Fresh Blueberry Pancake

Fresh Blueberry Pancake

Heavy

Shadoks

This is a record no one heard (54 copies were pressed, total) back when it was not-really-released (in 1970) from a band no one outside the greater Pittsburgh area had ever heard of. Plus it’s psychedelic power-trio hippie stuff with really annoying wavery vocals and smack-yr-head lyrics and some wanky-ass proto-metal guitar jazz/blues jams. It’s now been re-released by Shadoks, but I cannot imagine that anyone is asking for it.

Nonetheless, it’s awesome. You can appreciate it on two different levels: 1) oh my god this is so awful and out of time that it’s fun; and 2) against all odds, it rocks like a damned beast. Yeah, I imagine these three dudes had heard a lot of Iron Butterfly (Heavy is a very popular album name) and Hendrix and all them usual suspects, but John Behrens’s guitar playing is nice and loud and gothic, and Geoff Rydell is a capably unimaginative drummer, and Tony Impavido’s bass playing is better than his singing.

Look, this shoulda gotten these guys a record deal, and the fact that it didn’t probably spared us from/deprived us of a really weird album. Bad choices abound; “Bad Boy Turns Good” has some hyperactive overdone harmonica to go along with its neanderboogie, and the way-misplaced “I Call Him Lord” may be the song LEAST likely to make people convert to Christianity ever recorded. And whoever decided “My feet are draggin’ / My lips are saggin'” was a good rhyme with which to open “Sleep Bound” needs to be retroactively made fun of.

But, after you hear a few songs, you start getting into it a little. Well, okay, not “you” so much as “I.” When they wanna rock, they don’t mess around, like on the opener “Hassles,” which fuses a Zep-like riff with Impavido’s very Grace Slick vocal attack to create a soundtrack for bitching about The Man and boasting about how he plays his “ax” very very very well and if you don’t believe it you can go to hell. When Behrens cuts loose, it’s pedestrian and lowest common denominator and all that … but it’s also really satisfying and cool.

I know, against all odds. But it’s pretty fun, if you’re either a hardcore ironist or a lover of obscure Pittsburgh psychedelic bands or (maybe just maybe) you don’t snob yourself out of existence and you like fun music when it’s kinda dumb sometimes.

Psychedelic Music: http://www.psychedelic-music.com/

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