Apple Pie Motherhood Band

Apple Pie

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AllMusic Review by

Apple Pie (1969) pulled double duty for the Boston-based Apple Pie Motherhood Band. It was both the follow-up to their 1968 self-titled debut as well as their swan song. By decades' end the combo consisted of founders Richard Barnaby (bass) -- now known as Dick Barnaby and also credited on bamboo flute, Jackie Bruno (drums), Ted Demos (guitar,) and Jeff Labes (organ/piano). Joe Castagno (guitar) was replaced by Michael Sorafine (guitar) and not one, but two frontmen were added by way of Bruce Paine (vocals) and Adam Meyers (harmonica/vocals). Unlike their former outing, nearly half of Apple Pie consists of reworkings of R&B classics, including a honky-tonkin' take of Chuck Berry's "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man," a wailing remake of the mod Motown entry "Get Ready," as well as an outstanding rave on Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You." The latter is in the unstoppable boogie mode of Canned Heat or the Canadian-based late-'60s blues outfit Crowbar, especially when they were joined by the harp blowin' King Biscuit Boy -- who is reminiscent of Meyers' contributions here. New recruit Sorafine brought along some of the best original tunes on the project. His expansive opener "Orangutang" is perfectly suited to this unit's heavier direction. Remaining as a focal point are Apple Pie Motherhood Band's crystalline vocal harmonies and lengthy electric lead guitar solos, which take on a collective intensity similar to that of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Sorafine serves the straight-ahead rocker "Grandmother Hooker" with sinuous double-lead intertwining guitars that evoke early Spirit sides such as "Mechanical World" or the jazzy "Elijah." Labes has laid low -- considering he wrote most of the tunes on the last LP -- but supplies the mid-tempo and well jammed out "Super Music Man." The strong melody is made all the more conspicuous thanks again to the inspired fretwork of Sorafine and Demos, not to mention Labes' soulful organ fills. Speaking of Demos, his ballad "Gypsy" is a lovely contrast to the edgier sound that permeates the better part of the platter with a Marty Balin-esque quality comparable to the Jefferson Airplane's "Things Are Better in the East." The eerie and foreboding "He Turned You On" is the final slice of Apple Pie. It is certifiably dosed with a blistering guitar courtesy of the author, while marking the conclusion to both this disc and the band as well.

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