A Toast To Panama Red
In early 1971 the Masters had released Choice Cuts (see links), recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios.
Relesed and getting rave reviews in England and Europe, Jenny Halsall who worked for EMI alerted her brother, John Halsall a promoter and a huge fan. He contacted the Masters in Australia and urged them to come back. They reformed, set off back to England. Again on a boat!
When they arrived 7 weeks later all interest in Choice Cuts had fizzled out (It had sold 12000 copies). EMI had offered to finance the recording of another album. EMI England set the recording date for 3 months away. That gave the band plenty of time to write, rehearse and polish the songs. They went back to Jeff Jarratt and the same team at Abbey Road studios. A Toast To Panama Red was the result.
The title is a homage to an illicit national crop picked up while traveling through the Panama Canal on the way to England.
The band took their time and experimented with a variety of styles and sounds and produced a far more diverse set of songs than those on Choice Cuts. It was a personal creative venture that was the most enjoyable thing they had done.
Recording this time much more relaxed as the Masters new the routine. However Glenn had a part time job that interfered with rehearsals and recording sessions. The upshot of it meant Doug ended up recording some of the bass parts.
The album was released early 1972. Again, like Choice Cuts, to good, solid reviews despite it being undeniably self-indulgent. Doug Ford, whose soloing dominates the album came in for particular acclaim. Europe once again took to the album warmly. It is still a popular bootleg there today.
The band were broke, under-rehearsed with Glenn being part-time and they were unable to promote the new album properly. The single Love Is failed to do anything significant and the end was near.
Glenn left for a lucrative job in Australia and soon after Jim reluctantly quit and returned to Australia, both sad and glad that it was all over. Colin's brother Denny joined on bass and the Masters continued for about 6 months in England. They only recorded one song - Freedom Seekers (available on the Hands of Time CD compilation, also the only Master's song Jim did not contribute too)