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Monday, August 24, 2015

Climax Blues Band - Sense Of Direction (1974 uk, magnificent blues funky rock, 2013 remaster and expanded)

On their 1974 studio album, Sense of Direction, Pete Haycock (guitars, vocals), Colin Cooper (sax, flute, clarinet, vocals, rhythm guitar), Derek Holt (bass, vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), and John Cuffley (drums) wrote a bunch of songs that seemed to distance themselves from the more Chicago blues flavored material they had come up with previously, a trend that actually started on 1972's Rich Man album and continued more and more with each successive record.

Opener "Amerita/Sense of Direction" combined not only some fiery blues, but also hard rock & jazz fusion, as Haycock's guitar and Cooper's sax blast off into a complex, unison burst of energy over tricky rhythms, then settle into an dreamy atmospheric section that segues into the slide guitar blues of "Losin' the Humbles". Cooper's laid back vocal drives the alluring blues/pop of "Shopping Bag People", another piece filled with Haycock's tasty slide guitar solos, while "Nogales" is catchy rock 'n' roll, not unlike what the Steve Miller Band was creating right around the same time. Haycock's shimmering lead guitar lines introduce "Reaching Out", a funky, jazzy rocker with great vocals, tight rhythms, smoky sax, and crisp guitar work. "Right Now" is a smoldering blues number, led by Haycock's stinging guitar lines and Cooper's lazy vocals & smoky horns. The album reaches its climax with the groove laden hard rocker "Before You Reach the Grave" and the rootsy, bluesy, almost Grateful Dead sounding " Milwaukee Truckin' Blues (Chipper's Song)".

As with all the other Esoteric/Cherry Red reissues, Sense of Direction features remastered sound (well done as always), and a selection of bonus tracks, of which the BBC Radio One tracks are the highlights. The booklet here is filled with photos and a nice long essay from Malcolm Dome, who talks about the bands history and the album itself. With the death of Colin Cooper a few years ago and Pete Haycock just days ago, all these Climax Blues Band reissues couldn't have come at a better time. If your only memory of this band is "Couldn't Get it Right", trust me, you need to explore them further. 
by Pete Pardo

1. Amerita / Sense Of Direction - 6:07
2. Losin' The Humbles - 2:38
3. Shopping Bag People - 4:02
4. Nogales - 4:10
5. Reaching Out - 5:17
6. Right Now - 6:33
7. Before You Reach The Grave - 3:13
8. Milwaukee Truckin' Blues (Chipper's Song) - 1:43
9. A Sense Of Direction - 3:32
10.Shopping Bag People - 3:58
11.Amerita / Sense Of Direction - 6:23
12.Right Now - 6:13
13.Milwaukee Truck Song Blues - 2:46
14.Losin' The Humbles - 4:32
All songs written by Climax Blues Band
Bonus Tracks 9-14

The Climax Blues Band
*Colin Cooper - Vocals, Alto, Tenor Saxes, Rhythm Guitra, Clarinet
*Pete Haycock - Vocals, Lead Guitar. Slide, Acoustic Guitars
*Derek Holt - Vocals, Bass Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Electric Piano
*John Cuffley - Drums, Percussion

1969  The Climax Chicago Blues Band (2013 remaster and expanded)
1970  A Lot Of Bottle (2013 remaster and expanded)
1971  Tightly Knit (2013 remastered with bonus tracks)
1972  Climax Chicago - Rich Man (2013 bonus track remaster) 
1973-79  Climax Blues Band - Live Rare And Raw (2014 Release)

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  1. Is there anyway you can post FM Live (with the definitive "I Am Constant") @320 if possible. Thanks!

  2. Would you consider re-posting all of the Climax Blues Band ablums in FLAC? I was able to DL the stamp album but all other links are dead. Thank you!

  3. Patthekat,
    I'll do that soon.
    Thank you.

  4. I can really chill with these guys