Friday, September 22, 2006

THE ELECTRIC FLAG "The Band Kept Playing" (1974)

Recorded At Criteria Studios, Miami, Foride
Producer : Jerry Wexler

Nick Gravenites : Vocals, Guitar
Mike Bloomfield : Lead Guitar
Buddy Miles : Vocals, Drums
Barry Goldberg : Keyboards
Roger (Jellyroll) Troy : Bass, Vocals
Guest :
Richard Newell : Harmonica
George Terry : Guitar
Richard Tee : Keyboards
Barry Beckett : Mellotron & Moog
Muscle Shoals Horns...

01. Sweet Soul Music (3.55)
02. Every Now & Then (3.40)
03. Sudden Change (3.55)
04. Earthquake Country (4.00)
05. Doctor, Doctor (5.20)
06. Lonely Song (3.57)
07. Make Your Move (4.17)
08. Inside Information (3.40)
09. Talkin' Won't Get It (4.10)
10. The Band Kept Playing (5.15)
11. Spotlight (outtake-3.43)
12. I Was Robbed Last Night (Outtake-4.39)
13. I Found Out (Outtake-3.08)
14. Never Be Lonely Again (Outtake-3.34)
15. Losing Game (Outtake-3.17)

(01-10)LP/CD "The Band Kept Playing" (1974-Atlantic)
(11-15)CD "Electric Flag - Live" (1998-Get Back Rec.)

The Band Kept Playing contains some of the best music ever recorded by the Electric Flag, but it also demonstrates why they ultimately failed to catch on as well as they should have despite their impressive line-up. On the one hand, "Every Now and Then" ranks among the best songs Buddy Miles ever wrote, and "Earthquake Country" is a classic piece of early-‘70s soul-rock. Unfortunately, most of the material is well-played but rather short on energy and creativity. "Make Your Move," for instance, buries a promising clavinet riff under lazy, mediocre rock guitars and silly lyrics. The nadir, though has to be "Sweet Soul Music," possibly the corniest, most embarrassingly dated would-be rock anthem of the era. Though nothing else on the record is as abysmal, too much clearly shows that, by 1974, the Electric Flag was so burnt out and exhausted that their attempted comeback was doomed before it even started. Jerry Wexler's production, which sounds flat and unimaginative at times, emphasizes the horn section over the band members, even though their playing (especially Miles and Barry Goldberg's ) is often quite fluid. Sadly, it's not enough to save the album. Despite some intermittently exciting moments, The Band Kept Playing is a characteristic end to a promising but flawed career.


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