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Atomic Rooster - Made In England

Atomic Rooster - Made In England

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Genre: progressive
Rating: 3 stars ****
Title:  Made In England
Company: Elektra
Catalog: EKS 75039
Year: 1972
Country/State: UK
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: minor ring wear
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6089
Price: $20.00

For Atomic Rooster's fourth studio set keyboardist Vincent Crane welcomed yet another line-up - this time around lead guitarist Steve Bolton, former Colosseum singer Chris Farlowe, and drummer Ric Parnell. Produced by Crane, 1972's "Made In England" found the band shifting creative gears. While Crane remained the prime creative force, jazzy and progressive touches scattered throughout the collection, That said, Farlowe had a major impact on the overall results. With a dry, raspy voice that didn't have a great deal of range (he bore more than a passing resemblance to early Arthur Brown), technically I don't think anyone would argue that Farlowe was a great singer. Within those constraints the guy certainly made the most of what he had, giving the collection a strange, but fascinating dark and disturbing edge ... (We've all seen those Disney cartoons that feature an evil snake as a character ? Well, Farlowe had the kind of voice that matched up well with the snake character.) For the band's long-standing progressive fans this was probably way too funky/commercial. On the other hand, if you didn't have that baseline for comparisons, the set wasn't half bad.

- Opening up with a nice little electric keyboard figure from Crane that quickly exploded into a fully orchestrated segment, 'Time Take My Life' took a sudden and unexpected shift into funky (!), blues territory. The song also served to showcase the collection's slightly dark and disturbing feel. Nice start. rating: **** stars
- 'Stand By Me' found the band diving headlong into funk. Personally I would not have expected much, but they somehow managed to pull it off in convincing form. In fact the song was so good, you were able to overlook Farlowe's uncomfortable stabs at singing in falsetto. rating: **** stars
- Penned by drummer Parnell, 'Little Bit of Inner Air' was a slinky, jazz-tinged number that also sported the album's most ominous feel. Farlowe's sneering vocal was really kind of scary - back to the evil snake comparison ... easy to imagine him handing some poor woman a poisoned apple. rating: **** stars
-  Jazz can be funky and 'Don't Know What Went Wrong' served as a good example of such a hybrid. Kudos to Bill Smith's bass which kept this one on track.
- Penned by guitarist Bolton (who also turned in a crushing solo on this track), 'Never To Lose' bounced back and forth between pretty ballad and a more severe and threatening course. When Farlowe sang '"I've seen the error of my ways ..." you were left to wonder if he was about to walk out the door with an automatic weapon. Only complaint is that the song just seemed to stop in the middle of nowhere. rating: **** stars
- Hum, side two's 'Introduction' started out with a brief snippet capturing Farlowe doing his best Solomon Burke impression. Shame it was less than 30 second long. rating: ** stars
- Crane's piano driven 'Breathless' was an intriguing, jazz-flavored instrumental. The song's highlight came in the form of Bolton's blazing guitar solo. rating: *** stars
- Yeah, the opening Atari game combo sound effects haven't aged very well, but then 'Space Cowboy' exploded into a strange mash-up of Arthur Brown-styled craziness, heavy rock, and country hoedown. Strange, strange, strange and definitely worth hearing because it was soooo odd. rating: **** stars
- 'People Can't Trust' was a straight-ahead stab at soul. The melody was suitably funky with Brown again providing a nice bass line and if you didn't mind Farlowe's raspy delivery it wasn't bad (though the female backup singers sucked). rating: *** stars
- Another Parnell composition, 'All In Satan's Name' bounced all over the place, including blues-rock, conventional hard-rock, and progressive segments. Farlowe sounded strained throughout the track, but Bolton used it as a nice platform for displaying his considerable chops. rating: *** stars
- 'Close Your Eyes" found Crane and Farlowe apparently having decided they wanted to be Delnaey and Bonnie. The song was actually quite good, but it also brought out Farlowe's worst performance characteristics - a shrill, over-sung, and highlight irritating performance. Yech. rating: ** stars

Not their best, not their worst ... look for one of the earlier releases before dabbling with this one.

In case anyone cared, the original UK released on Dawn featured album art at was radically different from the US pressing.

catalog number DNLS 3038

"Made In Englandr" track listing:
1.) Time Take My Life (Vincent Crane) - 5:59
2.) Stand By Me (Vincent Crane) - 3:46
3.) Little Bit of Inner Air (Ric Parnell) - 2:37
4.) Don't Know What Went Wrong (Vincent Crane) - 4:05
5.) Never To Lose (Steve Bolton) - 3:15

(side 2)
1.) Introduction (Vincent Crane) - 0:25
2.) Breathless (instrumental) (Vincent Crane) - 4:50
3.) Space Cowboy (Steve Bolton) - 3:17
4.) People Can't Trust (Vincent Crane) - 3:52
5.) All In Satan's Name (Ric Parnell) - 4:44
6.) Close Your Eyes (Vincent Crane) - 3:48

Needless to say, the band fragmented shortly after the album was released. Bolton reappeared as a member of Headstone.
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