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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Natural Gas

Natural Gas (Digital Remastered 2010)

Review by Gary Hill

This is a digital remaster of the Natural Gas album that was released in 2009. OK, to clarify, the CD was originally released in 2009, but the album was first released in 1975. When they converted it to CD, they didn’t clean up the recordings at all. Now, they’ve done that. In addition, when I first reviewed the CD, I commented that sometimes less is more and that the extra tracks added for padding really took away from the release. Apparently someone was listening because they released this one sans bonus pieces, and it’s a stronger release for it. The sound quality is much better here. Those who purchased the original might be a little put off by having to pick up a new copy, but the augmented sound makes it worth it. Besides, since the other one has those bonus cuts, it is worthwhile as a collectible, anyway. If you didn’t get this one yet, now’s the time.  For clarification, I’m going to borrow from the original review to give a little more detail in the next paragraph.

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. 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. And, now, with the better sound, it’s really great. I’ve copied the track by tracks from that original review for the sake of consistency.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 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.
 
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