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Autumn People - Autumn People CD (album) cover

AUTUMN PEOPLE

Autumn People

Crossover Prog


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Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars obscure 70s American one-off

Autumn People were based in Phoenix Arizona and released one album in 1976. According to drummer Steve Barraza the band were the most popular group in Phoenix at that time, and had extensive live activity that saw them playing clubs and ballrooms coast to coast. One of the band's friends from the period posting as Gregg in a music blog noted that they were always on the road between Texas and California, and that "Larry Clark was one of the two best guitarists I have ever heard live, always very quiet and always amazing! The group did all sort of music live, Progressive, Pop hits and even cabaret, putting on one of the best live shows ever." It was mentioned that they had almost secured an opening slot for Styx at one point only to have it fall through.

What we have here is a sincere local/regional act which possessed a fair amount of talent, especially guitarist Clark and drummer Barranza. I'm certain Gregg is correct that the band was much better live than on this album. But the Autumn People album is really of interest to prog-rock collectors and specifically those with an interest in somewhat cheesy 70s hard rock with proggy dressing. The band seems to be combining elements of groups like Wishbone Ash, Kansas, and Styx with a bit of Southern rock and hard rock, but it is a 2nd or 3rd rate impersonation at best, sorry to be harsh. There is a bit of progressive rock influence in the keyboards and arrangements, but only a bit. We're treated to some decent guitar playing as mentioned and some tight drumming, with a few lengthy instrumental passages here and there. The vocals are average at best. There are moments of nice mellotron and flute to give a proggy feel but it always veers back to essentially groovy, dated riff-rock with melodic choruses.

Granted, the poor sound of the Radioactive Records CD issue does not help matters, but there is little in the composition which is memorable. The most interesting thing about Autumn People to me is the band story Gregg and others posted on the net, it's always fun to read about obscure groups and their adventures from those days. This is not horrible music by any means and it might please some, but I can't quite get to a 3 star rating here. Perhaps hearing the original vinyl or a remaster with richer sound would have enhanced the listening. Most of the group continued on in music with other bands and still play.

Report this review (#297656)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Oh, what to say about Autumn People? How can express my simultaneous affection and exasperation for a band that sounds like it was unearthed from '69-'70 and thrust into 1976? Simple: decent riffs, occasionally memorable hooks, some lovely guitar playing. Autumn People feel, very keenly, like a band removed from their time and place, and the very poor production values of their lone album only serve to enhance this impression. It sounds like it was recorded at 2 AM at a hole-in-the-wall studio circa 1970; the vocals are decent, but occasionally grating to the ear, and the keyboard is often buried so deep in the mix that I have to pay very close attention to make sure I'm not hallucinating a phantom organ line. Taking all this into consideration, the band knows how to play. This is an easygoing album, inviting and clumsy and out-of-time (temporally; their drummer is actually pretty good). Pick it up for a curiosity, and you will find it lingering in that stack of albums you re-listen to occasionally with a smile.

Report this review (#297850)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US 70's obscurity with little info to be found considering it, coming from the hot lands of Phoenix, Arizona.Autumn People were Larry Clark on vocals/guitar, Cliff Spiegel on bass/vocals, Danny Poff on keyboards/vocals and Steve Barazza on drums/vocals.They released their sole and pretty rare self-titled album in 1976 on Soundtech Records.

Unlike the band's name, Autumn People played warm and sensitive music, rather similar to their land of origin, having a strong melodic sense and even flirting with Pomp Rock at moments, while definite nostalgic psychedelic touches are obvious in their sound.They recalled groups such as STYX, FAIRCHILD, Canadians ROSE and KANSAS, trying to mix melodic sensibilities with some more intricate musical structures, where the soft guitar touches of Larry Clark meet the diverse keyboard parts of Danny Poff, including organ and synthesizers.The tracks are memorable with occasional Hard Rock touches in the guitar moves and laid-back psychedelic atmospheres, while the vocals are simply great, clean and emotional singing from start to the very end.The longer tracks rely definitely under a more proggy vibe, blending guitar Hard Rock with pompous, orchestral keyboards and melodic vocal arrangements.

After their disbanding Clark collaborated in some groups with keyboardist Charles Thaxton from Magik Dayze, the most notable of which were the 80's Rush-influenced act Galileo II, that released the archival album ''Transmissions'' in 1999.Keyboardist Danny Poff remained linked with the music scene, performing occasionally around the area of Northern Arizona.

Beautiful Melodic/Psychedelic Rock, where the guitar work and vocals shines through and the keyboards add the discreet progressive flavor.Nothing more or less, warmly recommended.There is a CD reissue out by Radioactive Records.

Report this review (#1102722)
Posted Monday, December 30, 2013 | Review Permalink

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