Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lighthouse - 1973 - Can You Feel It

Can You Feel It

01. Set the Stage (4:56)
02. Same Train (6:03)
03. Magic's in the Dancing (4:04)
04. Pretty Lady (3:57)
05. Disagreeable Man (5:29)
06. Can You Feel It (4:36)
07. Is Love the Answer (3:14)
08. Lonely Hours (6:25)
09. No More Searching (4:04)
10. Bright Side (4:26)

- Dick Armin / Electric Cello
- Ralph Cole / Guitar, Vocals
- Don Dinovo / Five string electric Viola
- Dale Hillary / Tenor and alto Saxophone, Vocals
- John Naslen / Trumpet
- Skip Prokop / Guitar, Drums, Percussion, Vocals
- Larry Smith / Piano, Trombone, Vocals
- Rick Stepton / Trombone
- Alan Wilmot / Bass

With the departure of lead singer Bob McBride and founding keyboard player Paul Hoffert, Lighthouse slimmed down to a mere nine piece outfit for "Can you feel it". In came sax player and vocalist Dale Hillary, Hoffert not being directly replaced. It was though the absence of Hoffert which was the more significant, such had been his input to previous albums in terms of song- writing and arrangements.

Ralph Cole and Skip Prokop write all the songs here with the exception of Dale Hillary's "No more searching". They do not however write as a team, the tracks working out as roughly alternating between them.

The general feel of the album is that it is under produced and arranged. The brass and strings on which the band's sound has leaned so heavily are largely anonymous and underemployed here. "Same train" for example is a decent song with a pleasant melody, but it feels understated and undistinguished. "Magic's in the dancing" is a very ordinary song, but does contain some fine electric viola played by Don DiNovo on his unusual 5 string viola. The albums did produce a further hit single "Pretty lady". This extremely catchy pop song will sound frustratingly familiar to anyone who hears it. It one of those songs you recognise but have no idea who it was by.

A couple of the principal shortcomings of "Can you feel it" are demonstrated on the title track. Compared to those of Bob McBride, the lead vocals are weak while the song itself is orientated too much towards the "get up and dance" commercial market.

Prokop's "Lonely hours" is one of the best tracks on the album being a slower blues, almost lounge like, song with smooth sax and some pleasant strings. Dale Hillary's "No more searching" only serves to demonstrate why he was only allowed to contribute one track to the album, this being a rather messy country rock tinged affair.

"Can you feel it" is not a bad album. It does however have the feel of a band who have simultaneously lost key members and are running out of ideas.

The album is long for an LP, running to over 47 minutes. In the main, this does not affect the sound quality but a producers note on the sleeve does recommend increasing the volume to compensate. The album came with a full size poster showing the mug- shots of the band members. Needless to say my poster is still safely concealed within the LP sleeve!

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