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IF 2

If

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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If If 2 album cover
3.87 | 67 ratings | 7 reviews | 24% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Your City Is Falling (5:04)
2. Sunday Sad (8:18)
3. Tarmac T. Pirate And The Lonesome Nymphomaniac (5:12)
4. I Couldn't Write And Tell You (8:23)
5. Shadows and Echoes (4:24)
6. Song For Elsa, Three Days Before Her 25th Birthday (5:11)

Line-up / Musicians

Dennis Elliott - Drums
J.W. Hodgkinson - Vocals
John Mealing - Keyboards, Vocals
Dick Morrissey - Saxophones, Flute
Dave Quincy - Saxophones
Jim Richardson - Bass
Terry Smith - Guitar
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_2"

Releases information

LP ISLAND ILPS9137 (UK) (1970)
LP CAPITOL CASW676 (US) (1970)
CD REPERTOIRE (2006)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
Edit this entry

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IF If 2 ratings distribution


3.87
(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
58%
Good, but non-essential (17%)
17%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

IF If 2 reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If's second album perfectly complements the first, the songwriting generally isn't as strong but includes one of their best songs "Sunday Sad".

The first track "Your City is Falling" is very up-tempo fast jazz playing and includes a great sax solo, and also good keyboards from John Mealing and drums from Dennis Elliot. The slower eight-minute "Sunday Sad" has a spanish guitar style and flute intro, with a haunting vocal from JW Hodkinson. The song builds into a Chicago style jam and features some good keyboard and heavy guitar solos, very reminiscent of early King Crimson dare I say. Not such a sad song at all. The next track the up-tempo "Tarmac T Pirate and the Lonesome Nymphomaniac" features some great interplay between the band members. Another oustanding eight-minute track, the rock orientated "I Couldn't Write and Tell You" ebbs and flows around solid keyboards and drums . The AOR sounding "Shadows and Echoes" changes pace and builds into a much more jazz orientated sound, and includes a very fast jazzy guitar solo. The last track, the odd sounding "A Song for Elsa, Three Days Before Her 25th Birthday", fast jazz alternating with slow bluesy sax solos.

A good follow-up to If 1, released the same year and includes the same high standard of playing.

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Coming in an impressive gatefold psych cover (this album like most of their earlier albums received different artworks and sometimes names, rendering their discography difficult to find your way through), If's second album is certainly their crowning achievement of sorts, but I personally prefer their debut. With an unchanged line-up, but a few tours (including US tour with Black Sabbath and Rod Stewart), they even recorded this album in NY, with Morrissey and Quincy again taking the lion's share of the songwriting to them.

Opening up on the soulful Your City Is Falling, the track's best moments are the excellents drum breaks around the end of the track. The following Sunday Sad starts on a pastoral electric Spanish-sounding guitar mixed with a quiet flute, soon joined by Hodgkinson's soulful vocals, but Smith's psych guitar solo takes the show, excellently underlined by the pulsing and flamencoing bass of Richardson. Lonesome Nymphomaniac (a rare Mealing composition) is not my fave on this album, partly because it's a bit messy in the recording, most notably the very shallow space allotted for most of the instruments in the stereo space.

The flipside starts on the lengthy Motown-like track, but soon digresses into a series of excellent solos, including an epic guitar solo. Fellow British jazzer writes the next Shadows And Echoes, where after a full-fledged jazz tour of the group, the guitar gets very jazzy this time around. The closing Song For Elsa is much more of a Colosseum track than most of the rest of the album, with the two saxes again pulling a Heckstallian trick every now and then.

The Repertoire mini-Lp reissue is a little beauty but didn't add any bonus material (no single taken from this album, unlike for the debut and their third), thus leaving a rather short disc. Nevertheless this album is yet another classic brass rock album that deserves 100 times more its inclusion in the PA, rather than those bloody sweaty tearful excuses for albums.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Tarmac T. Pirate's not as bad as he sounds

In an age when band seem to take several years between albums, it may seem strange that If should have released this their second album in the same year as their first. Back in 1970 though, such an event was far from unusual, many bands working on a six month cycle of touring and recording. We should of course remember that back then around 40 minutes was the norm for an album, but even so, the workload on a band was intense.

"If 2" is very much a continuation of the eponymous début, the unchanged line up moving at times into more commercial territories while retaining the jazz rock tenets on which their sound was based.

"Your city is falling" is the first of the six tracks here, the album opening with a delightful up tempo number which sees pretty much all aspects of the band's make up taking centre stage. Dick Morrissey's "Sunday sad" is an unusual song for the band, setting out as a slower, more reflective piece. J.W. Hodkinson offers a fine vocal performance on this 8 minute classic, which also features some dynamic guitar work by Terry Smith. As the track develops, the sax section pick things up nicely transforming the track completely. The oddly named "Tarmac T. Pirate and the Lonesome Nymphomaniac" is very much in the Blood Sweat and Tears vein, the actual song being far better than its title.

