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Non-Prog CD Reviews

San Francisco Music Club

Love & Freedom

Review by Gary Hill

The blend of music on this album is pretty awesome. At times we get funk. Other points are more reggae influenced (particularly the Bob Marley tribute number). While that diversity is a strength, it’s also a weakness, though. Sometimes this doesn’t feel extremely cohesive. Still, it’s quite a strong release that’s sure to please a lot of music fans. These guys pull off every song with class and style.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Crazy Lovesick Blues

Funk and reggae seem to merge as this opens. It works out in some killer patterns as it keeps changing. I’m reminded, at times, of Santana.

4 Winds
Country and Caribbean sounds are merged on this number.  It definitely has an old school rock element to it.
Love Can Be
After a seriously dramatic introduction, this works out to a classic rock sound that’s energetic and melodic and very cool.
Istanbul
The vocal heavy introduction here makes me think of The Grateful Dead, but then it shifts out to some killer retro sounding grooves. It’s dramatic and powerful and I really dig this. Portions of this come close to progressive rock and there are some really wonderful and magical musical elements.
Ponchatrain
Americana, country music and jam band sounds all merge on this number. Some horns even bring a little jazz to the table. This is accessible and catchy, but not one of the highlights of the set. The Dead are a valid reference here, too.
Perfection
Here’s a bouncy little pop number that has some definite Grateful Dead and other Americana in the mix.
Revolutionary Man - Bob Marley Tribute
With that second section of the title, one might expect reggae music to be the order of the day here. That assumption would be correct. This is a killer tune, and actually one of the real highlights of the set. It includes some bits of Marley songs, at times, too. There are points here where I’m reminded of the Police, but then again, since they started out in reggae, that isn’t a big shock.
Te Quiero
The title gives this one away, too, as it’s a Latin number. I love the horns on this and the whole thing is classy, if a bit predictable.
I’m OK I'm Alright
The Grateful Dead vibes are back, but I can also make out plenty of other classic rock sounds like The Doobie Brothers. The hooks on this really seem familiar. This is like an old lost classic track that seems so much like something you’ve heard before, even if you haven’t. It’s a highlight of the set for sure.
You've Lost That Lovin Feelin'
They give us a reggae rendition of this classic tune. It’s got a lot of classic rock in the mix, too. I like this, but it’s not a real classic.
Love & Freedom
Percussion brings the title track in with a Latin flair. This is a cool tune. It is quite dynamic and parts of it remind me of “Teakbois” by Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe.
Love Can Be – acoustic
As one can guess from the title, this is an acoustic version of the earlier cut. The thing is, I think I like it better in this format. It’s one of the highlights of the set, and a great way to end things in style.
 
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