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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Bob Beland

Happy Camper

Review by Gary Hill

This set features a blend of music that's often set within a folk rock zone. That said, there are things like T-Rex's brand of glam, hints of things like The Doors and even Tom Petty in the mix at various points. For me, the only downside is the vocals, which are a bit rough around the edges at times. Still, it's not enough to fully detract from the magic, and this set works well as a whole. Besides, less than perfect vocals are actually a feature of a lot of folk music.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Honey in the Hive
Folk rock merges with glam, pop and more here. There are even some hints of progressive rock in the mix. This is quirky, but also catchy.
Something / Anything?
This makes me think of T-Rex in a lot of ways. That old-school glam rock texture is in control here. The tune is meaty and accessible. I like this tune better than the opener. There is a full-on progressive rock break mid-track.
Underneath the Sweeping Sky
Another with a healthy helping of T-Rex styled glam in the mix, this number works pretty well, but isn't really a stand out.
In Big Sur
With more roots music in the mix, this has a bit of a trippy edge applied to a largely folk music based concept. This feels a little awkward at times. It does have a few proggy edges. This isn't a favorite of mine here, though.
I'll See You There
I'm reminded a bit of Arlo Guthrie on this bouncy folk-based piece.
Heartbreakers and Soultakers
There is a bit of Doors edge to this cut in some ways. That said, I'm also reminded of Tom Petty just little here. This has a lot of folk rock in it, too. There is a bit of an awkward edge to it in some ways, though. That said, this is one of the stronger songs here.
Orange Groves
A classy pop rock vibe is on the menu here. This is another highlight of the set. The main song is cool, but the overlayers really sell it with the dreamy, trippy textures and angles.
Pal O' Mine
More of a pure folk song, this has some roots country music in the mix.
Happy Camper
A piano and vocal based tune, this is a nice change. It's packed full of emotion, and is one of the highlights of the set.
 
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