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DILLINGER

Heavy Prog • Canada


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Dillinger biography
From Toronto,Ontario,Canada the band was formed in 1973 by the Harrison brothers,Jacques (keys,vocals,sax,flute,accordion) and Robert (Drums,percussions) both from Quebec.Paul Cockburn and Terry Bramhall were eventually added, respectively on guitars and and bass.The following year they signed with Canadian label Daffodil and released their first self-titeld album.The album was an original mix of jazz and progressive blusey hard rock.It was made up of only four tracks including the side-long ''Live and Return'' as well as an interesting cover version of Spitit's ''Nature Way''.

Due to it's complexity, the album was met with indefference.Constant live gigging and dedication eventually got the band a bit of recognotion,so they entered the studio to start working on the follow up album in October 1975.The recording sessions lasted a good four months under tha aegis of label owner Frank W.H.Davies who acted as producer aided by John Woloschuk(Klaatu),Steve Vaughn and noted Rush producer Terry Brown,the same team who would complete Klaatu's debut album in 1976.

The album was made up of eight tracks including a decent cover version of Spooky Tooth's ''Two Time Love'' and a not-so-good funky version of the Beatles' ''Taxman''.All the rest were originals and an obvious improvement over the first album.With three tracks clocking in at over eight minutes and another at six,the band had ample freedom to explore and show off their talents as both composers and musicians with many instrumental parts featuring keyboards(organ,mellotron,Moog) and guitar interplay,as well as an healthy dose of folky flute playing and jazzy sax parts.

This was to be the band's last album as Dillinger.Drummer Robert Harrison got homesick and returned to Quebec where he joined highly local popular hard rock legend Offenbach.He eventually quit them and resumed his career as a blues guitarist.Bassist Bramhall also quit,leaving Jacques Harrison and Cockburn (both main songwriters) to re-assemble a band, recruiting drummer Paul Kersey(Max Webster),bassist/singer Brian Gagnon(Bullrush) and multi-instrumentalist Gerry Mosby(Bond).They were re-named The Hunt by manager Cliff Hunt and showed the band moving in a meaner and heavier rock direction.Their first album as The Hunt still showed prog leanings thanks to Cockburn and Harrison's songwriting as well as the ever present flute and thick keyboard sound topping Gagnon's Geddy Lee-like's wailing,eliciting vage comparison...
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DILLINGER discography


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2.84 | 15 ratings
Dillinger
1974
3.96 | 20 ratings
Don't Lie to the Band
1975

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DILLINGER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Don't Lie to the Band by DILLINGER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 20 ratings

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Don't Lie to the Band
Dillinger Heavy Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars Don't Lie to the Band, released in 1976 on Daffodil, was the second album by the Toronto-based Dillinger. They were basically a hard rock band but with a few extra ambitions. Here the album starts off with two covers, Spooky Tooth's "Two Time Love" and George Harrison's "Taxman", both done in recognizable fashion, although the latter with a funky approach, from Paul Cockburn. The rest are all originals. "It's Not Mine" is a ballad, rather nice, but then they get really adventurous on "Munchkin Men". I find it a bit strange to hear a prog rock song about the munchkin men from the Wizard of Oz. There's a bit of a Yes feel in the vocals, although I could have lived without the "We are the Munchkin Men, neh neh neh neh" part halfway through the song, though. There's some nice low key Mellotron on this song. The rest of the album may not reach the heights of "Munchkin Men", but still quite good. I get reminded a bit of Nektar and Camel, even the vocals (apparently from Jacques Harrison) aren't too terribly different from Roye Albrighton, although Paul Cockburb's guitar playing at times is closer to David Gilmour or Andy Latimer. There's an occasional Jethro Tull reminder when the flute pops up. This album will NOT appeal to the prog purists out there, it sounds like those Midwestern bands who'd do some sort of crowd pleasing or radio-friendly material next to much more ambitious prog material. Many of these bands had a blue-collar approach to prog (Kansas being rather obvious), and Dillinger likewise, even though they hardly sound like Kansas. I have to tell you many listeners on this particular album seemed put off by the covers and never reach to "Munchkin Men" and side two, so some might write it off as "bargain bin" filler (actually apparently it did end up in the bargain bin, my LP copy features a small punch hole on the lower left hand corner). By the way, "Bumpadiddly" is only on the CD reissue, it was never on the original LP. The CD cover is also in color, while the original LP, while featuring the same artwork, was in black and while.

