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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stillrock - Stillrock (1969 us, awesome folk country psych, 2014 korean remaster)

A rock album released on Stax's Ernterprise subsidiary that was produced by Donald Duck Dunn and Don Nix, and featuring material by Nix and Don Preston ...   sounds like an interesting way to spend a couple of hours ...

Before recording as Stillrock (I've also seen it referenced as Still Rock'), guitarist/singer Don Preston, guitarist Bobby Cochran, bassist Casey Van Beek, and drummer Bob Young had recorded and album as Don Preston and the South ("Hot Air Through a Straw"). 

Perhaps because the name wasn't particularly cool, by 1969 the group had reinvented themselves as Stillrock, signing a contract with Stax's short-lived Enterprise subsidiary.   Co-produced by Donald Duck Dunn and Don Nix, the album showcased some real talent though much of the impact was lost across the eclectic mixture of genres that graced the eleven tracks.  As lead singer, Preston had an extremely likeable voice.  He was far from a great singer, but seemed to know his limitations and made the most of his range and capabilities.  The rest of the band were also pretty impressive with bassist Van Beek turning in a series of impressive performances.  

The band was also willing to experiment with some interesting musical mash-ups - check out the country-meets-psych ' Lost City Child'.   And too a large extent that was the big problem here.  It was simply hard to figure out who these guys were.  Bouncing around between country, pop, psych, rock, etc. left you wondering if they were simply auditioning as a wedding act.   That's not to take away from the album's strengths.  A couple of these tunes were really good with lots of mid-'60s radio potential.    'So Hard to Say Goodbye', 'Hiway Fever' and 'Waiting for the Door to Open'.   Unfortunately those tracks were offset by way too many bland, MOR-ish ballads ('I Can Remember') and equally irritating country moves ('Wedding Parade').   Worth hearing especially if you can find a reasonably priced copy.

1. So Hard To Say Goodbye (Don Nix, Don Preston) - 2:18
2. The Reach Of My Memory (Don Preston) - 3:05
3. Mighty Time (Don Nix) - 3:08
4. Rolling In My Dreams (Don Nix) - 2:47
5. Hiway Fever (Don Preston) - 2:20
6. Waiting For The Door To Open (Don Preston) - 2:54
7. Wedding Parade (Don Nix) - 3:11
8. I Can Remember (Don Preston) - 2:47
9. Lost City Child (Don Preston, Don Nix) - 2:48
10.When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (Issac Hayes, David Porter) -  3:37
11.She Was A Long Time Ago (Don Preston) - 2:42

*Bobby Cochran - Guitar,  Vocals
*Don Preston - Vocals, Guitar
*Casey Van Beek  - Bass,  Vocals
*Bob Young - Drums,  Vocals

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