torsdag 5 januari 2017


Detroit band existing from late sixties to mid seventies, during which time they released a couple of singles and two LP:s on Motown's subsidiary Rare Earth label. At the time a popular live act with local following while the trials for larger success failed and non of their records reached high on the lists. Then almost forgotten for decades and it's only lately collectors of soul or early prog started to show serious interest. This was their debute album. I've seen copies come and go in the cheaper bins but always passed them by and just recently decided to pick one up and go for a spin. To my ears it's surprisingly good for a record that's been largely overlooked for so many years. May belong to the blue-eyed-soul genre, but vocally it sounds more towards black soul with the gospelish background quires and vocalist Richard Fidge sometimes arriving at that deep powerful stage few white singers could reach. Musically I get soft proto-prog, keyboard driven with occational rythmic and melodic quirks. Seven of the eight songs self-penned - most of them in minor with pleasant melodies, elaboratedly produced by former Rolling Stones manager/producer Andrew Oldham. I've seen them compared with Procol Harum and that may be - if you can imagine a Procol soul/gospel album without Gary Brooker. However the inbuilt stillness, strong melodies and prominent organ are all there providing very good listening. It could easily have been a hit, but maybe soft soul prog from an almost unknown band wasn't what the large public craved early seventies. Favorite tracks - "The Axe" has a melodic structure making me think of the best contemporary Webber/Rice works and "Walk Down The Path Of Freedom" very dirty up-tempo soul with great vocals. Audio on this UK press shifts - most of it clear, but partly a little messy as if they'd cut it too loud for the thicker parts to get through. Premiere US and Canadian on Rare Earth (RS 526) came with fold/out cover including lyrics and a band pic. CD issues on Flawed Gems 2013 (GEM 0000103) and Big Pink 2016 (0000419). First UK had label as shown here and laminated flip/back cover. There may have been an insert with the missing pic/lyric parts, but I've never seen one. (TÖMÖ*)

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