Orthotonics

Wake up You Must Remember

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Fans of live music around the Richmond, VA, area would recall this unusual band dominating the more progressive rock venues of that city in the '80s. Elsewhere in the universe, Orthotonics made contact via a pair of albums, of which this was the first. The lineup that is featured here was polished in its presentation of the band's diverse and complex repertoire, but it sounds as if a collective nervous energy prohibited much of a spark from developing, at least to the extent of what would have been normal for the band if it was entertaining in a small bar in front of many of its friends. Even if documented in a state far from ultimate performance status, the material here is of great interest from the standpoint of text as well as musically. The material is credited simply to the group, so it is only speculation as to what words bear the trademark of a real musical eccentric such as Rebby Sharp, who eventually became an old-time music fiddler. Other interesting musicians appear here, including the underrated trumpeter Paul Watson doubling on guitar and the effective bassist Tom Carson, whose style seems to have been influenced by the late cellist Tom Cora. "Woman Fish" and "Burnt Shoes" are good tracks to check out for an example of the strange activity this group is capable of.

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