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ANTITHESIS

Gypsy

Eclectic Prog


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3 stars First reviewer - cool!. I'll start by saying that if you know Gypsy at all, especially from their 1st double album, you will equally enjoy this one. All the original elements are there, WONDERFUL harmonies, nice guitar work etc. The most immediate difference I hear is a more modern jazzed up - maybe a little 'funkier' Gypsy.

For those not familiar, I'll say that it's not really a very "progressive" album in the strictest sense. But if you like a nice variety of compositions, good harmonies, and nice organ work, check it out. Before I review each track, let me comment on the "biography" section here. I can certainly see the CHICAGO reference,though I think they have a unique sound (I'd recongnize any Gypsy song easily). but I wouldn't think of SANTANA here - no latin vibes. That writer calls this album "bubble gum pop" - I happen like bubble gum pop and this aint it.

Now on to the tracks:

1. Crusader. Nice base line driven tune - as a I said a bit funky in places. And, hey! the Prog lyrics are there: "Oh Crusader, sword in hand, Drive the demons from this land. Toungues of dragons firing lies. PLease Crsader save our lives!" Soaring harmonies (ala CSN, Eagles), short guitar solo, 6/10.

2. Day After Day. Very's 70's cool sound. Catchy tune. A "complete" song if that makes sense. 9/10.

3. The Creeper. A bit of blues here. Voodoo lounge baby! 7/10.

4. Facing Time - VERY funky base to start, rock stead drum beat and high hat. Some very good Hammond keyboards and bendy guitar. Reminds me a little of Chicago of the time. 8/10.

5. Lean on me. Piano solo and organ background. Solo lead singer this time (James Walsh?) followed by some nice (as usual) backing choir-like harmonies. A gospel quality to it. Short but sweet. 7/10.

6. Young Gypsy (3:06) . A bit more heavy rock here. Singing is nothing to get excited about, nor the lyrics. Lead guitar (James C. Johnson) and wah-wah rythm guitar (Enrico) are decent but otherwise - eh. 4/10.

7. Don't Bother Me. (Rosenbaum is the song writer not part of the title!).

8. Travelin' Minnesota Blues (Go Gophers)

9. So Many Promises. Hey it's The Little River Band! hehe 6/10.

10. Antithesis (Keep Your Faith). Slower song. Nice Hammond and harmonies. Very pleasant. 9/10.

11. Edgar (Don't Hoover Over Me). Put's in mind Little Feat's Dixie Chicken. Fun little song, some blues funk. - probably the least "prog-like" but ok. 6/10.

12. Money. Starts out a bit bland but speeds up at the end and contains a nice little organ solo. 7/10. James Walsh is no Rick Wakeman but listenable non the less.

So, if you like the first two albums, I think this one still holds up against them. If its the beginning of a slide, I'd say we are still on the shallow slope. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars if I could. Not essential but not a disappointment either.

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Send comments to geminn (BETA) | Report this review (#56779)
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Gypsy's third album couldn't offer anymore that much interesting music for me and I guess for most Prog fans. Obviously the band was trying here to get more into a straight forward mold with some possible commercial success in mind. Overall the pleasant vocal harmonies from their two previous releases are still present and at times as well some pretty good Hammond sound. But unfortunately there are only two outstanding tracks here, where these two features really come to their own that are "Young Gypsy" and "Money" both being great rocking ones and revealing brilliant play on guitar, drums and organ. "Lean On Me" and the title track are nice organ-dominated ballads but not that special either. "Don't Bother Me Rosenbaum" and "So Many Promises" absolutely hit the rock bottom of this album here whereas the remaining six tracks aren't bad ones in any way but don't go beyond a funky harder-edged blues rock quite typical for early seventies. As a summary though being quite a solid rock album this one can be rather considered a collector's item for fans of this band or 70's funk rock in general but in the context of this wonderful site here I can't give more than 2 ½ stars!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#100953)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars With Gypsy’s third studio album the band finally had the benefit of a major label backing them, having left the ailing Metromedia label for RCA. But unfortunately the band seemed to have fallen into a trend at the time toward southern boogie music, and much of the highly percussive Latin and strong vocal harmonies are gone on their debut for the new label. Gone also was bassist Willie Weeks; the band fielded their third bass player in as many albums with the competent but unremarkable Randy Cates, who at least brought the added advantage of being able to supply backing vocals on a few tracks. Weeks would go on to a long career as a studio and tour journeyman, and showed up a couple years later on David Bowie’s ‘Young Americans’ album among other places.

This record is notable in its remarkable un-remarkableness if nothing else. Guitarist Enrico Rosenbaum’s brief foray into psych has given way to pedestrian blues-centered rhythm, and the percussion here is limited primarily to snare drums and cymbals. Gone also are the long, elaborated arrangements of their earlier albums, replaced by bite-sized, radio-friendly mini-tunes that probably could have garnered the band a few hit singles, although as far as I know none of them were ever released as such.

The band manages to squeeze in a few vocals harmonies, most notably on “So Many Promises” and the title track. Elsewhere they seem to be resorted to uninspired jam sessions, such as on the brief and incomplete-sounding “Travelin' Minnesota Blues” and the rambling “Money”, which also suffers from a rather muddy mix.

The first couple of songs on this album remind me quite a bit of the early, less grandiose Steely Dan albums on many ways. “Day After Day” in particular wouldn’t have been out-of-place on “Cant’ Buy a Thrill” or “Pretzel Logic”. The quality of the compositions and arrangements seems to wane as the album progresses though, and the last couple of tracks lack any distinguishing charactertistics.

The CD reissue doesn’t offer anything new from the original vinyl release, and as with their second album I’m struck by the fact that this band debuted with a double studio album, and followed it up with two consecutive albums less than forty minutes and clearly including some filler (“Young Gypsy” and the lackluster piano ballad “Facing Time” in the case of this album).

I’ll always rank Gypsy’s debut among my favorite American prog rock albums of the early seventies; the ambitious, lengthy and elaborated production and layers of sounds are rather remarkable for such an unknown act on such a minor label. But like Wishbone Ash (to whom they can be reasonably compared on many levels), the band seems to have lost focus and drive as their career progressed, and by the end there just wasn’t much left to get excited about. Maybe just a tiny hair better than collectors-only, so I’m going to plant three stars on this one, but only by the narrowest of margins.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#182165)
Posted Wednesday, September 10, 2008 | Review Permalink

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