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Skin Alley - Two Quid Deal?  CD (album) cover

TWO QUID DEAL?

Skin Alley

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.02 | 9 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

After getting the CBS boot, SA had to find a new recording deal and it doesn't seem like it was an easy task (and took a long time) as their next record came on unlikely labels: the trad folk Transatlantic label in UK/Europe and the soul Stax label in the new world. Strangely enough, they kept the producer of their first two album Fritz Fryer (but not Birch as engineer) and found a new drummer Tony Knight (ex-Bronx Cheer and Chessmen). The Two Quid Dea album (hopefully referring to CBS than their new album) was recorded well into 72 and came out with an atrocious Mickey Mouse artwork (it's amazing Disney never sued)

Opening on the heavy Nick's Seven with the unusual (for them) standard prog quartet (Dr, Bs, Kb and Gt), the track announces a more straight-forward rock direction, something confirmed with the funky 6- mins So Many People, the flute solo over the funky beat is only half-successful, but the track ends almost convincingly. Bad Words again veers straight hard rock (but is the highlight of the first side), until the interesting mid-section organ break, the track returns rebuilds slowly to its original groove; this is something that SA use and abuse over the course of their discography. Graveyard Shuffle is an uninteresting soul track as is the atrocious So Glad track (with an accordion solo if you can believe it) that you'd have a hard time recognizing Skip James' song version done fantastically by Cream.

After such a disastrous middle of the album (spread over two sides), finally the TQD album manages to grab the proghead's interest with the slow flute introduced A Final Coat track (one of the album's best tracks) with a much faster tempo past the first two verse, than a return to the wild instrumental interplay found on their first two albums, including a Jaxon-reminiscent sax. Up next is one of their best- known later tracks (released as a single) Skinvalley Serenade, a flute-laden instrumental track that could easily figure on early-Tull albums or early Focus. Another cool track is the above-average organ- driven Demagogue, but it's acoustic equivalent Sun Music following it is a constantly evolving track, even if hardly riveting, it holds our interest and ends the album on a medium note.

While the first side of TQD is of no interest to progheads (average at best and frankly boring at worst, the second part of the album saves it from sinking and even has some brilliant moments. But really apart from three tracks, this album might just as well be avoided by progheads looking to save both shelf space and hard-earned cash.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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