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If - Waterfall CD (album) cover

WATERFALL

If

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.98 | 25 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The new and improved fourth album

Unlike the band's first three albums, "If 4" was not released in North America, reportedly due to management and contractual issues. Later the same year though (1972), this album appeared in its place in those territories. As can be seen from the track listing, no less than four of the tracks on this album also appeared on "If 4" with two ("You in your small corner" and "Svenska Soma") being replaced by "Paint your pictures" and "Cast no shadows". The track order too is completely different, with "Sector 17", which seems to have been pruned back a bit, losing its headline spot to this album's title song. The two new tracks were recorded by a a slightly different line up with a new rhythm section and without John Mealing.

The re-ordering of the tracks means that the album gets off to a much more satisfactory start, with two in your face slices of jazz rock ("Waterfall" and "The light still shines") providing a tight, brass fuelled, attention grabbing first 10 minutes or so. "Sector 17" retains the extended guitar noodling of "If 4", but the sax excesses are kept in check.

"Paint your pictures" is one of the two tracks unique to this album. The song leans on the blues side of the band, the simple backing rhythm supporting an extended lead guitar break and some fine brass. From the keyboards work, it sound like John Mealing may in fact still have been around for this recording. "Cast No Shadows" has a distinctly The Who feel to it in the Roger Daltrey like vocals. The track otherwise has more in common with Chicago than BS&T, being reminiscent of "Does anybody really know what time it is" (to these ears at least!). The album closes with "Throw Myself to the Wind", a straightforward jazz rock number with a toe-tapping rhythm.

For me, this is a far more satisfactory configuration of "If 4" than the UK release. The bland fusion experiments are kept firmly in check, with the album benefiting from a feel much more in line with If's previous releases.

The 2003 re-release of the album has three bonus tracks. The first two of these are a single A and B side which contained an edited version of "Waterfall" and "You in your small corner", the most commercial track on "If 4". The final track is a superfluous mono version of the radio edit of "Waterfall".

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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