Load Have Mercy
01. Mobilized (6:28)
02. One Is Gone (1:46)
03. Something Suite (8:39)
04. Richter Scale (5:56)
05. Interstellar Debris (3:21)
06. The Narrows (6:16)
07. Choices (1:21)
08. Too Much To Believe (13:39)
09. Eitel's Lament (BONUS) (12:14)
- Sterling Smith / keyboards, vocals
- Dave Hessler / bass, guitars
- Tom Smith / drums
Tracks 1 to 8 recorded at Owl Recording Studios Inc., Columbus, Ohio in 1976-77.
Bonus track 9 recorded at MusiCol Recording Studios, Columbus, Ohio 1/1994.
I would consider this band as forgotten band of the seventies as very few knew them. Even the CD on my hands now was basically found by my prog-mate, Andy Julias, "by accident" from one of our local record stores down here in Jakarta, Indonesia. THE LOAD was a band that started in Columbus, Ohio, in March 1973, and conducted its career in California in 1980. They were partners in Owl Recording Studios, from which they released their first album "Praise The Load" in 1976. "Load Have Mercy" was the second of three albums the band recorded. (source: CD sleeve note). [My personal thanks to Max that has promptly put this album in this site].
THE LOAD music is a blend of Procol Harum, Uriah Heep, ELP, Kansas, and Rick van der Linden (Trace). Aha! When I mention these names, now it rings you a bell about sort of music these guys are playing hah? Hold your thought for a second. Don't misunderstand my statement as if you listen to the band by yourself, you may "partially" disagree with my statement. There are heavy influences of classical music in this album and bit of classic rock music. For my personal taste, this album is really excellent and I will tell you why on track by track basis. Hope that you don't get bored with it. You don't have to read this detailed review, just purchase the CD!
Mobilized opens the album with an excellent rock instrumental with electric guitar taking the lead of the music, combined with Hammond organ / clavinet D6. The tune starts off with a soft Sterling Smith's Hammond organ accompanied with an acoustic guitar fills. The style of Sterling's play is a blend of Ken Hensley and Procol Harum's keyboard player. The inclusion of clavinet D6 sounds in some transitions has enriched this track. The stunning electric guitar work played by Dave Hessler reminds me to the style of Procol Harum's, it's just much more rocking in this track. There is a segment where I can see the influence of "I want You" by The Beatles. Overall, this track is excellent and very satisfying my mind!
One is Gone is a very short track (1:46) but it's very nicely composed. It's performed in medium tempo with powerful vocals & backing vocals in happy mood, accentuated excellently by the Hammond sound. The short solo combining Hammond and piano is really really (I mean really!) excellent! It's enjoyable and accessible to any music buffs.
Something Suite (instrumental) opens with a common song familiar to my ears as it has been played by many bands including Marillion at the opening of "Margaret" live version track. Sorry, I don't know exactly, but it seems to me like a British traditional tune. When it reaches minute 1:35 - is now the time for the band's composition to play. The Hammond organ has again done a marvelous job in this track. Having explored the sound of Hammond, electric guitar takes wonderful solo. At the end of guitar work, Tom Smith does his fantastic solo drumming. Wow! What a dynamic tune this one is.
Richter Scale (hmm . the title seems so scary for me personally - it's a scale that is used to measure the magnitude of earthquake and tsunami that's just happened recently in my country). This is another fantastic song beautifully crafted by the band. It combines the improvised works of guitar, bass and clavinet. When Hammond takes part in solo work at the middle of the track, it's really killing me. It's then combined with a simple (but nice!) piano touch in classical music vein. The tempo turns faster at the end, accompanied with short drum solo. Oh my God! These guys are really geniuses!!!
Interstellar Debris (instrumental)starts of with a keyboard work; the music flows unexpectedly with a very nice texture. The rhythm section has repeated chorus but it's not boring because keyboard and guitar fill in the transitions and interlude. Some musical passages remind me to Babe Ruth music, especially "First Base" album.
The Narrows (instrumental) starts with a bass solo that at first bar almost mislead me to the opening bass line of "I Am A Camera" (Yes "Drama"). But it's not the case as when the music flows with Hammond organ takes the melody, it's different. The clavinet solo during interlude is played in a jazz music vein. The combination of drumming and guitar works is fantastic!
Choices opened with a church organ followed with a voice line and percussion. It's a short track that welcomes the next wonderful track.
Too Much To Believe is an epic that opens with a soft organ work followed by full music crescendo with unique singing style at voice line. I like the rhythm section of the opening part which is dominated by organ sound - bit of Ken Hensley style. At approx minute 3:00 the music enters into a passage where soft bass guitar play accompany solo organ, augmented with soft drumming. This segment reminds me to Kansas. The organ solo is soooo fantastic and it can bring me to the journey to the "other world". Oh mannnn ... I love it very much! What makes me happy is that this nice piece performed relatively long. It then flows to a pure (without any other instruments played) organ / clavinet solo with classical music influence. It reminds me to the work of Rick van der Linden (TRACE). Nice solo, but it may tend to bore the listeners. The music returns back to the original tagline melody. A track of my favorite!
Eitel's Lament (instrumental) kicks off with organ work augmented with a soft marching drum. The bass line brings the music in its full stream with great drumming - again, it reminds me to Kansas music. But interestingly, when lead guitar enters the music, it gives me a nuance of Procol Harum's song "Repent Walpurgis" (ugghh . wonderful track of the Harum!). The solo guitar is really stunning especially with the background of seventies style rhythm section. The inclusion of acoustic guitar work with soft organ sound (at background) in the middle of this track is a fantastic idea! Especially when the organ gradually increases its sound. That's not the end yet! When electric guitar follows in a style of "Repent Walpurgis" style, it's able to create a sort of "cry" deep in my heart (hey, I'm not exaggerating, this is real! The melody is really killing! Like Repent Walpurgis kills me, really!). The ending part is colored by amazing organ work in the vein of Ken Hensley. Wonderfully crafted track! I would doubt your "progness" (new vocabulary!) if you do not enjoy this long instrumental track! Very highly recommended!!