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Non-Prog CD Reviews

White Witch

White Witch

Review by Gary Hill

The debut album from this southern band, this one showed very strong prog leanings, and really, with a few exceptions, holds up well even after this much time.

The band members listed in the notes for this album were Ronn Goedert, Buddy Pendergrass, Beau Fisher and Bobby Shea. This leads one to wonder why there are five people pictured on both the front and back cover. I really have no answer for that one. Perhaps it is one of the great mysteries of the universe.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Parabraham Greeting/Dwellers of the Threshold
Rather creepy sounding effects and screamy sort of vocals provide the intro here, which is actually the Parabraham Greeting segment. The cut then changes gear dramatically with a very progish sort of instrumental mode that features a great groove and an homage to Beethoven. This leads straight into "Help Me Lord".

Help Me Lord
"Help Me Lord" is a very strong progish number whose powerful texture really makes the piece. It also features a great bridge.
Don't Close Your Mind
Feeling playful, this is a fairly straightforward and bouncy number that has some great progish textures and science fiction oriented lyrical theme. It also includes a great instrumental break that seems a lot like the music of Flash. This one even gets a bit Yesish in the course of this extended break and includes a Deep Purpleish keyboard solo. This one leads straight into the next cut.
You're The One
Set in a balladic mode, this one is also very strong prog. It includes a break that is light hearted in texture, one could almost say, "playful".
Sleepwalk
Seeming to rise straight out of the lull at the end of the previous cut, this is a bouncy hippieish rock number with some strong progish leanings, particularly in the keyboard textures and vocal arrangement. It includes an instrumental jam that feels a bit like early Yes trying their hand at the music of Santana.
Home Grown Girl
Beginning with drums, as the other instruments join in, it takes on a texture of good time southern rock and that mode pervades the entire cut.
And I'm Leaving
This is a great mellow number with some strong prog elements. It has a great texture.
Illusion
Fast paced and with a great southern prog groove, this one feels a bit like the Allman Brothers with soaring, screeching, almost metallic vocals thrown in. It includes an awesome proggy instrumental break. As the cut comes out of this segment, it takes on very mysterious, almost spooky textures, then moves into another incredibly strong instrumental segment based on these modes. After a brief stop, the Allmans oriented mode returns.
Nice to Be Stoned
This ragtime sort of piece extols the virtues of marijuana in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner.
Have You Ever Thought Of Changing/Jackson Slade
A great soulful progish riff makes up the basis for the first section of this cut. The bridge here gets very Beatlesesque. The piece switches gear drastically as it goes into the Jackson Slade section. It becomes a fast hard-edged groove that really screams.

The Gift
The intro to this one is a bit like Deep Purple's creepier sections of "Child In Time", but also includes some awesome prog instrumental modes. As this segment ends, the cut becomes more melodic with vocals that are nearly spoken. "To bring good where there once was evil, To bring love where there once was hate, To bring wisdom where there once dwelled ignorance, This is the power of the White Witch." This is a great positive way for the band to end a killer disc.
 
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