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Temp'rall Sho'gazing

Review by Gary Hill

I could definitely see this landing under "non-prog" because of the jazz basis of it. The thing is, while there are a few songs that land purely there, plenty of others cross into proto-prog or Rock in Opposition zones. To me, that lets this stand under prog. Whatever you call this, though, it definitely has a lot of basis in the old school jazz world. Some songs would feel at home in the heyday of that genre. This act hails from New Orleans, and that sound is definitely present here. I should say that this is a classic example where the limitations of the web are one of the reasons I find it inferior to print. The name of the act isn't correct online, but the coding of the site causes it to mangle. It's right in the print edition, though, and that is always our definitive edition these days.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Better
They bring some serious funk right out of the gate. The cool funk guitar starts it off in style, and a rubbery bass line holds down the rhythm. Organ completes the instrumental concept here. The vocals come in bringing a soulful texture. This cut grooves and thrills with some killer retro textures. They take things into a killer fast paced jazz jam later as the piano solos. Some seemingly improved vocal bits come in as the number is working toward its end.
Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair
The opening surge on this has a much more serious tone than the opener did. The cut has a rather melancholy texture. It's mellower, dramatic and so powerful. It's slower moving, but has some of the same musical elements as the opener did, minus the funk. The drums seem exploratory a lot of the time. A wind is heard in the background through much of the piece. As it works forward and expands, the whole piece has an experimental kind of freeform vibe. There is a real old-world tone to it all, too. This song would fit in well with a lot of the proto-prog that was coming out in the late 60s and early 70s.
St. Louis Blues
There is a bit of that freeform thing in some of the jamming that goes on within this cut. Yet, at its heart it has a real straightforward jazz structure. The piano and the drums really lead the arrangement a lot of the time. This feels like something that could have come out of the golden age of jazz music. The double-time jam later in the piece is very Dixieland styled. I love the bass work on that section. Combined with the piano jamming it has a real crazed and tastefully off-kilter vibe. That jam again calls to mind some proto-prog or even Rock In Opposition just a bit.
Gotcha Child
A mellower, slower cut, the arrangement here is based more on a jazz trio setup. This ballad is pretty and rather dramatic. This one is quite traditional and cohesive.
Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child
Coming in with organ and drums lending a real psychedelic edge, the vocals bring some bluesy texture to the piece. This trippy arrangement is very much based in a psychedelic rock meets proto-prog arrangement. The drums really get a workout. The jam later in the track remains mostly mellow, but is closely tied to Rock in Opposition in a lot of ways.
Nibble
Energetic and grooving, there is a cool jazz texture built into this. There are some intriguing changes, particularly including a dropped back section. This is another with plenty of proto-prog and Rock in Opposition at its core. It has a real freeform vibe to it, too. I love the piano jamming on the powered up instrumental movement later. They bring it back out into a vocal movement from there. After a false ending bass brings this up into a faster paced jam that is pure prog rock, in a rather Curved Air way.
Blues after Hours
This is very much an old-school blues styled tune. The harmonica brings a lot of "cool" to the table. The piano really lays down some killer jamming later in the number. As it gets more powered up later, it again gets more into RIO territory in the expansive and exploratory jamming.
T'ain't Nobody's Business
Starting with some tasty piano work, the vocals come in over the top of that arrangement to move the number forward. The cut shifts out to faster paced jamming later. They work things through several shifts and changes in the up-tempo section. This one is, perhaps, one of the most traditional jazz pieces here. It's also a lot of fun.
 
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