Κυριακή, 11 Οκτωβρίου 2009

Mike Harrison - Smokestack Lightning


Best known as one of the founding members of The V.I.P.s and Spooky Tooth , following the release of 1971's "The Last Puff" and the breakup of Spooky Tooth, vocalist/guitarist Mike Harrison set off in pursuit of a solo career. Recorded at Muscle Shoals Studios, 1972's "Smokestack Lightning" was co-produced by Harrison and Chris Blackwell. While it wasn't perfect, his sophomore release was far stronger than the debut. On the downside Harrison remained a singer of limited capabilities (an expansive vocal range wasn't one of his strengths). Moreover, on tracks such as "Paid My Dues" Harry Robinson's extensive string arrangements all but drown Harrison's lower register vocals. Those criticisms aside, backing from Spooky Tooth alumnus Luther Grosvenor (who turned in a couple of tasty guitar solos - check out "I Wanna Be Free") and the cream of Muscle Shoals studio players (Barry Beckett, Clayton Ivey, Roger Hawkins, etc.) certainly helped salvage material such as "Tears Behind My Eyes" and the self-penned "Turn It Over". Harrison also proved fairly deft working with the blues - "What a Price" and the title track (though clocking it at over 12 minutes, it was six minutes too long), were both impressive, sounding like something off one of the early Spooky Tooth LPs. To our ears it's probably the best of his three solo releases. Unfortunately, with sales proving non-existent, the following year Harrison and Gary Wright (to that point equally unsuccessful with his solo career) reformed Spooky Tooth. "Smokestack Lightning" track listing: 1.) Tears Behind My Eyes (Jimmy Stevens) - 4:13 2.) Paid My Dues (Jimmy Stevens) - 4:20 3.) What a Price (Domino - Maddux - Jussup) - 5:51 4.) I Wanna Be Free (Joe Tex) - 4:12 5.) Turn It Over (Mike Harrison - Luther Grosvenor) - 6:30 6.) Smokestack Lightening (C. Burnett) - 12:29

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