The second side (of the LP) is in some ways a mirror image of the first. The opening Dave Quincy song "I Couldn't Write and Tell You" though is not as frantic as its peer on side one. The vocals here are very Roger Daltrey (Who) like, Quincy delivering a surprisingly rock orientated song where his sax talents are kept largely in the background. "Shadows and Echoes" was co-written by Lionel Grigson with his then partner Margaret Busby. The late Grigson was well known during the early jazz/fusion scene, and was in fact a a member of If prior to the recording of their first album. The songs focuses on the band's softer, lighter side, featuring flute and a fine vocal.

The closing Hodgkinson composed "Song for Elsa, Three Days Before Her 25th Birthday" once again has similarities with the work of Blood Sweat and Tears around the same time, especially in the David Clayton-Thomas like vocals.

In all, an album which for my money matches up well beside the band's fine début. There is a good variety of styles and sound here, the songs are strong, and the performances first rate.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If were trully creative during their brief stint in the 70's and shortly after the release of their debut, who had entered the charts worldwide and even won a prize for its front cover artwork, a second album saw the light in 1970.''If 2'' was now recorded both at the Hit Factory in New York and the Island Studios in London with Lew Futterman as a producer.The album was released, of course, on Island in UK and on Capitol in the US.

''If 2'' is again characterized by inventive and tight songwriting, combining the technical aspects of Jazz and Psychedelic Rock with Pop flourishes and Soul melodies.The first side of the LP is quite cool, maybe too much relying in the mix of psych organs, electric guitars and smooth sax melodies in just about the same motive, but the tracks contain good melodies, fine instrumental jamming parts and certainly J. W. Hodkinson's excellent voice.''Sunday day'' is propably the best cut with its dominant 60's influences, the doomy sax lines of Dick Morrissey and the loose guitar work of Terry Smith.The second side opens with the best piece of the whole album and one of If's better compositions, ''I couldn't write and tell you'', which lyrically is rather weak, but the music is more than rewarding.Very rich Jazz Rock with psychedelic grooves and dynamic Hammond organ, that rise as the track unfolds, and great KLAUS DOLDINGER-like wind instrumental parts, while Hodkinson's voice is absolutely great.The remaining two tracks explore the boundaries of smooth or more energetic Jazz Rock with commercial vibes and catchy choruses with less instrumental inventiveness but nevertheless tight performances by the band.

Another nice release by this intelligent British combo.Hardly you is able find a group, that can combine virtuosity and accesibility with such comfort and ''If 2'' is such an album, especially rewarding for fans of late-60's Proto Prog or Jazz Rock.Recommended.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Released in the same year as their first album in 1970, `If 2' saw English jazz/fusion/rock band If deliver a follow-up album that was just as good, if just a little more instantly approachable than the debut. One of the things that makes this album such a winner is that, in addition to the obviously top-notch musical displays and improvisational skills of the musicians, the band have crafted those elements to a selection of accessible and melodic tunes, without really being any more overly commercial. Soul, psych, funk, jazz and heavy R&B styles are all blended seamlessly with a hard rocking sound, with thrilling instrumental runs carefully executed between strong vocal passages. Oh, and it also happens to groove like a mutha-effer the whole time!!

`Your City is Falling' opens the album in gutsy and up-tempo fashion. A catchy tune sung with bellowing conviction by lead singer J.W Hodgkinson is powered by Dennis Elliott's snappy drumming, John Mealing's nimble Hammond organ ripples and relentless dual saxophone attacks from Dave Quincy and Dick Morrissey. The scathing lyric seem to be condemning watching the city you love change around you, the line "Half religious mockeries that robbed the man who died" is especially vivid, and the repeated exasperated mention of "All the restaurants?" just drives the message home perfectly. The gently melancholic `Sunday Sad' is psychedelic and drowsy, with lovely dreamy flute giving way to Terry Smith's Spanish-style slow-burn guitar solo in the middle that bubbles under and eventually erupts with lusty splintering fire, Jim Richardson's chasing bass stalking the whole time. `Tarmac T. Pirate' (check out the full nonsense title!) is a compact shorter vocal rocker dominated by Hodkinson, but the whole band offering quick little instrumental fills around him throughout.

`I couldn't Write and Tell You' opens the second side, with relentless bass, confident sax blaring and nimble jazzy guitar licks that turn into a psychedelic storm, but a sympathetic heartfelt restrained vocal in the middle over wistful flute is a nice break. `Shadows and Echoes' is a smooth soul ballad, showing that the band was equally convincing on slower, thoughtful numbers as the high energy ones. Reflective flute, lovely harmonies, a warm croon from Hodgkinson and Terry's unexpected nimble-fingered fretboard run in the center is the highlight. `I believe this girl's about to fly...' declares J.W on closer `A Song For Elsa', and fly it damn well does! It's a honking R&B stomper with a roaring vocal, furious propulsive instrumental jamming that alternates with smoky bluesy sax ruminations.

Especially worthwhile is the recent Repertoire Records CD/DVD reissue. Not only is the main album sounding absolutely wonderful, but a short bonus DVD of live vintage footage from 1971 is included. While visually it's fairly average quality, the energy of the live performance from the band is intoxicating, and, not surprising to discover, singer J.W Hodgkinson is a stocky mountain of a man, performing with power and finesse. Several of the tracks from `If 2' are performed, and it's interesting to note just how tightly written they are, as they're not all that different from the studio versions, just with a little added urgency the live environment brings.

