Sunblind Lion

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This was the 1976 debut recording by Sunblind Lion, which displayed their knack for writing sophisticated album-oriented rock. The group was comprised of singer Keith Abler who was a member of both Love Society and Phase III. Additional Love Society members joining this band were guitarist Dave Steffen and lyricist (and drummer in waiting) Mike Dellger. Keyboardist Duane Abler and ex-Phase III drummer Dave Hassinger completed the lineup. Steffen's "Ride the Wind" leads off the album, a blue collar guitar rock piece that gives way to a progressive Duane Abler keyboard interlude and wraps up with a return to Steffen's nifty guitar work. This song with its rock meets prog tenor is typical of this recording. "Cat Eyes" and "Jamaican Holiday" were their two most popular songs but leaned heavier toward radio-friendly pop/rock. The remainder of the album contained excellent progressive rock that magnified all of the bands' strengths like Steffen's playing that could sound as much like Martin Barre as Steve Howe. The instrumental intro to "Spring Essence" sounds very Yes-like and frequently Steffen and Steve Olschesky's guitar and bass interplay sounds strikingly similar to that of early '70s Jethro Tull or Wishbone Ash. Singer Keith Abler's ability for writing intricate melodies coupled with Mike Dellger's lyrics made for an effective songwriting tandem. The three-part title track written by Abler with its instrumental and lyrical excellence and time signature changes should have been a prog lovers' dream.

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