Pacific Gas & Electric

Are You Ready

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Anchored by Pacific Gas & Electric's sole hit "Are You Ready," the album of the same name -- actually their third LP -- treads a thin line between eclecticism and confusion, and is actually weaker on the whole than its predecessor, 1969's Pacific Gas & Electric. Certainly the ominous yet inspirational gospel-funk-psychedelia of "Are You Ready" was the strongest track, and to this day the only one that most casual rock fans remember. Yet other cuts on the album indicated they couldn't decide whether to be a heavy blues-rock group ("Hawg for You"), a more soul-dipped version of the Band ("Staggolee"), a swampy soul-rock outfit (a cover of the Isley Brothers' "The Blackberry"), or, least convincingly, cry-in-your-beer honky tonk balladeers ("Mother, Why Don't You Cry?"). This wouldn't have been such a handicap if the material wasn't as mediocre as it was, and any song titled "Love, Love, Love, Love, Love" is a warning that lyrical imagination wasn't in abundance on the day it was composed. They do play the James Brown-psychedelic rock-fusion card with some gusto on "Elvira," and Charlie Allen's vocals are pretty soulful, though it's only on a cover of Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman" that they come to the fore in a no-nonsense manner.

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