“Saw Mill Gulch Road”

Polydor label sampler of their underground music scene

I bought this record on a whim earlier this month. I’d previously never seen it although I was familiar with several of the acts compiled such as Taste, John Mayall and of course ex-Cream members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. I was oblivious of the kind of music I was letting myself in for though.

I had a guess that it was gonna be late 60s blues rock created by geezers with messy hair and unkempt beards, long enough to drape into a bowl of soup. I was kind of correct with my assumption.

There are some blues numbers on this, the mostly instro “Nashville 9 – New York 1” by Area Code 615 contains some apt Hammond-B3 noodling, not dissimilar to late period Spencer Davis Group.

The opener “Black Velvet” from Gass is also a pleasant laid-back blues with hammond number. I figured straight away that they were going for the Fleetwood Mac sound. I had no idea that the guitarist was Peter Green. He had joined Gass soon after quitting his former band.

It was necessary to research the Savage Rose who I’d never had the misfortune of ever hearing. They were a popular group of drop-out’s from Denmark. The singer made me very uncomfortable, sounding like a weird high-pitched pixie. The song just drags on too. Not a lot except ear-canal torture going on here.

Over on Side two John Mayall shows his class with the relaxed blues of “Saw Mill Gulch Road.” Refined with an extensive use of slide guitar and woodwind, probably flute. This is GREAT!

Ten Wheel Drive are way too funk-noisy for my taste, the brass and trumpets and whatever else they’re throwing in the mix is over-bearing. Then there’s a catawauling Janis Joplin wannabee howling away like she’s just had both of her arms lopped off with a pair of solid steel secateurs. I blame the drummer.

Taste started off impressive with “Morning Sun” – it was dynamic, forceful and driving progressive rock but then they had to go all jazzy and clunky mid-way through their arrangement. This could have been an all out heavy rocker.

Sound And Vision purchase @ £6

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