Powers Of Blue "Flipout" (1967)/Brother T And Family "Drillin' Of The Rock" (1970)(Gear Fab Records, 2015)
Thrown together by studio musicians and distributed in very limited quantities, exploitation albums were a fairly common practice during the sixties and early seventies. Masquerading under phony band names, these players in select instances, were actually sharp and sly enough to create recordings as convincing as the artists they imitated. The past few years has seen the Gear Fab label bringing these ghastly obscurities back to life, and one of its most recent offerings is Powers Of Blue's "Flipout" and Brother T And Family's "Drillin' Of The Rock," which has been packaged as a single disc.
Unlike the majority of cash-in albums, Powers Of Blue's "Flipout" credits some of the musicians responsible for the project. Guitarist and arranger Hugh McCracken, who later worked with star-studded folks such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Roberta Flack, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, and Art Garfunkel, had a hand in the record, making for a nice piece of trivia. Pressed on the MTS label in 1967, "Flipout" features strictly instrumentals and is dominated by cover songs. Rocking its socks, shoes, and pants off, punctured with a searing six-string solo screaming heavy metal before heavy metal even existed, "Cool Jerk," which was initially done by The Capitols, is particularly given a becoming facelift. Piloted by swinging rhythms and a muscular edge, John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "Paperback Writer" plugs in as another strong entry, while tunes by Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett, Smokey Robinson And The Miracles, and Sonny And Cher, are also nicely recycled. The lone original number, "You Blow My Mind," due to its surf styled, distorted bluesy exterior, resembles a quirky cross between The Ventures and The Yardbirds. Dripping with equal equations of teen appeal and jazzy lounge flavored garage rock energy, "Flipout" is the perfect party platter.
The dedicated Gear Fab research team informs us Brother T And Family had roots in a pair of well known German bands, including The Rattles and The German Bonds. Released in 1970 on the FASS label, "Drillin' Of The Rock" primarily channels a hard rock tenor. Buttoned tight with weighty licks, rollicking keyboards, beer-bellied hooks, and throaty vocals, the album fuses staggering kung fu sonics with trickles of tongue-in-cheek curves to both awe-inspiring and amusing effects. Laced with psychedelic crumbs, the title track of the album slings an operatic chorus into the soup for added color, and then there's "Lookin' For Barbara," "Stranger," "Walking Down Paradise Street," "Brother T," and "Stewball" that grind and crunch with brass and sass. Those with a yen for the boot-stomping sounds of Amboy Dukes, Steppenwolf, and Deep Purple, are guaranteed to dig this disc. But not every song on "Drillin' Of The Rock" is cast of a hairy and heavy mood. In fact, the strangest, not to mention the silliest tune on the album is a ballad, "Third Degree," a spot-on Elvis impersonation, complete with a spoken word verse.
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