Sound — 8
Humble Pie was formed in 1969, when a pair of noted singer/songwriter/guitarists, Steve Marriott (Small Faces) and Peter Frampton (the Herd), joined forces. Rounding out the Pie were bassist Steve Ridley (Spooky Tooth) and hard hitting drummer, Jerry Shirley. The press immediately proclaimed the band as a "supergroup," despite the member's displeasure with the omnipotent tag. Humble Pie ended up faring much better than others such as say Blind Faith; on the other hand while their visibility is most famously associated with Marriott and Frampton, Greg Ridley is unquestionably the third pillar of that founding trinity, he whom drummer Shirley, in spite of his youth, inexperience and some occasional stiffness in the playing, accompanies effortlessly and reliably all along, and reverentially credited as one of the British top bassists at the time; and while his rumbling and untamed bass lines are a mainstay on this debut album numbers such as the 6 minutes plus "A Nifty Little Number Like You" simultaneously showcase the exceptional interplay between the four musicians, the tight playing usually detectable in musicians who had been playing together for ages, and hints of the real stage animals they were destined to grow into.
Lyrics — 9
The charm of the Pie's debut lies not on what would ultimately be known as their trademark sound stamp, but instead on its eclecticism; it's represented from the get go on the swirling organ of the emblematic opening cover of John Kay's "Desperation," as if stating the argument that Steppenwolf were the real thing, a sound they actually often emulate with the torrents of organ that soak many a tune, and the controlled rage that fuels the interpretations; it's also embodied on the only other cover, on Ian McLagan's elaborately constructed "Growing Closer," in an arrangement that mixes early Stones-like R&B, Tull like vibrations thanks to Lyn Dobson's exquisite flute playing, plus fierce harmonica blowing and showering acoustic guitar fill-ins without ever loosing an engaging drive; and it's also present on the Frampton and Marriot jointly penned and fabulous title track, which blends seamlessly and with enriching effect both men visions, and on Frampton's own, slide-guitar and trippy leads infected, psych-leaning "Stick Shift".
Overall Impression — 9
Humble Pie didn't sit back and rely on their respective reputations. The group let the music flow naturally, generating spirited and inspired blues-rock. The group's debut studio album, "As Safe as Yesterday Is," reflects the sounds of the post '60s psychedelic pop scene, sending down rock mixed with R&B, that parallels the work of contemporary acts, such as Led Zeppelin, Cream and Jeff Beck. The Andy Johns produced "As Safe as Yesterday Is" features the bluesy swagger of "Natural Born Woman," as well as the opening cover of Steppenwolf's "Desperation," "I'll Go Alone," "Buttermilk Boy," the down-home "Alabama '69," the six-minute title track and the closing "Wrist Job." Altogether a solid debut, much more rock driven than it's predecessor, and featuring great period flavor.