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David Axelrod - Heavy Axe CD (album) cover


David Axelrod

Crossover Prog

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really.

A relative disappointment, partly due to its extremely misleading title and artwork, Heavy Axe is anything but close to hard or heavy rock. Indeed, we are sometimes very close to crooner music and one look to the album's line-up will convince you that we are light years away from Axelrod's Innocence debut album, despite keeping much of his trademark arrangements, production and songwriting. Despite the help of George Duke on KB, and Johnny Guitar Watson on?.guitar and some familiar voices, the album is more a miss than a hit. Indeed, it is marred with a bunch of cover tunes (including Carly's You're So Vain) that are completing some more competent songwriting from the master himself. Let's just say that, compared to his early classics, this album pales in comparison, because it's not conceptual (more like a direction-less compilation of unrelated songs) and features much vocals, sometimes in the crooner genre. Some even venture that this is somewhat influenced by his ongtime musical buddy, Cannonball Adderley, but don't really expect anything up that alley. BTW, don't look for either Kye on bass, Roberts on guitar or Palmer on drums. Their absences should tell you enough.

It'll come as no surprise that the better songs are the instrumental ones or the ones with better instrumental virtuosity, like My Family or the closing Everything Counts (a bit of a return to his early albums)? and Mucho Chupar with its very suggestive female voices. The rest of the tracks are not up my alley, despite not being able to stop lending a closer ear to the Carly Simon cover, which doesn't reinvent hot water. While I haven't heard most of Axelrod's mid-70's album, I can honestly say that Heavy Axe is not one of his better albums, and even one of his less representative ones in his discography. So you might want to stay away from this album until you've explored his more essential works - basically his first three albums.

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Posted Friday, October 11, 2013 | Review Permalink

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