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Gypsy - In the Garden CD (album) cover

IN THE GARDEN

Gypsy

 

Eclectic Prog

3.08 | 16 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars By the time Gypsy entered the studio to record their second album (and the final one for Metromedia Records), their entire rhythm section had been replaced. Bongo player Preston Epps was gone, and former Blues Image percussionist Joe Lala sat in his place along with future Doobie Brother Willie Weeks on bass and soon-to-be Robin Trower drummer Bill Lordan. The core of the band in the form of guitarists Jim Johnson and Enrico Rosenbaum and keyboardist Walsh remained, but much of the group’s signature inflected percussion and almost world music sound had been replaced by a more straightforward heavy rock vibe. Rosenbaum seems to have decided to explore a more psych guitar sound, and Walsh’s keyboards are much less innovative and pronounced than on the band’s debut. The album barely slid into the bottom of the charts briefly before sinking, this one even more quickly than the last.

The music on this record is much less adventurous than the debut, and in a productivity reversal the band went from a double-album first album to a sophomore release that was barely thirty-seven minutes long and featured only seven tracks. Nearly a third of the record is consumed by the lengthy “As Far as you can See”, a sluggish and unambitious arrangement filled mostly with heavy organ fills and slightly fuzzed guitar. The gorgeous vocal harmonies from the first album are mostly gone here as well, although on this and “Here in the Garden” (I & II) the band attempts to revive those, but without much success.

There’s even a blues-rock number with “Blind Man”, another of many Gypsy songs that sounds a bit like an understated Chicago number without any of the spacious brass that band was so known for.

The album closes with another piano-laden song titled “Time Will Make it Better”. But unfortunately such would not be the case for the band, and despite the switch to a major label with RCA their next two albums drifted even further away from the creative sounds that made their first and best record so memorable.

This is an album by a band that still possesses a great deal of talent, but seems to have lacked the spark to reach for anything new or ambitious. They would drift apart shortly after releasing a fourth album in 1973, the victims of changing times and waning commitment. While I’d like to give ‘In the Garden’ at least three stars, it really doesn’t rate that and is most likely something only old fans of the group will find much to be interested in. Gypsy were a briefly interesting band who may have done better had they started their career on a major label with better support instead of the terminally money-strapped Metromedia. But these things happen, and as a result this goes down in history as a two-star effort. Only recommended for fans and the mildly curious.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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