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P. G. Six - Slightly Sorry CD (album) cover


P. G. Six

Prog Folk

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars The latest (so far) album of PG Six is not exactly answering the expectations that one fan would've had following his first three albums. Indeed, hardly anything to do with them as there is almost no UK folk influence; this album concentrates on folk rock from the other side of the Atlantic (theirs), and even then, Gubler does not look at his own Appalachian Mountains folk music; but heads directly west coast. Another thing that sets this album apart from his discography is that there is a full band (drums, bass, electric guitar) behind Gubler, even if he still pulls the huge share of playing diverse instruments, including an array of vintage keyboards (Wurlitzer, Hammond, Vox Continental) and a mellotron.

While unmistakably folk rock music, Gubler's surprising choice of direction in this album makes you wonder if it is indeed the same artist that recorded this album. Although you can still hear some Bert Jansch here and there, you'll more likely hear some CSN&Y influences (the album's best track being Strange Messages), Byrds' Twangle Jangle guitars (I've Been Travelling) and some later- Fairport and Richard Thompson twinges and even some Pentangle (mostly due to Gubler's Jansch-like timbre), but it all sounds slightly (but not overly) stale, even if flawlessly played. Helen Rush (from the Tower Recordings collective) is again present on vocals (as duets on three tracks including the other album highlight, End Of Winter), as are three other female vocalists, just providing a choral tone here and there. Unfortunately for PG's folk, his organ choices are not the wisest as Bless This blues and the closing Sweet Music are just not what you await from Gubler, the later track even pulling on Soul music..

Don't get me wrong, here, there's nothing wrong with Slightly Sorry (actually it's an enjoyable laidback album), but it's just lacking the ambitions of its predecessors. Hopefully Gubler will make this a one-off experience. Best start elsewhere to discover Gubler's superb aptitudes at excellent progressive folk

Report this review (#135302)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars I suppose this is sort of a 21st century version of selling out for a folk act. On his latest album Pat Gubler, better known as P.G. Six, has apparently abandoned his fetish for weird and obscure folk instruments and unique arrangements in favor of what can best be described as a fairly conservative series of west-cost pop-folk numbers. Perhaps the catalyst is his switch from the low-key indie label Amish Records in favor of Drag City, home to neo-psychfolk darlings Espers, Joanna Newsom, and the very tastefully named bluesman Randall of Nazareth.

In any case this is the most staid and unambitious work to come from Gubler in his lengthy and otherwise impressive career. The bands that immediately came to mind when I first listened to this album were CSNY and (of all things) Ben Folds Five. After several spins I’ve decided that’s a bit harsh, and am willing to spot Gubler the seventies pop-folk crooners America and maybe a little James Taylor as well.

Seriously though, there isn’t much to point to on this album that is innovative, captivating or even very interesting. Pretty much all the weird acoustic instruments from his previous albums are back on the shelf, and Gubler seems to be content to simply alternate between picking and strumming his acoustic guitar and plunking away on various outmoded keyboards. Former Tower Recordings songstress Helen Rush shows up once again with decent but rather conventional vocals, as does Aquanettas singer Debby Schwartz, Megan Reilly and Run On vocalist Sue Garner. Gubler has an actual band backing him, sort of. Bob Bannister and Robert Dennis of the oddball psych-rockers Tono Bungay man guitars, drums and Fender piano, while rocker Steve Connolly plays bass. But really these are only minor backdrops to Gubler’s vocals and that persistently plucky acoustic guitar.

Nothing really stands out here, although I will mention that “The Dance” and “Strange Messages” are the CSN&Y-sounding tunes; “I’ve Been Traveling” and “Not I the Seed” are the James Taylor clones; and “Lily of the West” qualifies as the America spin- off. Gubler's singing throughout accounts for the Ben Folds reference. The closing “Sweet Music” is the most interesting track (relatively-speaking) with some slightly peppy organ, a gospel-like tempo, and some pretty decent electric blues guitar in the latter part of the tune. But that’s about it.

‘Parlor Tricks and Porch Favorites’ is an adventure in odd instrumentation and unique, almost wyrd folk arrangements. But this isn’t that album, and it isn’t up to par for what one should expect from Pat Gubler. For fans of the man maybe, but this one won’t win him any new fans I don’t believe. Two stars.


Report this review (#156878)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink

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