No, it's not the most mindblowing thing you'll hear all year, but I really like that nice '70s vibe and does have some nice material.

 Don't Lie to the Band by DILLINGER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 20 ratings

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Don't Lie to the Band
Dillinger Heavy Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dillinger are a totaly unknown prog band from Toronto, Canada with two albums released and then gone into oblivion. I was really irritated that this band is so unknown, specially their second offer from 1975 named Don't lie to the band who is a fantastic and complicated little treasure in prog circles. The band was formed in 1973 by Harrison brothers - Jaques and Robert. who right from the beggining compose great catchy mix of jazz rock parts with progressive hooks melted with bluesy hard rock passages. On the album are two cover versions of Spooky Tooth - Two time love and from Beatles - Tax man, both quite ok in this context but not so excellent like their 6 original pieces who grace this release. The music as I said is brilliant, lots of catchy hooks, bith from guitar zone aswell from keyboards and druming parts, all is done with talent and inventivness all the way. The ieces are long, some of them clocking around 8 min, that means thay had room from instrumental exploration here, and is for sure an improvement over their first album. There are some folky arrangements here and there with flute and even sax and all the ingredints of class performance and in combination witt the rest of progressive twists and turns arrangements Don't lie to the band is for me a little tresure for sure. Well sadly this is their last swan song, to bad because this band is needing a far more recognition, at least for this second offer who is really killer and to damn unnoticed. For me easy 4 stars, worth every tune. A prog classic in my opinion who gone under the radar, that's why they disbanded soon after this album in 1976 . Recommended.

 Dillinger by DILLINGER album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.84 | 15 ratings

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Dillinger
Dillinger Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Semi-prog Canadian act formed in 1973 by two brothers, multi-instrumentalist Jacques Harrison and drummer Robert Harrison (later to perform with Offenbach), both coming from the Quebec area.The line-up was completed with guitarist Paul Cockburn and bassist Terry Bramhall, the band soon signed with Daffodil Records and released their self-titled debut in 1974, re-issued in 1998 in CD format by Unidisc.

The album opens with ''People'' in a very promising Classic Prog start, featuring a style split between complex Prog and organ-based Hard Prog with fiery guitar work, excellent organ runs and some beautiful symphonic-inclined flutes towards the end.GENESIS, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, YES AND JETHRO TULL-influences are more than obvious in this very good composition.However the rest of the album never reaches this level.''City main'' is a commercial Hard Rock tune with decent guitar leads, only saved by a jazzy-influenced middle part.In a very short effort of just over 30 minutes, the cover of the classic Spririt track ''Nature's way'' (from the album ''Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus'') can only be regarded as lack of inspiration.Dillinger added a wind section to this cover, making it quite personal, but the idea of covering a track in such a short release can't be highlighted.The band closed the debut with the 17-min. ''Live and Return''.The ''Live'' part is decent guitar-based Fusion blended with classic Heavy Rock mannerisms and supporting organs with a somewhat dated sound and uninteresting multi-vocal parts, while ''Return'' opens with an organ jamming, soon to be followed by a totally needless and uninspirational long drum-solo, lasting over 3 minutes.

I wish the band would have kept the masterful sound of the opening track throughout the release, but I guess nobody (almost) is perfect.Mediocre album in general, where ''People'' shines through by far.Recommended only if you run over a cheap copy...2.5 stars.

 Dillinger by DILLINGER album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.84 | 15 ratings

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Dillinger
Dillinger Heavy Prog

Review by cannon

3 stars A fusion of two Canadian provinces.

In the early/mid '70's, there was on one side of the Maple Leaf, the hard rock scene in Toronto, Ont. throwing out bands like Rush, Triumph, A Foot In Coldwater, Moxy, Thundermug and on the flip side, prog and folk was blowing strong in Montreal, P.Q. with Maneige, Harmonium, Sloche propelling the movement. Yet another contrast in the differences between two cultural, lingual and political environments at that time in Canada.

