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The Gun - Gun CD (album) cover

GUN

The Gun

 

Proto-Prog

4.73 | 20 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars THE GUN were an English Hard Rock band consisting of Mr Smith & Mr Wesson, otherwise known as Paul & Adrian Gurvitz, with Louie Farrell providing covering fire on percussion. Gun were previously known as The Knack, with no relation to the band who later had a hit with "My Sharona". Gun were one of the most powerful bands in the land at the time, with a proto- metal sound that could blow your hat clean off. Gun are perhaps best-known for their hit song "Race with the Devil", which went racing like a bullet up the U.K singles chart to No. 8 in November 1968. The high calibre locked and loaded sound of Gun were a Magnum Force to reckon with, opening fire with two Sudden Impact albums in a row:- "Gun" (1968) and "Gunsight" (1969). Brothers Paul & Adrian Gurvitz later went on to deliver another storming Gurvitz Blitz in the early 1970's with their platoon of Three Man Army, which subsequently became the Baker Gurvitz Army, featuring Ginger Baker of Cream. Gun's fired-up debut album has the distinction of being the first album cover designed by album art supremo Roger Dean. Gun will really make your day, but in all the excitement, it's hard to remember whether they fired off seven or eight chambered rounds (or songs) on their debut, or eleven or twelve songs with CD bonus tracks added from The Dead Pool of unused songs. Do you feel lucky?

You're very lucky indeed if you're the proud owner of the original vinyl Gun album, and what better way to open the album than with "Race with the Devil". It's a devilishly good song featuring a killer riff which is arguably one of the best-known speed riffs in the world of Rock. There's no mistaking the dual guitar blitzkrieg of the Gurvitz brothers on "Race with the Devil" and the song also features some marvellously over-the-top manic vocals. It's one of those timeless Rock classics: once heard, never forgotten. The sonic power and speed of the music hits the listener straight between the eyes when combined with the stunning simplicity of the lyrics:- "You better run from the devil's gun, He'll seek you here, He'll seek you there, The devil will seek you everywhere" ...... "Race with the Devil" was a hit song here, there and virtually everywhere. Jimi Hendrix paid tribute to it on his song "Machine Gun" at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, and it was later famously covered by Heavy Metal band Girlschool on their 1980 "Demolition" debut. Now that we're all fired up from the storming opener, it's time for "The Sad Saga of the Boy and the Bee". You can put the Kleenex tissues away though, because this is a tremendously uplifting song and not remotely sad at all. It's a psychedelic phantasmagorical delight, featuring a grand orchestral opening, the familiar thunderous sound of the Gurvitz brothers twin blitzing guitar attacks, and not forgetting drummer Louie Farrell pounding away ferociously in the background at a frenzied pace. This magnificent epic even includes a wild and demonic version of Rimsky- Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee" for good measure too. Our third piece of music "Rupert's Travels" takes us on a brief semi-classical instrumental journey of flamenco guitars and full orchestra, which has obvious parallels with Mason Williams "Classical Gas", released in the same flower-power year of 1968. If your eardrums haven't yet been pounded into submission, then try "Yellow Cab Man". Get ready to be taken on a wild psychedelic taxi ride from hell with blood-crazed psychopath Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), in a song that's all about a Taxi Driver struggling to make a living in the Mean Streets of The Big Apple (circa 1968). "You talking to me!??" ...... "Yellow Cab Man" murderously rampages its way through a Purple Haze of four unrelenting minutes of freaky acid guitar licks and pummelling percussion. The music is just as wild and fuzzy as the Gurvitz brothers frizzy 1960's afro-hairdos. Having blazed a trail through four romping, stomping songs, we now arrive at one of the most bizarre songs on the album: "It Won't Be Long (Heartbeat)". This song is as barmy as an army of weirdy-beardy vegetarians working at a meat-packing plant. The song opens to a cacophony of discordant sounds before emerging into a typical plodding blues riff, sounding like the heartbeat of the title. It's the echoing off-kilter vocals which really sets this freaky song apart though, and listen out for the very strange ending when the "heartbeat" slows..right...down....to.....a......crawl.......and........then.........comes..........to..........a...........complete............Stop.

The Gurvitz power trio are gunning for glory with the opening number on Side Two, so Pop the champagne cork and get ready to celebrate with the Beatle-esque sound of "Sunshine" - a warm and radiant burst of glorious Sunshine Pop. This bright and bubbly fizzy Pop concoction is overflowing with triumphant hope and optimism, and features a rousing chorus that's positively bursting with joy and love:- "Sun shines brightly every day, Let it shine, Let it shine." ..... It's a song which inevitably brings to mind the equally joyous sound of "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream. It's Poptastic! We're entering moody and magnificent territory now with the stupendous sound of "Rat Race" - a celestial song which has all of the anthemic majesty and splendour of "Nights in White Satin", complete with lush strings and heavenly harmonies to die for. It's an epic ballad which proudly displays its pompous prog colours in a richly orchestrated symphonic soundscape. And now for something completely different as we arrive at the eighth and final song on the album: "Take Off!" This is where Gun really get to fly high and trip the light fantastic by throwing caution to the wind in an 11-minute long psychedelic freak out. The storming closing number is a booming and bombastic show of force where the band are going out with all guns blazing in this supersonic blast from the past.

Gun's stunning debut has all the unstoppable power and force of Dirty Harry's Smith & Wesson fifty calibre Magnum revolver. Gun is one of the highest rated albums on ProgArchives, and deservedly so too. The album comes pre-loaded with eight high calibre, full metal jacketed songs, with extra ammo provided on the CD reissue. Go out and buy the album from your local Gun dealer. It'll make your day!

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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