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Riff Raff - Riff Raff CD (album) cover


Riff Raff


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.28 | 20 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Riff Raff's first (official) album was released in late 73, and engineered by Eddie Offord. The "classic prog" quartet, augmented on a rather permanent basis by guest saxman Beadle, develops a good mix of jazz and rock and the result comes out as more progressive than a Chicago, BS&T or The Flock, but I would not rate it as pure jazz- rock, brass-rock or fusion. With bassist Sutton as one of the main writer (he co-wrote all the tracks on the unreleased debut album) but often in partnership with Eyre, and guitarist Kirtley often contributing, the least we can say is that Riff Raff is a very multi- facetted band.

Opening salvo is an excellent tone-setter with a rather blues-based, jazz-laced soft- rocking extravaganza here the vocals can at times make you think of Plant's interventions (minus the voice and plus some multi-vocal chorus), making it a highlight. Followed by three lesser tracks (two of them written by Eyre) hovering between prog and soft rock, but with impeccable musicianship including cellos, 12-string guitars, flutes and saxes. The second-last track Joking is bringing back the brilliance of the lead-off song and sometimes the guitar feels like Duane Allman being still alive, too bad it ends in a fishtail spin. I guess all of you are waiting for the 12-min+ monster track, La MÍme Chose (the same thing), and yes, the track is THE highlight of the album with its slow intro, reminding Miles' Bitches Brew, but it quickly picks up into a superb mid-tempoed (English-sung) jazzy-rock (some Santana is detected here and there, mostly in Eyre's Greg Rollie-like organs) funked-up fusion. A superb moment, unfortunately making you long for more of it, but we are at the end of the album.

One of the main weaknesses of Riff Raff is maybe the lack of strong identity, induced by the many songwriters, this albums fails to completely convince the proghead. A strong start and a good finale of an album might be a little few arguments to make a strong album. Still definitely worth a spin, but not all that essential either.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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