Has classic rock radio made a bad name for itself because the music doesn’t wear well with age, or is it because they keep playing the same old shit? In a perfect world, classic rock gems like Jericho would no longer be neglected by the airwaves and listeners would abound in new sounds from a previous era. Just imagine your local classic rock station slipped in one cut off this record, in place of the usual barrage of Zep and Skynyrd repeats; there could easily be a demand for this sweet sounding, authentic-as-it-gets, yet unissued and unplayed recording.
Jericho members Frank DiFelice, Denny Gerrard, Fred Keeler, Gordon Fleming hailed from Canada and recorded this one-off at the famous Bearsville studio in Woodstock, with engineering and production by Todd Rundgren. These guys were a part of the same scene as Jesse Winchester and The Band, sharing Rundgren as producer and art director Bob Cato between this and Stage Fright, and the music falls right in line, albeit with a harder edge.
They bust down the door with “True Fine Girl,” sounding like the Band on steroids with overdriven organ and screeching guitars notching a next-level sound. “SS #4” even sounds a little like hard rock “Cripple Creek,” but the key here isn’t loud guitar rippin but a loose knit down-home groove. There are nasty prog moves and killer Clavinet shredding on “Cheater Man;” Gordon Fleming really steals the show on keys, often overshadowing the guitar leads a rare feat for keyboardists. “Baby’s Gone Again” is a blues that shuffles harder than Cream and “Backtrack” is a killer Edgar Winter style instrumental with gnarly parts played thru Garth Hudson’s own Leslie speaker and Clav. I’m a sucker for “Goin’ To The Country,” a goofy, stoned country groover with wowy Moog bass replacing the “jug” line. The vocalist shines on this little number vocals are really great all the way through, actually that definitely stands out from the rest.
One track, “Make It Better,” would score a minor hit, but Jericho would be largely forgotten, unissued since its original release. I do find that this record tends to push a little too hard; it’s kind of relentlessly hard-rockin. But it deserved much more than it got.
by Brendan McGrath
Fred Keeler passed away on June 14th, 2019
1. True Fine Girl (Fred Keeler) - 2:43
2. The Road I Never Took (Gordon Fleming) - 3:17
3. Lonely As Me (Fred Keeler) - 2:35
4. Cheater Man (Fred Keeler) - 2:21
5. Baby's Gone Again (Fred Keeler) - 3:02
6. Goin' To The Country (Fred Keeler) - 3:24
7. Fool Killer (Mose Allison) - 3:49
8. Intro: Into My Blue Heaven/Backtrack (George Whiting, Walter Donaldson, Denny Gerrard, Frank De Felice, Fred Keeler, Gordon Fleming) - 4:27
9. Make It Better (Fred Keeler) - 3:23
10.S.S. #4 (Gordon Fleming) - 3:48
11.Do You Want Me (Fred Keeler) - 3:24
12.Can't Seem To Make It Happen (Gordon Fleming) - 5:40
*Frank DiFelice - Drums
*Denny Gerrard - Bass, Vocals
*Fred Keeler - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Gordon Fleming - Organ, Piano, Accordion, Vocals
*Todd Rundgren, Rhythm Guitar, Harmony Vocals