Redwing

Redwing

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Redwing began life as a British Invasion-influenced garage band called the New Breed and cut a power pop album as Glad before making their debut under their new name in 1970, and while Redwing had embraced the country-rock sounds that were all the rage with hipsters at the time, they were one band that refused to get laid-back and aimless as they headed back to the land. While Redwing's country influences are clear throughout, these 12 tunes also boast plenty of tough, funky energy and the rhythm section delivers a solid kick that recalls the Rolling Stones more than the Eagles. (Timothy B. Schmit played with the group before joining Poco and later the Eagles, but doesn't appear on this album.) Guitarists Tom Phillips, Ron Floegel, and Andrew Samuels (the latter doubling on bass) trade sharp, cleanly interwoven licks punctuated by potent slide work, and vocalists Floegel, Phillips, and George Hullin (who also played drums) sound gutsy when they take the lead and smooth as silk when they harmonize. Lyrically, Redwing's songs are good if not exceptional, but the melodies are consistently terrific, proving a band can be tuneful while rocking solid and laying out hooks that draw the listener into its tunes rather than just hovering over the top. With its tough R&B undercurrent, playful swagger, and real rock drive, Redwing sounds more like a precursor to the '90s alt-country movement than '70s country-rock, and listeners who like their roots rock straight up with no frills will go for this in a big way.

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