Blue Mink

Our World

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The Morgan Studios session team's sophomore album is a classic example of (very) early-'70s British pop, an exquisitely performed, flawlessly arranged collection of lightly rocking originals that are not quite soft enough to be as cloying as similar efforts by contemporaries Harmony Grass and the Brotherhood of Man, but only occasionally memorable enough to actually stick in the mind. The title track, Blue Mink's third U.K. hit, was the original album's main selling point -- subsequently, of course, the group's prototype rendition of "Gasoline Alley Bred" attracted the most attention, courtesy of the Hollies' hit version, and it must be said that there is little to choose between either version. Impressive, too, is "You Walked Away," a Madeline Bell showcase that layers her vocals over sultry percussion and percolating guitar, while the closing "Jubilation" is a "Get Back"-style rocker that illustrates just what a powerful bunch of musicians Blue Mink was, once the band dropped the pop posture. Alan Parker's guitar sizzles, and it's not for nothing that Bell is frequently ranked among the greatest R&B singers Britain has ever produced. (Roger Cook released an alternate version of the song as a solo single, later in the year.) Unfortunately, little else on the album even threatens to touch the same highs as these, but overall it's a sterling effort and a proud successor to their Melting Pot debut. An abridged version of Our World would be released in the U.S. as Real Mink.

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