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Bead Game - Baptism CD (album) cover

BAPTISM

Bead Game

 

Crossover Prog

2.61 | 3 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Here's an odd and rather dated-sounding collection of pop-psych from the late sixties/early seventies. While the studio date is 1970, these are actually early recordings from Bead Game that were rumored to be the foundation of their second studio record, but wasn't released until 1996 which was nearly fifteen years after the group had disbanded.

Like so much music that was released in those days, there's a charming lack of continuity and direction with this collection of tracks. The influences are all over the place, from the slightly bluesy "Sweet Love" to a James Taylor-like title track (John Sheldon was a childhood friend of Taylor's), to several Jesus-freak leaning songs including "What a Day", "This is True" and the oddly titled "Nude Bathin'". There's a little bit of everything here, although not much that could be considered progressive and almost nothing that sounds like the band's other 1970 studio release 'Welcome'.

Some have referred to this as a 'religious' album, but tracks like the tongue-in-cheek "She's on the Rollin' Pin" (think about it) and the West Coast breezy "20 Dollars Bill" suggest the band was simply trying out different sounds to see what would click. In the end nothing really stands out, but there aren't really any duds here either. There is more emphasis on vocals, guitar and piano on this album, while 'Welcome' features more eclectic keyboarding and longer instrumental passages.

Most of the lyrics are rather trite or even meaningless, particularly those on "Rollerskatin' Baby", "Steamballin'" and the cliché-laden "Sweet Love", but the musicians are all quite good and the production is pretty tight given the youth of the band's membership and the time period. At times they remind me alternately of early Grateful Dead, James Taylor, a happier Warren Zevon and just a touch of Jackson Browne. Nothing to get too excited about, but a decent record nonetheless.

This may be a bit generous but I'm going to say this is a three (out of five) star affair, worth picking up if you run across it but certainly not something that should be heavily sought after.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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