Saturday, April 8, 2017

Three Man Army - 1971 - A Third of a Lifetime

Three Man Army
A Third of a Lifetime

01. Butter Queen 5:20
02. Daze 4:02
03. Another Day 6:47
04. A Third Of A Lifetime 4:27
05. Nice One 4:09
06. What's My Name 5:05
07. Three Man Army 5:34
08. See What I Took 3:29
09. Midnight 5:21
10. Together 6:32

Additional Tracks
11. What's Your Name (Single Version) 3:29
12. Travellin' 4:00

- Adrian Gurvitz / guitars, organ Mellotron, vocals
- Paul Gurvitz / bass, vocals
- Mike Kellie / drums
- Buddy Miles / drums
- Carmine Appice / drums

Three Man Army_ consists of the nucleus Gurvitz Brothers (Adrian and Paul, both guitarists) who were formerly in the band Gun and wouldn’t really become known until they joined forces with Ginger Baker to form Baker-Gurvitz Army around ’74. Also playing with the band on this lp is drummer Buddy Miles, who along with a slew of solo lps, played on Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies lp in ’70, In addition, there's ex-_Spooky Tooth_ percussionist Mike Kellie and guitarist Brian Parrish the final pieces to the puzzle (which is why people scratch their head over the moniker - a five-piece?), and this is their debut (why “third” of a lifetime?).

While many say TMA have grown more roots in hard rock, I tend to think they mingle somewhere within the barriers of hard and, well, not exactly light rock, but moderate rock, for lack of a better term. Now then, if you were to hear only the first track on the lp, “Butter Queen”, you’d think I was nuttier than that guy you always see wandering down the road who continually talks to himself. “Butter Queen” is a great hard rock track, unconstrained with a pretty raucous main riff, lots of cool solos, rife drum work, and an almost untamed chorus. For me, the best track featured. “Daze” only cools the pace a little with short, lightly strummed/sung intervals that make the heavy breakouts all the more sonic. The medium-paced “Another Way” keeps the pace going more or less, a catchy lengthy number that should’ve at least seen some airplay. The real breather is the endearing, acoustically laid out instrumental that is the title track, swooning with violins and is probably a little too long for its goal. “Nice One”, another wordless ditty, is much different that it’s precursor. It begins with a basic bass/guitar rhythm with solos mixed in that kind of thumps forward aimlessly, but slowly generates momentum to a faster version of the same riff for a halfway decent track. “Three Man Army” is another fairly mellow tune with more solos you can shake a stick at and a clever riff that sneaks in at times until it’s finally in full view at the end. “See What I Took” would come off almost too poppy if it weren’t for the pounding interludes and ripping solos that hinge the verses together. Over to slow blues melodrama goes yet another instrumental in “Midnight”, though the not-so-customary organ backdrop gives it a slightly different verve. The finale is the oddball “Together”, a multi-faceted fracture of “Stairway to Heaven”-ish acoustics, an anthemic chorus, and some short bursts of progressing rock that never really seem to go anywhere, but gives the final embrace easily nonetheless.

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