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Frijid Pink - Defrosted CD (album) cover

DEFROSTED

Frijid Pink

 

Heavy Prog

3.03 | 10 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Getting warmer

Having enjoyed major commercial success with their inspired interpretation of "House of the rising sun", Frijid Pink tried hard to emulate that achievement within a year. To be fair, the band remained faithful to their blues rock roots, the line up remaining unchanged save for the departure of bassist Tom Harris. Do not be misled though by the apparent arrival of new bassist Tom Beaudry, he is in fact simply lead vocalist Kelly Green using his real name rather than his stage name! Bizarrely, he is therefore credited under both names giving the misleading appearance that the band remained a five piece (including keyboard player Larry Zelanka who was actually considered a "guest" musician on the first two albums).

"Defrosted" finds the band progressing well musically, although the songs here fall short of being prog as such. The opening six minute "Black lace" has a more complex arrangement than anything which appeared on the band's eponymous début. Green's vocals sound ever more like those of the great Burton Cummings (Guess Who), his confidence in his own abilities clearly maturing with the band's ambition. He moves up a further gear on the reflective blues "I'll never be lonely", where he gives his finest vocal performance thus far, while Gary Ray Thompson adds a wonderful Leslie West (Mountain) inspired guitar solo. The following "Bye bye blues" maintains the moody blues (small letters!), the track also finishing with a stonking lead guitar solo, which unfortunately fades in full flow.

The 8+ minute "Pain in my heart" is a wonderful extended blues rocker which sounds like a single take live in the studio number. The extended nature of the track is simply down to some lead guitar improvisation, the song as a whole reminding me of The Guess Who's captivating live performances of "American woman".

The band's attempt to follow up their singles success by appealing to those who discovered the magic of "The house of the rising sun" is included here in the form of "Sing A Song For Freedom", but while it captures the mood of the early 1970's ("Joy to the world", "Give peace a chance", etc.), the song is prosaic and anonymous. A couple of other tracks (the instrumental "Sloony" and "I'm moving") fall into a similar category, being enjoyable but unremarkable.

As I mentioned in my review of the band's first album, both of Frijid Pink's 1970 releases would have constituted excellent proto prog albums had they been released a few years earlier. Overall though, this is a pleasing listen, especially for those who seek the blues influences on early 70's prog (a facet rather lost in the overemphasis on the contribution of orthodox jazz). The music here is certainly not over complicated, but the proficiency of these quasi-live recordings is clear, and the band's ambitions becoming apparent. In one of the most obvious examples of a double edged sword, those ambitions would be realised on the next album, but not before a couple of unexpected departures.

The CD re-issue includes four bonus tracks, which formed two subsequent non-album singles A and B sides. "We're gonna be there" is the most interesting of these, being a liberal interpretation of "When Johnny comes marching home".

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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