Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spaceship Earth - Sugarloaf



Spaceship Earth
Sugarloaf
Liberty LST-11010
1971 

The second album by Sugarloaf - I've listened to it a bunch of times and I'm still not sure if I like it, which probably means I don't.  It is kind of interesting though.  At times the group comes on like a straight ahead rock band akin to Crow or Steppenwolf, other times they sound more pop like the Raiders or the Guess Who and other times they go prog-rock with keyboardist Jerry Corbetta sounding like he's auditioning for Argent.  The new guy, Robert Yeazel, dominates the album writing or co-writing all but one of the songs on the record.  He's the hippie dude in the groovy macrame shirt on the right side of the front cover and his songs sound like the sort of songs a guy in a groovy macrame shirt would write.  Given the album title I expected an ecology theme, but actually it is more a living in the city sucks we have got to back to nature theme or as they say in "I Don't Need You Baby" - "I'm gonna do what is needed, keep my mind good and weeded" which suggests that some of nature's appeal might be illicit as well but they also dig fresh air, the sun and the trees.  Actually like most rock albums, the songs are more about love than the environment which is just as well I think.  Only one song, "Mother Nature's Wine," sounds anything like their most famous song "Green-Eyed Lady" (from their first album) and it is the only song Robert Yeazel did not write.  With it's tempo changes and big hooky bass line, it sounds like they are consciously attempting a "Green-Eyed Lady" retread but it is not nearly as memorable.  Musically I do like the eclecticism of the group's sound and the boys can really play.  They are cooking on the prog-rock instrumental, "Spaceship Earth," that opens the album and there is some nice soloing on the rocking "Tongue in Cheek" which also has a bit of prog-rock flavor.  I'm not a fan of prog-rock, but if there has to be such a thing, let it be like this - it is very dynamic and never reminds me of Mussorgsky.  Overall I prefer their first album although this album is more consistently engaging.  If you have a taste for early 1970s rock you may like this album.  Recommended for Yes fans who wish they weren't such pretentious wimps.

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