Wool

Wool

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Wool's sole, self-titled LP has kernels of a promising pop-psychedelic band, but is too derivative and ordinary for even the collector's world to make much of a fuss about. Part of the problem is an over-reliance on cover material; only three of the nine tracks are originals. All of those are from the pen of lead guitarist Ed Wool, but other than the haunting psychedelic folk-rock tune "If They Left Us Alone" (easily the album's standout track), they're forgettable. The covers of Big Brother & the Holding Company's "Combination of the Two," the Band's "To Kingdom Come," and Chip Taylor's "Any Way That You Want Me" (a British hit for the Troggs) are competent, at times likable (if unimaginatively) done, but a little pointless in view of the superior originals. At least Neil Diamond's "The Boy With the Green Eyes" (given a treatment rather like a funky Mamas & the Papas here) was an obscure tune, having been previously done on a non-hit single by the Angels, but the ten-minute version of Dyke & the Blazers' "Funky Walk" is indulgently overlong. Gifting this group with an album may have been premature; they sound as if they might have come over well in a live setting (not many bands of the time could have simulated "Combination of the Two," down to Claudia Wool's Janis Joplin-like vocal, as convincingly), but needed more time to both develop both an identity and more original material. The 2006 CD reissue adds historical liner notes and vintage photos.

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