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If - If 2 CD (album) cover

IF 2

If

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.58 | 30 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Tarmac T. Pirate's not as bad as he sounds

In an age when band seem to take several years between albums, it may seem strange that If should have released this their second album in the same year as their first. Back in 1970 though, such an event was far from unusual, many bands working on a six month cycle of touring and recording. We should of course remember that back then around 40 minutes was the norm for an album, but even so, the workload on a band was intense.

"If 2" is very much a continuation of the eponymous début, the unchanged line up moving at times into more commercial territories while retaining the jazz rock tenets on which their sound was based.

"Your city is falling" is the first of the six tracks here, the album opening with a delightful up tempo number which sees pretty much all aspects of the band's make up taking centre stage. Dick Morrissey's "Sunday sad" is an unusual song for the band, setting out as a slower, more reflective piece. J.W. Hodkinson offers a fine vocal performance on this 8 minute classic, which also features some dynamic guitar work by Terry Smith. As the track develops, the sax section pick things up nicely transforming the track completely. The oddly named "Tarmac T. Pirate and the Lonesome Nymphomaniac" is very much in the Blood Sweat and Tears vein, the actual song being far better than its title.

The second side (of the LP) is in some ways a mirror image of the first. The opening Dave Quincy song "I Couldn't Write and Tell You" though is not as frantic as its peer on side one. The vocals here are very Roger Daltrey (Who) like, Quincy delivering a surprisingly rock orientated song where his sax talents are kept largely in the background. "Shadows and Echoes" was co-written by Lionel Grigson with his then partner Margaret Busby. The late Grigson was well known during the early jazz/fusion scene, and was in fact a a member of If prior to the recording of their first album. The songs focuses on the band's softer, lighter side, featuring flute and a fine vocal.

The closing Hodgkinson composed "Song for Elsa, Three Days Before Her 25th Birthday" once again has similarities with the work of Blood Sweat and Tears around the same time, especially in the David Clayton-Thomas like vocals.

In all, an album which for my money matches up well beside the band's fine début. There is a good variety of styles and sound here, the songs are strong, and the performances first rate.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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