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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Natural Gas

Natural Gas

Review by Gary Hill

Here’s a CD release that’s been overdue by a long shot. This album was originally released in 1975 and had this band stayed together to do more albums they would have likely been big. Certainly their heritage made them a supergroup. The band featured Joey Molland of Badfinger, Jerry Shirley of Humble Pie and Mark Clarke of Uriah Heep and Colosseum. With a lineage like that you can expect a lot and these guys delivered. For my money we don’t hear a lot of Uriah Heep in this mix, but the Beatles influenced sounds of Badfinger are all over this and there’s plenty of Humble Pie here, too. However you slice this musical pie, though, the result is some seriously tasty music. It does sound like it belongs in 1976, but that’s when we should have been listening to it. It’s great that it’s finally seen the light of day in the digital age. For my money, they should have avoided the inevitable bonus tracks here. I don’t think they really add to the situation and, in fact, seem to take away from the continuity. Sometimes more is not really more and less is the better plan. Still, this is a great album that had been lost to obscurity. Let’s thank our stars that they’ve seen fit to release it. It’s worth the wait.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Little Darlin'
Piano brings this in and it powers out into an old fashioned rock and roll type of number. It’s a lot of fun and has some Beatles (think early Beatles) leanings. The vocal arrangement is pretty cool and there are a couple proggy changes.
Once Again, A Love Song
Although this is not really a rocker, but a ballad, the classic rock (and particularly John Lennon) leanings are still all over this track.
You Can Do It
The Beatles influences are still here, but less prevalent. There’s still a lot of classic rock in the mix, though. I can also make out a bit of R & B and other sounds, though. The guitar solo segment is trademark 1970’s.
I've Been Waiting
Another killer classic rocker, this has a definite 1970’s texture, but less of a Beatles sound than the openers.
I Believe It's Love
A more theatric sort of classic rock sound pervades this. Again there’s still some Beatles in the mix, but plenty of other sounds, too. It’s still quite ballad-like.
The Right Time
More energetic than the previous track, this is another killer slab of classic rock and it reminds me a times of Queen.
Christmas Song
A slow moving grind, there’s a killer keyboard sound on this and a great vocal presence. This is a highlight on a disc that’s extremely tasty start to finish.
Miracle Mile
At once this is more hard rocking, but also more along the lines of progressive rock, too. It’s a strong cut has some especially tasty guitar work and is one of the highlights of the set.
Dark Cloud
This rocker reminds me a lot of some of Ringo Starr’s solo work. It’s another great tune on a disc that’s full of them.
St. Louis Blues
A smoking high energy cut there’s an almost funky feeling to a lot of this. I like this one a lot and it might well be my favorite on show here. The guitar solo is especially tasty.
Christmas Song (rehearsal)
This recording isn’t great. It’s a distant live recording of a rehearsal of the track from earlier, but either the tape wasn’t great to start or it’s not worn well over the years. The guitar solo is quite tasty and I might like the vocal performance on this one better.
Little Darlin' – (demo)
Here’s a demo version of the opening song off the disc. This sounds much better than a demo really.
Christmas Song – (demo)
The final track of the set is another demo version. This one feels more demo-like than the last one did. These extras are OK, but I’d say they’re unnecessary.
 
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