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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

(the) Lost Gonzo Band - Thrills

Name: (the) Lost Gonzo Band
Album: Thrills
Year: 1976
Style: Southern Rock / Classic Rock
Similar Bands: Neil Young, Credence Clearwater Revival, Commander Cody, older Bee-Gees, Blasters
"One-Word" Review: The South
Based Out of: Austin Texas
Label: MCA Records
Thrills - Cover, Record, Lyrics
Thrills - Back, Sleeve, Record

The Lost Gonzo band - Thrills (1976)
Write A Song 3:20
Relief 4:10
Wilderness Song 2:55
Sweet Little Lilly 3:56
Life is the Reason 4:20
Dead Armadillo 2:14/
The Last Thing I Need 3:55
Life in the Pines 3:15
Ain't No Way 4:04
Sexy Thing 3:34
Daddy's Money 3:42
I'll Come Knocking 3:20

Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Michael Brovsky - Engineer, Producer, Remixing
Chuck Childs - Recording Engineer
Donny Dolan - Drums, Percussion
Kelly Dunn - Arp, Clavinet, Organ, Synthesizer
Gene Eichelberger - Engineer
Johnny Gimble - Mandolin, Violin (Asleep at the Wheel, Mother Earth, Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys)
Sanchez Harley - Horn
John Inmon - Guitar, Vocals (Omar & the Howlers)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Vocals (Background) (Paul Simon)
Robert Livingston - Bass, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Weldon Myrick - Pedal Steel
Gary P. Nunn - Bass, Guitar, Piano, Vocals (Lavender Hill Express)
Tomás Ramírez - Saxophone
Sundance - Engineer
Bobby Thompson - Banjo, Guitar (Acoustic) (Barefoot Jerry)
Bill Halloway - Cover Photography

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band, but I have to say, I was immediately caught by the cover art that screams Evil Carnival music. Now I know it is 1976, so it’s not going to be wacky Oingo Boingo style music, but one can hope there is a shred of support for this great cover. And the name is just wacky enough that it might be something I’d like. But something tells me, perhaps the font on the back, that this will just be something simple, especially since its from 1976, when AOR was king.

Album Review: “Write a Song” sounds like it is going to be a delightful, fluffy Billy Joel style piano ballad. And it sounds like a classic Bee Gees song. It feels odd to begin the album here, with a bedtime ballad. But halfway through the song, the production picks up, and it sounds somewhat Beatley. But the song finishes out in piano and simplicity, just as it began.
“Relief” bounces into life with a kick drum, and a stumbling drunk Kinks style song. Based in southern ragtime rock, the song features a nice simple folk-country melody. The vocals are layered with a dense harmonized background vocal effort. I could visualize this being played out on a single home porch with a jug band.
“Wilderness Song” is another slow but bouncy song with a synthesized bass beat. The vocals remind me of Neil Young in this song. The song is simple, one dimensional song, but the sound of that synthesized bass is just overwhelmingly harsh and draws most of the attention from the song.
“Sweet Little Lilly” is the first full fledged country song with a country & western back and forth guitar bounce like from “Country Death Song”. And then at the chorus the song picks up with banjo and fast singing as if you’ve flung the doors open to witness some talented square dancing at a cowboy bar.
“Life is the Reason” has a slow, rising, day break tempo, and again sounds like Neil Young. It again features the side to side bouncing bass guitar sound. The song also includes slide guitar and a fiddle, giving it an authentic country feel. It actually sounds a lot like a slowed down version of the preceding song.
“Dead Armadillo” starts with a nice honky tonk tempo and melody. The vocals are gruff, trying to sound like a bluesman. But as he sings, that impression quickly falls away. This sounds like a Fabulous Thunderbirds or Blasters song. It is classic rock n’ roll brought to life through rock-a-billy & country filters. All that a side, it is a fun song, literally about a Dead Armadillo on the side of the road

“The Last Thing I Need” is a slow country waltz. It has a sorrow mood about it, like a guy who’s singing about his dong that just up and ranned away. And yeah, the song is a sorrowful song about a significant other walking out on the singer. At times it sounds like the singer is about three gulps away from finishing a one liter bottle of bourbon.
“Life in the Pines” is a little faster back & forth bouncing bass with a banjo playing second fiddle. And the song is a Ween-ish country song, one where the lyrics are easy to pick up and where you can feel the rhyme scheme as soon as each verse starts. It is simple, and fun to follow along with, where the notes are held out extra long at the end of each lyrical line. “Ain't No Way” features horns, and is really more of a bluesy, Blasters type song. Again, this song features the synthesized bass that actually reminds me of the similar sound Stevie Wonder used at this period. The song is upbeat and fun, if a bit nasally and repetitive. The end the song breaks the mold, as the band became tired of the repetitive playing, and they allowed a little free space to experiment with vocals and instruments. The very end sounds like the end of “Stairway to Heaven.”
“Sexy Thing” reminds me of a slow and quiet Big Star song covered by a country band. This is a lighter-raising piano and slide guitar anti-love ballad about a hot momma’s girl that won’t betray her mom.
“Daddy's Money” is an upbeat Credence Clearwater type song that has a fun bouncy tempo and a sweet guitar hook backing up the chorus. It has the most energy and is the most straightforward pop song of the bunch. This is usually not my style, but I like this song, especially how every verse is worked to end in “your daddy’s money.” The fun bit about the chorus, is that it has a hidden anticipation / delivery build up. Just as you think the chorus is going to end on a perceived note, the energy is kicked up, and the lyric goes up an octave: Very satisfying.
“I'll Come Knocking” is a final slow ballad, more piano and lounge-based than the other ballads. Again, this makes me think of the early Bee-Gee’s stuff. But the song has a fun guitar sound that reminds me of the liquid distortion that Ween uses in their stuff. The slow nature of the song brings us right back to where the album began. Full circle.

Stand Out Track: Daddy's Money

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