I was originally thinking of transcribing the really long article with David Bowie in this issue, but then I found it on a Bowie site, and what`s the fun if someone already did it?
So, instead of that one, I give you a record review in this and the next post. I don`t always do them, but they are great because they are relatively short and it is quite amusing to find out what the reviewers thought when the albums first were released. So, here we go with number one…
MONTROSE: Warner Bros. Presents Montrose
By John Tobler
Titles like the one on this record make the title lines on a review look silly. Are they trying to get back at us for something? Anyway, this is Montrose`s third album, tidily conforming to the one album a year syndrome, and thus presumably indicating that their records sell respectable but average quantities.
Exactly what you`d expect from a middle of the table second division band who can effortlessly maintain their position without ever improving on it.
At one point, I had very high hopes for this band – their leader had played on two of my favourite records, “Tupelo Honey” and “St. Dominic`s Preview”, both by Van Morrison, as well as Edgar Winter`s “Frankenstein” thing, and original bass player Bill Church had also been with Van Morrison. A sound basis of good taste, I presumed. Then their records appeared, and it was obvious that the Winter direction had been taken, and while that`s their privilege, the heavier side of things is a much more competitive battleground than the Morrison/Scaggs area, where there never seem to be enough records to acquire.
After the first album, Bill Church left, after the second, vocalist Sam Galpin did likewise, and now Montrose and drummer Denny Carmassi are the only originals, with Bob James on vocals, Alan Fitzgerald on bass, and the addition of keyboard man Jim Alcivar. Seemingly, their intention was to write most of the album in the studio, as the first side predominantly credits all five as writers. Within the bounds that such an arrangement produces, it comes off reasonably well, with the exception of an express train version of “Twenty Flight Rock” as in Eddie Cochran, which merits kinder treatment.
The second side is considerably inferior to these ears. “Dancin` Feet” boasts a riff that I will be pleased never to hear again, and three of the other tracks, including “O Lucky Man”, the Alan Price film theme, are just ordinary. The exception is “One And A Half”, a solo by Ronnie Montrose which displays some of that subtlety I had hoped would be there in rather more force. Elsewhere, both he and Alcivar play better than competently, but there comes a point where, unless one is listening to Led Zeppelin, enough is enough of this sort of music. The production, by Montrose himself, doesn`t help much either, with a generally muddy feel and with the vocals mixed too far back for my liking. I suspect that this outing will produce no new converts.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Bowie, The sexual language of rock Part 2, Phil Spector, General Johnson, Climax Blues Band, Gil Scott-Heron, Slik.
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