Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wow--Moby Grape
Their first album, Moby Grape, is on generally considered one of the best albums done by a Sixties American band, and with good reason, but I've got a soft spot for their sophomore effort, the much-maligned Wow. It certainly deserved some critical slamming sit received when it was released in 1968, as the band and producer had a batch of solid songs they wanted to gussy up, festoon and otherwise psychedelicize in the trend of over-produced pop wrought by Pet Sounds and Sgt.Pepper. Large parts were literally unlistenable--at the time of release, the band killed the "news-tolgia" fad of the period that not only had one song written and performed in the 20's style but which also required the poor stoner to get up and change the album speed from 33 and 1/3 to 78 rpm. The results were not amusing. Some songs come out unscathed, though, as with "Motorcycle Irene", "Murder in My Heart for the "Judge","Can't Be So Bad". At heart a good band gone bad from drugs, ego, and mental illness, but what they had, briefly, was terrific talent. Jerry Miller was one of the best blues guitarist of the period, bittersweet, and fluid in ways Mike Bloomfield never quite realized, Bob Mosely was a natural blues belter, and Skip Spence was an American Syd Barrett, fried before his time. Needless to say, I'm burning a disc of the best tracks and jettisoning the artsy remainders, which are unsustainable and hopelessly junked up with effects.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:31 PM PST

    "Wow" is generally a good album. The disaster was pairing it with the "Bonus" "Grape Jam" LP as a double album release. That was another example of overbearing hype gone bad for the Grape. But "Wow" on its own merits is a good album. Not a masterpiece, like the first album, but still good.


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