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Frijid Pink - Earth Omen - LP -

Price per Unit (stuk): €9.95


After releasing two albums within a year in 1970, Frijid Pink fell apart when the core song writing team of lead guitarist Gary Ray Thompson and vocalist/bassist Tom Beaudry (AKA Kelly Green) left the band. Not one to be put off by such minor setbacks(!), drummer Richard Stevers promoted guest keyboard player Larry Zelankato full band membership then brought in new vocalist Jon Wearing and lead guitarist Craig Webb. Bassist Tom Harris, who played on the band's d├ębut album, also returned to the line up having been absent without replacement for "Defrosted" (Beaudry filled in on bass).

It is therefore immediately apparent that this is not the band which recorded the wonderful adaptation of "House of the rising sun", but a largely new band exploiting the name of their predecessors. It is ironic then that this is generally hailed as the best, and certainly most progressive, album released under the band name.

From the opening bars of "Miss evil" it is apparent why Zelankato has been promoted, his Hammond organ fanfare indicating that this album will exploit his talents to a much greater extent. The oft quoted comparisons with Uriah Heep are justified, but only in relation to Heep's earliest days ("Very 'eavy, very 'umble") when they were still finding their own direction.

The progressive credentials of the band should not be overstated though, even when referring to this album. While tracks such as the opening "Miss evil" display an admirable willingness to indulge in more complex arrangements, other songs such as "Sailor" are largely straightforward, in this case anthemic pop, affairs.

Musically, "Earth omen" is light years ahead of the band's two preceding albums, both in terms of composition and performance. Almost completely absent is are the basic blues tenets which dominated those albums, to be replaced by a rich variety of styles and sounds. "Lazy day" is one track which sums up this diversity nicely, the song's pop ballad foundations being built upon by fine harmonies, delightful mandolin, and some excellent bass playing. Another highlight is "Eternal dream" which features Uriah Heep like multi-part harmonic ah-ahs and "Dream" references.

"Earth omen" is in many ways a one off album. At times it reminds me of Rare Bird's flirtation with prog around the same time ("As your mind flies by"), in that it is radically different to the other Frijid Pink releases. The album features the heavier (but not metallic) end of the prog spectrum, driven along by powerful organ and a fine bass/drum workhouse. Its strength lies in both the song writing and the performances by the band members.

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