Brothers, Jacques and Robert Harrison left the province of Quebec and moved to Toronto and formed Dillinger in 1973, named after the infamous Indiana bank robber, John Dillinger. Torontonians, guitarist Paul Cockburn and drummer Terry Bramhall were recruited and the Harrison's brought their proggy influences from Quebec with Jacques' multi-instrumental talents on the flute, sax, Moog, organ as well as taking on the lead vocals and handling most of the song writing with his brother, Robert on percussions. The band was signed to the small independent Canadian label, Daffodil Records and their self-titled debut was released in 1974. The organ and guitars drive the basis of the music with melodic and harmony vocals shifting between a bluesy hard rock and complex jazzy progressive passages provided by the flute, sax and the keys of Jacques Harrison.

The album opens up with, "People", probably the best track on the album with a honking saxophone, howling guitars and a punchy organ with powerful vocals. A growling guitar solo is followed by a Focus-like flute instrumental interplay with a hammering keyboard line. The first half of "City Man" is more in the realm of Deep Purple Mk. II but then abruptly and somewhat awkwardly takes on a jazzy groove foundation with a searing sax solo. The band's cover of "Nature's Way" from the psychedelic classic, 'Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus' by Spirit is excellent. The tempo is slowed down compared to the original but the addition of a trumpet/trombone (I'm not sure which as I don't have a Ph.D. in musicology) would of have been something that Spirit well might of incorporated as they on occasion would implement horns on some of their jazz-rock tracks. The addition of the female background/harmony vocalists adds a surgary semblance but isn't too sunshine bright. The 17+ minute epic, "Live And Return" starts out very jazzy with Jacques Harrison's lead vocals supported again by the background harmony vocalists may well be over-done/bearing. The majority of the song is an instrumental progressive jazz/blues/hard rock jam (Vanilla Fudge/Iron Butterfly/ELP/Santana fusion) and around the 11:30 minute mark, unexpectedly and somewhat dischording, a drum solo enters into the fray and travels for almost four minutes reminescent of ELP/Carl Palmer's, "Tank" spotlight. A wild but long-winded "suite".

On their next album, "Don't Lie To The Band", released in 1976 and with the help of Rush producer, Terry Brown, the band tightened up their sound and style to more of a hard rock direction though still slanted with progressive passages with some of the tracks in the 8 - 9 minute range allowed the members, most notably Jacques Harrison to showcase his talents. In 1977 the band had some personnel changes and went under the name of 'The Hunt' and released their self-titled debut. A fantastic hard rock album but the prog tendencies were almost nonexistent.

 Don't Lie to the Band by DILLINGER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 20 ratings

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Don't Lie to the Band
Dillinger Heavy Prog

Review by Lozlan

4 stars Okay. I'll confess that I'm a little shocked to be the first reviewer of this excellent Canadian export. Admittedly, it took a considerable amount of effort to track down these albums in a listenable form - amazingly, both Dillinger's releases are available on iTunes for a little over 7 bucks a piece. Before continuing this review, I would like to urge any and all to go check them out. This band really, really deserves the attention.

All that being said, this really isn't heavy prog. Dillinger's first album was more overtly experimental, but neither sound anything like Rush to these sensitive ears. Dillinger actually maintain a very unique-yet-accessible sound, an erstwhile combination of jazz and rock that is very easy on the ears while remaining very challenging. They have a very classic eclectic prog sound - the production values are actually quite refined, with the drums in particular having a richness and fullness sometimes lost on more obscure releases. This doesn't sound like a hole-in-the-wall album recorded by an unknown band; on the contrary, the music is very competent and personal, with an evident refinement that makes me very, very surprised that their work isn't more well known.

The album opens with a couple of covers: Two Time Love by Spooky Tooth and a very, very funky version of The Beatles' Tax Man featuring a great talkbox solo. That being said, the album really gets going on Munchkin Men, the album's centerpiece. This is classic epic prog, with some great keyboard soloing and excellent intermittent guitar. The album's other true standout track is the marvelous Robot Race, although in truth there isn't a single song on this release that I dislike in the slightest. There's also some lovely atmospheric mellotron on Coming Home, reminding me why I love that instrument so much.

A great band, possessed of some great experimental chops. Investigate them for their very individual style, which really sounds like nothing else coming out of Canada at the time.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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