Short Cross


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Opening with song titles such as "Nothin' But a Woman," "Wastin' Time," "Suicide Blues," and "Just Don't Care," Short Cross made no secret on their sole 1972 album, Arising of the fact that they aspired to make hard blues-rock like their idols -- Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad -- were creating. Sure enough, the album is a piece of competently played blues-rock. All the bandmembers are quality musicians: the drums fall into a nice groove, the basslines soar and dip, and there is no shortage of good guitar licks. Velpo Robertson has a fine voice, if a bit too clean for actual blues authenticity, and he writes solid songs. But there is nothing particularly original about their music, and certainly nothing on a par with the hard rock heroes who were popular at the time. With that said, however, Arising, in the right situation, can be a fun listen. "Nothin' But a Woman" and "Just Don't Care" are a couple of energetic rockers, the former with some nice brassy touches, and sound as if they could easily keep the dancefloor moving. "On My Own" is good-timey blues that is the perfect canvas for some hot slide guitar. The album is actually a pretty amazing recording, not for its originality, but because none of the bandmembers at the time of this recording were older than 18 years old. It's easy to see why their peers would have been impressed with them. And when they kick into the chugging Santana jam in the middle of "Till We Reach the Sun," Short Cross actually hit upon something that is well-played and fun, but also thrilling. Most of the album, though, falls short of any genuine excitement.

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