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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Puzzle - Puzzle (1969 us, strong hard rock with blues and psych traces, 2010 Flawed Gems reissue)

Short-lived outfit showcased the talents of bassist Curt Jonnie, the late guitarist Tony Grasso and drummer Mike Zack (Jonnie and Zack had previously played in the band Wild Honey; while Zack was briefly a member of The Cherry People).  Largely unknown, for what it's worth,  Puzzle may be one of Washington D.C.'s best late-1960s rock outfits. 

Signed by ABC Records, the trio's self-titled 1969 debut teamed them with producers Ed Kramer and Jay Senter.  Largely written by Grasso and Jonnie, tracks like the leadoff rocker 'Hey Medusa' (which for some reason wasn't shown on the album track listing), 'Make the Children Happy' and 'Babe' offered up a first rate set of hard-rock.  Complete with strong melodies, some excellent harmony vocals and occasional shots of fuzz guitar (courtesy of Grasso), "Puzzle" put lots of better known names to shame. 

Mind you there wasn't anything particularly original or earth shattering to be found on the set, but these guys played with considerable enthusiasm and energy. While their predominant orientation was hard rock, tracks like 'No Complaints' and 'Golden Butterfly' demonstrated a more commercial, though no less appealing sound.  To be honest, the only disappointments were the seemingly endless blues-rock workout 'Working for the Rich Man' and a heavily phased and less-than-convincing foray into psych 'Got My Head Right Yesterday' (which actually started to grow on you given a couple of beers and some time to kill). 

1.  Hey Medusa  (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie) -  2:51
2.  Make the Children Happy  (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie) -  2:48
3.  Working for the Rich Man  (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie) -  7:34
4.  No Complaints  (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie) -  2:50
5.  Got My Head Right Yesterday (Part 1)  (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie) -  1:00
6.  Babe  (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie, Eddie Kramer) -  3:00
7.  Piggy Back Ride  (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie) -  2:40
8.  Golden Butterfly   (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie) -  3:05
9.  Got My Head Right Yesterday (Part II)  (Tony Grasso, Curt Jonnie, Eddie Kramer) -  6:00

*Tony Grasso - Lead Guitar, Vocal
 *Curt Jonnie - Bass Guitar, Vocal
 *Mike Zack - Drums, Vocal.
 *Ed Kramer - Piano

Free Text


  1. Great album, thanks very much Marios!

  2. Miss you like it was yesterday sweetheart - Love you, Tony

  3. Strong album. thank you very much!

  4. Hi folks. Knew Curt when Puzzle was together. I played with Chuck Bennett, and Pete Williams in Hillow Hammet. We used to visit Curt and his wife across from the Cathedral on Wisconsin Ave.
    I know Mike is gone. Is Curt still alive and kicking. Loved those days. Puzzle ROCKED!! Thanks.
    Mike Previti

  5. Schlabbeduddel, "Puzzle - Puzzle 1969", fixed..