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Black Cat Bones - Barbed Wire Sandwich CD (album) cover


Black Cat Bones


Crossover Prog

3.09 | 20 ratings

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2 stars The Black Cat Bones’ place in history is more for their progeny than for anything the band itself accomplished during their brief late-sixties existence. Founding member Paul Kossoff would go on to fame and fortune with the more commercially palatable band FREE before this album was even recorded. Kossoff’s replacement and the guitarist who appears on this album was Rod Price, who himself would leave shortly after the album’s release to find his own spotlight as a member of FOGHAT. Another replacement player would be Simon Kirke, who also landed in Free before forming BAD COMPANY with Paul Rodgers, and later doing a stint with the splinter group WILDLIFE. Of all those guys only Price actually appears on this album (or at least he’s the only one of them credited).

The rest of the guys who actually made this album were a bit more obscure. Drummer Phil Lenoir would land in the one-off psych band SHAGRAT, while brothers Stewart and Derek Brooks would reform as the harder-edged LEAFHOUND. Vocalist Brian Short has since appeared on a number of recordings as a session musician, but to the best of my knowledge never really went anywhere as a vocalist after this release.

But in any case these guys all would clearly establish themselves as unquestionably professional musicians. This is basically a blues-rock album, not surprising if you’ve heard any Free, Foghat, or Bad Company. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree after all.

And it’s not bad, just nothing to get very excited about either. Price’s guitar playing is fairly inspired, although he never really steps too far away from rather traditional modern blues. No flights of fancy like Stevie Ray Vaughan or anything like that. In fact on a couple of tunes like “Death Valley Blues” and “Please Tell Me Baby” he almost sounds as if he’s repeating himself. Drummer Lenoir is adequate at best. For that matter if I can mention Ray Vaughan again, his drummer was much the same as Lenoir – keeping the tempo but not adding much else. Stu Brooks’ bass on the other hand is quite animated, and at times he seems to be veering rather close to funk. And I’m not sure who plays the uncredited piano (probably Short), but the couple places that appears (most notably on “Please Tell Me Baby”) it makes for some decent honky-tonk.

The weakest track here, and the only poor one really, is “Four Women”, a lackluster attempt at a smoky nightclub blues dirge that falls flat. And “Good Lookin' Woman” doesn’t live up to its promise either, ending up as simply a seven-minute noodling tease that never picks up any steam.

This is an historically interesting record, and the CD reissue is cleaned up to the point where it is sonically very sound. The musicianship is good (not great), but the compositions are modest at best, and overall I’d have to say this doesn’t quite make it over the hump from a collector’s curio to a genuinely good blues rock recording. So 2.4 stars it is, and not particularly recommended.

Great cover art though.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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