Saturday, January 9, 2016

Amazing Blondel - 1974 - Mulgrave Street

Amazing Blondel 
Mulgrave Street


01. Mulgrave Street (7:24)
02. Iron & Steel / Leader of the Band (4:52)
03. Light Your Light (3:03)
04. Hole in the Head (2:17)
05. Help Us Get Along (3:48)
06. See 'em Shining (2:34)
07. Love Must Be the Time of Your Life (2:32)
08. All I Can Do (2:40)
09. Goodbye Our Friends (3:15)
10. Sad to See You Go (3:20)

- Edward Baird / guitars & vocals
- Terence Wincott / guitar, keyboards, vocal
+ Sue Glover / vocal
+ Eddie Jobson / violin, keyboards
+ Paul Kossoff / guitar
+ Sunny Leslie / vocal
+ John Bundrick / keyboards
+ Boz Burrell / bass
+ Pat Donaldson / bass
+ Mickey Feat / guitar
+ Simon Kirke / drums
+ William Murray / drums
+ Mick Ralphs / guitar
+ Alan Spenner / bass

On the previous album, they had dropped the "Amazing" in the album title. This seems to have been done at some level as a tribute to John David Gladwin who had left before it. Gladwin was the major writer during the "Amazing" period and it was he who imparted the Elizabethan folk feel to the first 4 Amazing Blondel albums. Yet the Blondel album seemed to be operating on reserves from the previous era. For "Mulgrave Street", we see a major transformation.
Amazing Blondel is now a much less distinctive soft rock band with folk underpinnings, with Eddie Baird taking over almost all the writing and singing. Think the gentler works of the latter day Beatles for an idea, with some early 70s influences. While they are backed by former members of Free about to become members of Bad Company, the first evidence of the amplification occurs in the last song of side one after a few fairly mundane tracks. "Hole in Your Head", is a hard bluesy rocker with impressive leads by Paul Kossoff. That turns out to be atypical of the album, which returns to side 2 mellow again but with much stronger material.

"Help Us Get Along" definitely has a soft Bad Company feel to it, not surprisingly given the presence of Mick Ralph, Simon Kirke and Boz. "See em Shining" is a lilting gentle piece, while "Love must be the best Time" is a ballad with a lovely melody, but the real winner is Wincott's "Goodbye our Friends", which is a superb folk rock parting song featuring wonderful vocals, bass and piano playing.

While this isn't progressive by any yardstick, it does grow on the listener, and that is always a high commendation. Blondel wasn't so amazing anymore, but good songwriting is good songwriting, and they had it in spades even without Gladwin.

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