Whaley, Help Yourself broke up with Malcolm Morley briefly playing with Bees Make Honey before joining the Welsh band Man. Ken Whaley later joined him there.
The original lineup of Help Yourself re-formed in 2002 to remix tracks originally intended for their long-lost fifth album. Compiling material recorded in 1973 alongside three new recordings, 5 was released in 2004.
Guitar, vocals, keyboards
Guitar, vocals, bass, harmonica
Jonathan “JoJo” Glemser