Shifters - Roundabout (1966)

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Shifters’ third studio album “Roundabout” is said to be thoroughly marked by the extensive touring and non-stop work, which the band went through in this period. Drummer Roman Garcia, expressed his feelings towards the period as: “I felt like a race dog chasing a mechanical rabbit through the world’s airports, venues and hotels.” This statement also inspired the cover photography for the album, which was shot at Newcastle Stadium during a greyhound derby.

“Roundabout” received mixed reactions from critics and was considered to be their worst studio album at the time of the release. NME critic Alan Smith called the album “(…) a sort of loose epilogue to their sophomore album ‘Higher’, but unable to match the same intensity, willpower and sense of direction.” Despite mixed reviews, “Roundabout” topped album charts in both the US and UK.

The album is the last in the band’s hat-trick-series, where Shifters managed to release three commercially successful studio albums in three consecutive years. Upon the band’s return from the European part of their tour, singer Marcus Slade was arrested for attempted draft evasion, as he had failed to report after being drafted for military service. Slade claimed to be unaware of his draft due to his extensive touring at the time, and despite contesting the draft Slade faced forced military service including military deployment in the Vietnam War.

The following timespan was marked by fruitless attempts by band members at freeing Marcus Slade from military service, which they considered a great injustice, developing into an outspoken anti-war stance for Shifters. The handling of the incident, along with a monetary dispute, also led to a fallout between the band and record label Aleone Records, which had both managed the band and recorded their hat-trick-series albums. As a result, Shifters left Aleone Records in 1967.

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