Running just over 35 minutes, there's not enough time for any filler material to emerge, as `If 2' races through a range of fusion styles and sounds, expertly played by a bunch of top- notch musicians. It's one of the damn coolest albums in my collection, and just as special to me as If-offshoot Zzebra's second album `Panic', and it never fails to lift my mood. It's been in my collection for some years now, and after dozens upon dozens of listens, it still sounds like sheer musical perfection to my ears!

Five stars.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am such an ass! Going through 45 years without hearing something as marvelous as British jazz-rock legends IF is a crying shame. If I only knew IF! LOL. So what did it take to get me up to speed after such a long period of inertia? A stupendous review by my Aussie music mate Michael reminded me that I had been missing out on something quite delicious in view of my profound adoration of Nucleus, Soft Machine, Isotope, Traffic, Sunbirds, Wigwam and even Tasavallan Presidentti! I was perhaps misguided in hearing comments about similarities with Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears , both of which are not exactly in my range of goodies.

I opted for the deluxe DVD/CD package of the IF "2" release, a beauty that has a live DVD recording as well as the studio effort, all nicely put together with an amazing booklet, artwork etc?I was already familiar with keyboard whiz John Mealing (who later graduated to Passport and the Strawbs) as well as accomplished drummer Dennis Elliott who of course became a famous Foreigner. Dick Morrisey is a sax legend, so I knew enough to be at least conscious of their existence but the big surprise for me was guitarist Terry Smith, a wicked stylist with amazing technique a la Steve Cropper (blues and a distinct RnB country feel), a rock solid bass player in Jim Richardson and a real cool vocalist in J.W. Hodgkinson. I had never heard of these three, so I was in for a thrill. Though this is late 60s music , it stills smokes quite brightly and is a joy ride from beginning to end, it got me thinking that we would need some upbeat stuff like this in our currently apathetic/doom-laden culture. (Sorry Pharell but "Happy" is not quite enough to heal the world).

Things begin in radiant fashion with a sprightly "Your City is Falling", Hodgkinson grabbing the mike stand and showing who is the boss, while the lads pummel mightily in the background. The mood is balmy, warm and inviting, a really faultless opening salvo that sets the tone perfectly.

An extended platform for improvisation is the 8 minute+ "Sunday Sad", a Spanish guitar motif finds itself escorted by a flute caress which then quickly merges into a slick rambler that fumes, smokes, smolders and rages with torrid passion, fueled by the loaded double brass assault of Quincy and Morrissey on saxophones and another fine vocal performance by J.W. Bassist Richardson carves some manic grooves while Terry Smith does a splendid job on his axe, a gritty and sulphurous affair that is just awe-inspiring. Mealing's grumpy organ is shoved along by Elliott's sturdy drumming and lo and behold, this is such exhilarating music!

The Brits love their weird song titles (hello Canterbury lads) and "Tarmac T and the Lonesome Nymphomaniac" (what year? 1969, hmmm, pretty racy, wot?) certainly qualifies, a bluesy trippy ditty with a manic vocal that has a definite Traffic/BST feel, spread-eagled by a sick sax flirting overtly with the fuzzy wuzzy organ (that is innuendo-laden wordplay for you), sensual and sexual jazz-rock with some serious soul.

Driving your vintage MG or Triumph Spitfire, propelled by a bass-mad "I Couldn't Write and Tell You", gives the music a down to earth meaning, surprising the listener with inimitable genius, a flute from nowhere, a consistently believable vocal delivery , a solid beat and some glittering solos all within its 8 minute sinews. Terry Smith glitters on his axe, a blistering technique that nears supersonic speeds, frenzied and acidic. Wow! Has anyone noticed where my jaw landed? Yeah, baby!

Smooth? You want some velvety class , well it does not get creamier than the suave breeze heard on "Shadows and Echoes", sounding like some jazz toone from the 50s movies, a cool cat skinning his brushes, upright bass bopping along while the crisp and clear guitar does some marauding. A wide mouthed vocal again does the trick, versatile and groovy.

Hey, you wanna another oddball song title, look no further than the quirky "A Song For Elsa, Three Days Before her 23rd Birthday", I mean, C'mon! Doggone it when Brits can out soul the Yanks, and that's including the 'brothers'! At least in musical terms, British blues and jazz bands of the 60s and 70s certainly played a part in emancipating white crowds into getting off on black music (Hey, Jimi, How ya doin'?). Here Quincy and Morrissey play majestically, a pure joy and total marvel to witness and revel in.

What a great record and I can bury my ignorance now by pursuing the entire catalogue!

Merci, Michael!

4.5 Rudyard Kiplings

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5 stars What had been impressively started up on first IF album, found its cosequent development and maturity in their second,called 'IF2' . I really can not find single weak point on this release, but I would like to excerpt my favourites - from A side of the record that's Morrissey's 'Sunday sad' with ... (read more)

Report this review (#127899) | Posted by bsurmano | Sunday, July 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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