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Automatic Man - Automatic Man CD (album) cover


Automatic Man

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Your interstellar tracking devices have brought you home.

Is it just me, or does the alien on the cover look a little stoned?

In a decade (1970's) filled with obscure prog gems here's another one to check out. It's one of those albums that kind of fell down the memory hole until it was re-mastered and re-released in 2004 and may still be down the hole.

This one probably won't work for you if your taste in prog is fairly narrow, but there is a way, there is a way, there is a way... There's a lot going on here and much to appreciate. Spacey, thanks to Bayette's synthesizer work and the lyrical themes, funky, jazzy, and yes it rocks. Might have even gotten some airplay.

Unconventional as a progressive progressive rock album, but beats a lot of the schlock that would come out of many of the established '70's progressive rock artists. Top notch musicianship and songwriting with a pop flair.

Report this review (#237339)
Posted Saturday, September 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm really psyched to see this classic on the site. I had this album "back in the day" and loved it. I think I found it for 99 cents somewhere in a cutout bin and the cover intrigued be enought to risk the buck. Good risk! So what is this? Space Prog? Fusion? Machine music? Jazz? Funk? Yep..all of the above. It's trippy, it's groovy, it's spacey....The musicianship is tight and they obviously were having a good time producing this obscure little gem. I would recommend this to those who like a little funk in their music (Santana fans?). The keyboard and vocal guy was on the second Peter Gabriel album. (Bayette). So, if you're ready to pop on the headphones, climb into the launch seat, get ready for the countdown, point your interstellar overdrive towards Pluto, and get Funkaprogified, then check this album out. If you can find it... My only complaint may be the sound seems poor on the cd I have. Poor mix? I remember my vinyl version sounding way better. Of course I'm WAY older now so it may just be my ears. 4 stars
Report this review (#271125)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, well, I finally hunted down this old contentious sucker, had it on vinyl when it came out and even though the cover artwork warned me not to sell it off, I did so, much to my recent regret. I was visited one night while asleep and this big-eyed blue hue whispered to me that I need to reintroduce this back into the fold. Ok, bossman, just don't tell Mulder and Scully!

Anything with Santana's muscular Michael Shrieve participating should be of interest, though this is no jazz-rock effort, in fact not even remotely close to Abraxas or Caravanserai. When Shrieve left the studio after the Yamash'ta/Winwood/Shrieve project was complete, he stayed in contact with bassist Doni Harvey and axeman Pat Thrall, the three connected with keyboardsman Bayete Todd Cochran (who would later star with Peter Gabriel). Let's get one thing straight, this is no masterpiece by a long shot, more a very curious, extremely original take on jazz/funk/space/pop/rock that has no parallels and as such is meritorious of inclusion in the prog pantheon. The overall sound is nothing glorious but there is such charm emanating from this unpretentious group, relying on Pat Thrall to illuminate the guitar skies, held down solidly by the Harvey/Shrieve foundation. Bayete masters a wide variety of keys, synths, clavinets and such but his vocals are weak in my opinion. Some pretty good funky rock tunes like "My Pearl", "Coming Through", "One 'N One" that are pleasant listens Then there some that are not quite as appealing such as the undercooked "Newspapers" which has moments but is mistreated by poor vocals and shoddy production. Similarly, "Geni-Geni" and "Right Back Down" fail to impress beyond the acceptable.

There are some incredible tracks here such as "There's A Way" with its great solo guitar and insistent like a hornet bass rant , the awesome and memorable title track, the Bowie- esque "Interstellar Tracking Devices" and the finale "Atlantis Rising Theme", all conveniently packed at the end of the album.

A good album that has its merits and deserving of cursory interest. Fantastic cover art though, Spoooooooky!

3.5 robots

Report this review (#646889)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This ultra obscure mid seventies release should be of mild interest to open minded listeners. This is a mashing of many styles and genres that will take several listens to fully appreciate. Crossover Prog is a fine designation as some of the tracks are quite progressive, some of the song names evoke images prevalent in progressive rock, and the cover art sure seems to scream prog. Still, there's a lot of pop, funk, r and b, ambient, electronic, doo wop.......elements that creep in.

While Michael Shrieve's name lends credence to the project, it's Bayete on keys and synths that steals the show. His atmospherics give Automatic Man its sound and enhance its listenability factor.

"My Pearl" "Interstellar Tracking Devices" and "Atlantis Rising I and II" highlight this package.

Fans of obscure prog and classic rock and roll should look in the bargain bin for this one. It's not great but entertaining and interesting for inclined parties.

The cover art should interest as many people as the music.

3.5 rounded up for obscurity sake

Report this review (#1450917)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2015 | Review Permalink

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