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Friday, November 17, 2023

Grinderswitch - Unfinished Business (1977 us, awesome southern boogie rock, 2012 edition)

Grinderswitch was one of the most soulful bands that rocked the South, and indeed the rest of the world, during the '70s, highlighting Dru Lombar's powerful vocals and guitar work; Stephen Miller on keyboards; Larry Howard on guitar; Rick Burnett on drums; and the late Joe Dan Petty on bass.

In 1977, the band found themselves in the studio working on their second album for the Atco/Rabbit label. This following the huge success of Redwing, and three less successful releases on Capricorn Records. Just as they got the album ready for release, they were shelved in favor of the latest trend in music, disco.

Twenty-three years later, this fine album has finally been released in its entirety for the very first time. The record was produced by Paul Hornsby, perhaps the best known producer ever to come out of the "Southern rock" scene of the '70s, and recorded and mixed by Sam Whiteside. The Muscle Shoals Horns are featured guests, as is the timeless Bonnie Bramlett, whose solo work and recordings with her former husband, Delaney, are the stuff of music history.

"How Come It Is" is a straight-up rocker that opens the album, backed by a tight horn section and laced with an adequate dose of B-3 organ from Stephen Miller, who also wrote the tune. "Moving on Back to You," a soul-stirring R&B number, is power packed, and Larry Howard's "If the World Was My Guitar," is absolutely haunting in its beauty and spirit. When the band covers Albert King's "You're Gonna Miss Me," it is so hot you can shut your eyes, feel the heat, and see the burning embers smoldering. "That's What You Get for Loving Me" has the Otis Redding vibe down to a tee, and Lombar once again sings at his soulful best. This is a great album, filled with soul, blues, rock, gospel, and even a little '60s pop, as in the band's rollicking cover of the Drifters' "I Count the Tears," a track that manages to combine elements of Southern rock with a definite early '60s radio-hit sound. "Dr. Hector's Traveling Show," which inspired the name of Dru Lombar's current band, Dr. Hector & the Groove Injectors, is a fun-filled rocker that is highlighted by Lombar's red-hot slide guitar and catch lyrics.

This is an incredible documentation of one of the best bands to come out of the South since the Allman Brothers Band, and a welcomed addition to any collection. 
by Michael B. Smith

1. How Come It Is? (Stephen Miller) - 3:37
2. Moving On Back To You (Dru Lombar) - 3:32
3. The Warm Kind (Stephen Miller) - 3:53
4. Your Gonna Miss Me (Albert King) - 6:23
5. Dr. Hectors Traveling Show (Larry Howard) - 2:22
6. I Count The Tears (Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman) - 2:52
7. If The World Was My Guitar (Larry Howard) - 4:26
8. Thats What You Get (Dru Lombar) - 3:09
9. Lady Luck (Dru Lombar) - 3:26
10.Wheel Of Fortune (Dru Lombar) - 3:56

*Dru Lombar - Vocals, Guitar            
*Stephen Miller - Vocals, Keyboards
*Joe Dan Petty - Bass, Vocals 
*Larry Howard - Guitar, Vocals 
*Rick Burnett - Drums
*Bonnie Bramlett - Vocals
*The Muscle Shoals Horns - Horns
*Austin Petit - Guitar (Track 10)
*Bonnie Raitt - Vocals 

1974  Grinderswitch - Honest To Goodness
1975  Grinderswitch - Macon Tracks (2009 edition)