Truth be told, no album is ever going to match the expectations kindled by a cover like the one that graces Andrew Leigh’s Magician (Bo Hansson’s Magician’s Hat and Heron’s Twice as Nice & Half the Price being two other salient examples).
That said, this 1970 release by the sometime Spooky Tooth bassist and future Matthews’ Southern Comfort member, does attempt to scale the heights of anticipation its somewhat wonderful artwork inspires… for the first two tracks anyway.
album reviews, blues rock, country rock, prog rock, psych-folk
One of the great unanswered questions that immediately springs to mind when considering the career of Keef Hartley, is thus: During the 1970s, was there a Cheyenne Indian wandering the rugged plains of South Dakota, dressed as a drummer from Preston?
We may never know. If any of the Native American fraternity happen to be reading this and can shed some light on the matter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. It has been known to keep me awake at night.
Which brings us to Dog Soldier, the short-lived outfit formed in the wake of the Keef Hartley Band’s collapse, and their 1975 self-titled album. The artwork maintains the American Indian look that Hartley sported in previous incarnations and during live performances, albeit with a futuristic slant, as was the vogue for album covers in the mid-70s, particularly among prog and some AOR acts.
Dog Soldier largely falls under the spell of the second of those musical pigeonholes, which, in my laziness, I am wont to crowbar in at every given opportunity. Those that stay the course, however, through this journey into the innocuous reaches of 1970’s American FM radio, are in for a reet royal treat at its close. One that rewards the perseverance of the less-than-inclined with 11 minutes of loveliness.
Prior to that it’s a festival of mid-Atlantic country/blues rock, occasionally rugged around the edges, whose sun-kissed Californian complexion revisits the likes of Steely Dan, The Eagles and The Band, courtesy of a bloke from the murkier climes of Lancashire.
album reviews, blues rock, classic rock, country rock, prog rock
Man, the rock group that spilled forth from South Wales in the late sixties and released a raft of albums throughout the seventies, were never ones to accept the pigeonhole gracefully. After all, what were they? Could Man be called psychedelic rock, progressive rock, country-rock or good old-fashioned pub rock?
Well they took elements of all these disciplines and brewed their own concoction, which if a category must be applied, would fall somewhere within the progressive-country-blues bracket… probably. MAN, their eponymously titled third album from 1971 is a suitable example of this eclectic clash of styles, as it veers from one to the next over the course of five songs.
album reviews, country rock, prog rock, psychedelic rock
A Head Full of Mescaline and a Gut Full of Jack
Howlin Rain, the 2006 debut album by the San Franciscan band of the same name, is like the return to civilisation of an old friend who has spent a week wandering California’s Death Valley, with nothing for company other than a guitar, a quart of Jack Daniels and a boot-heel full of mescaline.
Yes indeed, setting aside an inveterate prejudice of this writer and breaking the cardinal rule within the HFoS camp, we once again take tentative steps into the often seizure-inducing territories of “modern music”. But hang on just one ruddy minute there. It appears that in our eagerness (honest) to sample some of this so-called “modern music”, we’ve caused a Doctor Who-style rift in time and space and landed right back in the altogether more pleasing era of the early-70s.
album reviews, country rock, psychedelic rock, the blues