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Philippe DeBarge with The Pretty Things

Rock St. Trop

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing album. It was recorded in 1969, but released only recently. Some of the sounds on this were definitely ahead of their time. I like everything on the album proper, but some of it works better than others. Even the bonus tracks are pretty cool. In fact, the first of those is possibly the best song here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hello, How Do You Do
The sound of the bulk of this really fits with the cover picture. It feels like a warm day on a tropical island. It's bouncy and catchy and yet a bit quirky. The slightly noisy electric guitar work brings a bit of a different texture. The title comprises the only lyrics to this cut. Once the psychedelic guitar solo enters, we get a completely different sound.
You Might Even Say

Folk mixed with psychedelia is a driving factor here. There is a more hard rocking element, though, that's a bit like proto-prog.

Alexander

Imagine combining the psychedelic glam era of David Bowie with Hawkwind and some jazzy prog. You'll find yourself in the vicinity of this cut. It's a fast paced and soaring number with some great moments. In fact, this is one of my favorite tunes here.

Send You with Loving

I'm reminded quite a bit of The Beatles on this bouncy little folk based number. This is rather catchy and a lot of fun. It has a definite psychedelic element.

You're Running You and Me
A full on psychedelic rocker, this one is cool. I love the multiple layers of vocals. The guitar sounds are great. This just plain rocks. It's classic.
Peace
The folk psychedelia is all over this thing.
Eagle's Son
Wow, this is another cut that really is proto prog. It's a powerhouse psychedelic rocker. It's so cool.
Graves of Grey
This short piece has lot of layers of trippy sound.
New Day
Here's another that makes me think of Bowie.
It'll Never Be Me
Psychedelia is merged with proto-prog in this killer tune.
I'm Checking Out
A bit more of a rocker, this makes me think of Mott the Hoople. Glam, folk rock and psychedelia are all merged here. It definitely makes its way into trippy stuff as it moves forward.
All Gone Now
This is a trippy psychedelic piece. It's catchy and fun.
Bonus Tracks
              
Monsieur Rock (Ballad of Philippe)

This is a killer rocker. It's one of the most direct and mainstream pieces here. It has some exceptional guitar fills.

Lover
Folk rock with psychedelia in the mix, this feels a bit rough around the edges. It seems like a demo, really.
Silver Stars
The echoey kind of vibe on this is interesting. Again there is a demo quality to this tune.
 
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