Pacific Gas & Electric

Pacific Gas and Electric

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On most of their second album, Pacific Gas & Electric play soul-rock with some dash and verve, though the songwriting isn't up to the level of musicianship or Charlie Allen's genuinely soulful vocals. Pacific Gas & Electric are really a band that would be better served by a selective compilation than any of their individual LPs, and strong candidates for such an anthology would include "Death Row #172" and "Bluesbuster," which are a little like early Blood, Sweat & Tears with more blues-rock and less bluster. Some of the other songs are closer to average period blues-rock workouts, like "Miss Lucy" and the live cover of John Lee Hooker's "She's Long and She's Tall," though the group original "My Women" finds them getting into a slow blues-funk groove with graceful style. The four-part, 17-minute "PG&E Suite" is typical of the highs and lows of many such psychedelic rock experiments of the late '60s, starting off promisingly with the cinematic jazz-rock instrumental "The Young Rabbits." But it runs off the rails with too much drum soloing, and the momentum utterly drains when the suite peters out into poor white-boy blues that's obviously trying to be drolly humorous, yet ends up being painfully lame. The closing blues-soul-rock stomper "Redneck" restores the energy level somewhat, but it's an erratic record on the whole, as would be its follow-up, 1970's Are You Ready.

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