Sunday, 28 February 2021

East Of Eden

New Leaf (1971)

Bradshaw The Bison Hunter/Ain't Gonna Do You No Harm/Get Happy/Don't Be Afraid/Man Said/Song For No-One/Joe/Nothin' To Do/Road Song/Home Blues/Jig-A-Jig

An appealing band were East Of Eden, who merged folk music with prog rock and a bassy funkiness at times. Check out the lovely deep thump of the grinding instrumental Bradshaw The Bison Hunter for starters - no classically-influenced meandering ELP keyboards here. It is a truly wonderful, deceptively funky track. Great sound quality on it as well. The vocals arrive on the fiddle-driven, muscular funky folk rock of Ain't Gonna Do You No Harm. I really like this. It is like some of The Strawbs' stuff but with a chunkier sound, great bass and a stronger, bluesier vocal. I really dig this stuff, man. Yes, really. I love it.

I like my prog rock like this - the acoustic Get Happy could almost be Paul Weller in the 2000s or Traffic in the seventies. This is a world away from Yes and ELP. I would say that this is far more folk rock than prog rock. Maybe the group's best years just happened to have been around the same time as the proggers and they got caught under the same umbrella. Don't Be Afraid sounds very similar to some of the early Rod Stewart solo material, with David Jack's voice equally gritty. That bluesy country-influenced rock was very popular in the early seventies. 

More of a Traffic vibe can be heard of the grinding bluesy rock of Man Said. Look this isn't noodling prog rock - it is chunky, industrial rock if you ask me. Listen to the guitar solo, the bass and the heavy rock-style vocal for proof. Song For No One is the bassiest, funkiest piece of prog rock I have ever heard, for a start. It bubbles and boils with funkiness from beginning to end. Once again, the vocal is great, reminding me a bit of Family's Roger Chapman. There is more Traffic influence to be had here too, or maybe this influenced Traffic?

Joe is an evocative slow rock ballad that reminds me of Bad Company. Unfortunately it is a terribly sad song about a guide dog that moves me too much to listen to it more than once. Nothin' To Do also has that Paul Rodgers-Free-Bad Company feel to it, as does Road Song, with added Rod Stewart-style mandolin. A solid bluesy guitar introduces the excellent grind of Home Blues. This is a great track too, full of bluesy power. Prog? I don't think so

The group also had a great instrumental folky hit hit single in 1971 with the irresistible fiddle sounds of Jig-A-Jig, a track I clearly remember from the time. Check out that great bass sound and fuzzy guitar on it too and the stonking drum-guitar interplay near the end. Boogie Woogie Flu is a great rocker of a non-album cut, too.

A really good album, this one. A proper rock album, for me. 

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