Friday, 8 August 2014

Knowbody Else - Soldiers Of Pure Peace

Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Arkansas

From 1967 and essentially a curio, this pre-Black Oak Arkansas band and album features Jim Mangrum and his rather affected though still gravelly vocal that intrigues, if like me you are a fan of his raucous singing in BOA, especially on Keep the Faith [review here]. Most of the tracks are pop/baroque psychedelia, with here and there some fuzz, and on sixth track Secret Storm some opening chant-like background vocal, rolling drums and Mangrum's vocal nearly let loose until the song quiets to its pop middle, and then moves back to that wilder attempt. The most adventurous is eighth Ten Till Five with opening fuzz, electric sitar and Jimbo exercising the vocal to some experimental direction with hiccups, alveolar trills and other rolled effects: it really is wonderfully weird. Penultimate Until I'm Like Uncle Hugh is an acoustic track with Mangrum's vocal forward in the mix and naturally raw, the background vocals initially silly in their interjections and then adding some folk-esque harmony before ending on an abrupt explosion [as in bomb]. The final track White, Mix and Smith is basically Herman's Hermit's [Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter] meets Black Oak Arkansas and that about sums up the transition this album represents in Mangrum's musical trajectory. I found it most enjoyable, but won't be listening regularly as I do with the later Southern rock gems.

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