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Pat Travers - Makin' Magic

Pat Travers - Makin' Magic

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Genre: rock
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Makin' Magic
Company: Polydor
Catalog: PD-1-6103
Year: 1977
Country/State: Toronto, Canada
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+
Comments: minor ring wear;
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 307
Price: $10.00

I clearly remember buying this album as a college freshman and one of my dorm mates asking who Patty Travers was. I was puzzled by the comment and realized it was based on a cursory glance at the cover - I'm thinking the t-shirt straps probably had something to do with it. Makes me laugh after all these years and yeah, I'd have to agree with the dorm mate, the shirt was probably a poor fashion choice even in 1977.

Co-produced by Travers and Emile Zoghby, I remember initially being knocked over by "Making Magic". The combination of Travers ragged voice and guitar gymnastics was very impressive to a bunch of 17 year olds who thought Clapton and Hendrix were about as good as it got. That meant this album got lots of playing time on the dorm turntable (dating myself here). True, most of the album focused on conventional guitar rock ('Making Magic') with an occasional nod to funk ('Need Love' and 'Hooked on Music'). Travers was certainly a gifted player, capable of handling multiple genres. As mentioned, his voice got less recognition, but I always liked his gruff shouting style. Admittedly, with the exception of the closing instrumental 'What You Mean To Me', there wasn't anything particular original across these eight tracks, but after a couple of cold beers it hardly mattered. Personal favorite - the closing instrumental 'What You Mean To Me'.

"Makin' Magic" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Makin' Magic (Pat Travers) - 5:10
To be honest, the title track was essentially a platform to showcase Travers guitar pyrotechnics. Nothing more, nothing less. If you were looking for subtlety, then this wasn't the place to look. On the other hand, if you were a fan of Travers chops, it was a nice addition to the catalog. For anyone interested, YouTube has a 1977 live performance of the track. The black and white clip has a couple of technical glitches, but is still interesting. The line-up appears to be a little different than the studio band; Clive Edwards having replaced Nicko McBride on drums. rating: *** stars
2.) Rock 'n' Roll Susie (Pat Travers) - 3:37
Hum, Travers version of the blues ... Not bad with plenty of lead guitar, but 'Rock n Roll Susie' lacked some of the finesse Travers was capable of bringing to the stage. YouTube has a live 1976 performance of the song from the German Rockpalast television show: rating: *** stars
3.) You Don't Love Me (Pat Travers) - 3:27
Pat Travers and company do bar boogie ... To my ears this one sounded like sub par Foghat complete with Travers trying out his best Lonesome Dave impression. The slide work was nice enough, but, yeah, I think I'd pull out 'Fool In the City' rather than this one. YouTube has the band performing the song live for a German television show: rating: ** stars4.) Stevie (Pat Travers) - 7:13
With a nice anthem feel, the ballad 'Stevie' has always been one of my favorite Travers tunes. Would have made a nice single. rating: **** stars

(side 2)
1.) Statesboro Blues (Willie McTell) - 3:45
Fans rate this one highly, but I just don't see the attraction. It's nice enough, though anyone familiar with the original will be hard pressed to recognize the melody. I'll simply say it's far from the best version of this blues classic you'll ever hear.
2.) Need Love (Pat Travers) - 5:03
The album's most interesting number, 'Need Love' found Travers and company taking a stab at funky rock (or rock funk) ... Sounds kind of strange and it was initially a little disconcerting, but powered by Peter Cowling crushing bass line, this was one of the album's forgotten treasures. Way cool. YouTube has another Rockpalast clip at: rating: **** stars3.) Hooked On Music (Pat Travers) - 6:27
Okay, the lyric was a bit cheesy, but this one was interesting if only because it was another stab at getting funky. Once again bassist Cowling proved the band's overlooked sparkplug. Another Rockpalast clip can be seen at: rating: **** stars
4) What You Mean To Me (instrumental) (Pat Travers) - 4:37
With a mild jazzy inflection, the instrumental 'What You Mean To Me' was easily the album's prettiest melody ... quite unlike anything else on the album and perhaps because it avoided the usual guitar pyrotechnics, it was one of the standout performances. Always wondered what effect Travers used on the guitar. It sounded a bit like 10cc's gizmo effect. rating: **** stars
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