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Atomic Rooster "IV" vinyl

Atomic Rooster "IV" vinyl

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Genre: progressive
Rating: 3 stars ****
Title:  IV
Company: Elektra
Catalog: EKS 75039
Year: 1973
Country/State: UK
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+
Comments: cut lower right corner
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 137
Price: $20.00

So here's another mystifying example of where a US label decided to repackage an album for the domestic market and managed to add nothing of value to the end result. Released in the UK and Europe under the title "Nice 'n' Greasy", Elektra decided to modify the track listing replacing the songs 'Satin's Wheel' and 'Goodbye Planet Earth' with the instrumental 'Moods' and 'What You Gonna Do'. Elektra also slapped on a new title (technically this wasn't even their fourth release) and new, far less distinctive cover art. In the end you had to wonder why the went through the effort since with the release of 1973's "IV" Atomic Rooster sounded like they were essentially going through the contractual obligation motions. With keyboardist Vincent Crane credited with producing the set and writing all of the material, tracks like 'All Across the Country' and 'What You Gonna Do' found the band taking a shot at fairly conventional blues-rock. The results weren't horrible, but anyone expecting to hear something along the lines of their earlier progressive-oriented catalog was probably going to be disappointed. I'm actually a fan of Chris Farlowe's gruff, bluesy voice, but I suspect lots of folks would express a different opinion. Giving credit where due, it was also one of those collections that grew on you after a couple of spins and there were a couple of strong performances - 'Voodoo In You' exhibited a cool swamp-rock edge with one of Farlow's best vocals, while 'Take One Toke' was downright New Orleans-styled funky.

- 'All Across the Country' started the album out with a decent slice of blues-rock that served to showcase Johnny Mandala's crisp guitar and Farlowe's growling voice, though Crane's late inning keyboards were the true highlight. Certainly not the most original song you've ever heard, though the reference to Alka-Seltzer always brings a smile to my face. rating: *** stars
- Complete with punchy horns (and I'm usually not a big horn fan),, 'Save Me' found the band returning to the funkier sound they'd previously explored. Kicked along by a Farlowe performance that was simultaneously slinky and ominous, this one's always reminded me of an early Arthur Brown performance. On of the most commercial efforts on the LP, the track was released as a British single. rating: *** stars
- My choice for standout performance, 'Voodoo In You' showed what an impressive singer Farlowe could be when he was allowed to stray from standard blues-rock moves. Built on a slinky, swamp rock melody that quickly dug its way into your head and wouldn't leave, this one sounded like it'd been recorded in the middle of a dark crypt.    rating: *** stars
- One of the 'new' songs added to the US release, 'Moods' was a pretty keyboard-propelled instrumental. Maybe it's just my ears, but he first half of the song has always reminded me of one of those Vince Guaraldi tunes that you hear on Peanuts specials. Soothing, but nothing particularly memorable. rating: ** stars
- 'Take One Toke' (I frequently see it listed as 'Take One Take'), took awhile to get going, but when Ric Parnell's drums kicked in, the song displayed a surprisingly funky edge and gave guitarist Mandala a chance to showoff some of his moves. rating: *** stars
- A plodding and forgettable ballad, 'Can't Find a Reason' sounded like a bad Alan Price song. Farlowe's never sounded very good on slower numbers (his voice becomes fragile and craggy) and this was no exception. rating: ** stars
- Powered by Crane's organ, the instrumental 'Ear In the Snow' sounded a bit like Booker T. and the MG's trying to toughen up their patented Stax sound. Not an unpleasant, but it also sounded a bit like a promising jam session that they group left unfinished. rating: *** stars
- Another song added to the US album, 'What You Gonna Do' was a predictable blues-rocker number. I'm guessing the song was intended to showcase Farlowe's bellowing blues chops, but the song was just too ull to make much of a difference.

As mentioned, the album launched one European single:

- 1972's Save Me' b/w 'Close Your Eyes' (Dawn catalog number DNS 1029)

Hardly a classic Atomic Rooster release and not exactly a must-own collection, but a steady and professional set that's worth a spin (though you'd probably want to find the original "Nice 'n' Greasy" release, rather than the US release). And yes, once the album was released the band fragmented with Farlowe, Mandala, Parnell, and Smith all handing in their resignations. After a brief break Crane continued on under the clever name Vincent Crane' Atomic Rooster.

"IV" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) All Across the Country (Vincent Crane) - 5:09
2.) Save Me (Vincent Crane) - 3:14
3.) Voodoo In You (Vincent Crane) - 7:03
4.) Moods (instrumenal) (Vincent Crane) - 4:24

(side 2)
1.) Take One Toke (Vincent Crane) - 4:59
2.) Can't Find a Reason (Vincent Crane) - 4:25
3.) Ear In the Snow (instrumental) (Vincent Crane) - 6:12
4.) What You Gonna Do (Vincent Crane) - 5:25
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