Saturday, November 26, 2016

H.Y. Sledge - 1971 - Bootleg Music

H.Y. Sledge 
Bootleg Music

01. Citation On Liberty 5:22
02. Such An Easy Day 2:58
03. Canadian Exodus 7:40
04. Cellophane Lady/No Where To Go 3:56
05. Ride The Waves 4:07
06. I'm Your Brother 3:28
07. Tamara 2:20
08. Day Of Realization 2:05
09. It's In The Air 4:46
10. Finding It 2:23

Richard Porter – guitar, piano, harpsichord, acoustic, vocals
Michael Eubank – organ, piano, acoustic, vocals
Jan Pulver – bass, cowbell, gun shots, vocals
Billy Jones – guitar, keyboards, vocals
Monte Yoho – drums

For an album that's hopelessly obscure, there are sure a lot of online reviews for 1971's "Bootleg Music".  The problem is 99% reflect the same 63 word review spewed over and over.   Needless to say, that brief description simply doesn't provide a great deal of insight into this collection.

Calling Valparaiso, Florida home, H.Y. Sledge featured the talents of singer/keyboardist Michael Ewbank, multi-instrumentalist Billy Jones, former Wilkinson Tri-Cycle guitarist Richard "Dickie Porter, bassist Jan Pulver, and drummer Monte Yoho.  Pulver had previously been a member of Those Five, while Jones and Yoho had been members of the Tampa-based Dave Graham Band.  Interestingly, only credit Ewbank, Porter, and Pulver were credited on the album liner notes, which also fail to provide any writing credits.

Signing a recording contract with Shelby Sumpter Singleton Jr.'s SSS International label, the group made their debut with 1971's "Bootleg Music".   Co-produced by Ewbank and Porter, the album wasn't  the most original collection you've ever heard.  The band were certainly talented with a couple of decent singers and an excellent bassist.   Unfortunately most of the material failed to display anything in the realm of creativity, or enthusiasm.  They just sounded kind of tired ...  To my ears tracks like 'It's In the Air' and 'I'm Your Brother' recalled a slightly more muscular Association.  Don't get me wrong, I like The Association, but if I want to hear Baroque-pop, that's probably the band I'll put on.  So what were the highlights?  Apparently inspired by American draft dodgers who were heading North the extended 'Canadian Exodus' had a hip Classics IV pop-jazz vibe.  'Such an Easy Day' was the best of the ballads, adding a light lysergic touch to the mix.  Totally unlike the rest of the album, 'Day of Realization' had a sunny, pop-psych retro sound.  It was my choice for the album's standout performance.

Professional, if seldom truly exciting.  Being signed by SSS International certainly didn't increase the band's chances of breaking nationally.  The hideous album artwork didn't help either and as you'd expect, the album vanished without a trace.

Ewbank reappeared as a member of the The Tall Guys and the short lived Butch's Brew.

Jones and Yoho reappeared as members of The Outlaws   Jones committed suicide in February 1995.

Monte also did time with BlackHawk and The Henry Paul Band.

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