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FRENCH LICK

Crossover Prog • United States


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French Lick biography
Founded in Fullerton (LA), California, USA in 1976 (?)

A Californian combo FRENCH LICK are known as one of the most obscure one-off rock projects in mid 1970s. Their brilliant work can be heard via their only one creation "Glider" released in 1976.

Founded by Jon Willoughby, later known as Jon St. James

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3.48 | 6 ratings
Glider
1976

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FRENCH LICK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Glider by FRENCH LICK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.48 | 6 ratings

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Glider
French Lick Crossover Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

3 stars Guess all members would have worked out in various music scene, especially the rock world. A US rock combo FRENCH LICK are known as one of the most obscure one-off projects in 1970s. Some creations by 1970s short-lived projects sound quite amateur-ish actually, but fortunately their technique for playing is not bad and sound construction is quite solid and tight enough to ring the bell of every progressive rock fan. Square rock texture seasoned with catchy pop flavour and analogical jazzy essence (suggest they'd have learned jazz or launched jazz on stage) in their stuff "Glider" released in 1976 is charming and acceptable, and such a fantastic soundscape should put this creation on the underground progressive rock map.

Yes it can be easily imagined the first shot "Moontune", drenched in comfortable melodic departure and favourable instrumental touches, might have got massively inspired by 70s British progressive rock movement. Delightful, dreamy beats remind me directly of Früüpp's "The Prince Of Heaven's Eyes" or something. Smooth jazzy attachment created by their rhythm section is very fascinating in the following track "Watercolours". Various factors like spacey hints or symphonic vibes are prescribed in the album but all elements are enough merged, synchronized and matured. This is the reason every song can be heard under relaxed condition (on the contrary we can say there is a lack of exciting ... e.g. "Michael In Paris" is nothing but a trad folk, or "Talk About Love" is a funny pop). The last titled track is clearly cool and fantastic but not enough to get owed by every pop tracks. Cannot deny there is kinda loose style and scape in the whole album, and can understand why they'd been disbanded soon.

Aside all mentioned above, it's one of unknown gems in progressive rock scene. No suspicion.

 Glider by FRENCH LICK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.48 | 6 ratings

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Glider
French Lick Crossover Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've been aware of French Lick since 1996, thanks to a prog rock mail order catalog called Aeon Music was selling a copy (the catalog specialized in rare and hard to find prog on vinyl and CDs, as well as reissues). They described it something like "Kinda like Yes, 10cc, and American-sounding prog. Well worth owning." French Lick, is the name of a town in Indiana, but I'm not 100% certain if the band named themselves after the town, the band certainly didn't hail from Indiana, but from Fullerton, California. But strangely this band did perform a pomp/prog hybrid that was frequently common to Midwestern bands without a Southern California vibe you get with many of their contemporaries. It's a strange combination of more straight-ahead pieces and a bit more experimental parts, with some rather creative use of synthesizers. Like many of those Midwestern bands of the time, French Lick clearly had both commercial and creative ambitions, but it doesn't clash like many actual Midwestern bands. There are songs like "Watercolours", "Michael in Paris" and "Talk About Love" that are pretty straight ahead like they were meant for radio airplay but they're still great numbers. "Talk About Love" unexpectedly breaks into a wonderful, but short spacy synth solo. "Michael in Paris" is a rather pleasant acoustic piece. But then the band gets more experimental with multi-movements suites where they get borderline eclectic prog. I even love how they quote Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Resolution" (from Birds of Fire) on "Ibiza". The band was lead by Jon St. James, then Jon Willoughby, who later played for the dreaded Stacey Q. in the 1980s. There's a Robin Williams as guest on percussion, but very unlikely the famous actor/comedian, as Mork & Mindy didn't appear until 1978, and he was still an unknown living in San Francisco. For the type of music, I wasn't sure if I would like it given the description Aeon Music gave back in the 1990s, instead this album truly blew me away. Sadly it's never been reissued leaving you to fork out the three digit price of an original LP. Not typical for a California band, more typical of a Midwestern band, but as Aeon Music stated "Well worth owning".
Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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