Having watched Salvation at work on it\’s two albums for ABC, I can readily understand why they should be a San Francisco favourite. Trying to put these evanescent reasons into black and white is something else again. Musicianship may be part of it – listen to the keyboard wizard U.S. of Arthur\’s Coltrane/jazz-rooted soloing on \”Handles Of Care\” and \”What\’ll I Do\” – but it is only a part, and not necessarily the most important one at that.
Then is it the songs and singing? Perhaps. But I have to confess that, beyond the bare observation that most of the songs are semi-autobiographical in nature (i.e. refer to experiences either of the whole band or chief writers Al Linde and Joe Tate), I can\’t claim to \’understand\’ each and every word. I cannot, that is, provide you with a literal, line-by-line translation, shoveling the songs, as Bob Dylan once put it, into the ditch of what each one means.
Musicianship, songs, singing – all are necessary, none sufficient. Add them up, and you still haven\’t hit on the missing ingredient that makes Salvation such a joy to be around. If that sounds like the preface to a cliche – \’the whole is greater than the sum of the parts\’ – rest assured, it is.