The Frost

Best of the Frost

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The "best of the Frost"? Really? Considering that hardly any of this was previously released? It's a deceptive title for a disc that's actually a live 1969 recording of the band at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, most of it apparently previously unissued. "Apparently" because, despite a sleeve note from producer Samuel Charters, it's irritatingly unclear as to what was used on the band's official releases. What can be gleaned from the notes is that Vanguard had decided to make Frost's second album a live one, but ended up using only two tracks from these recordings, one of them a shorter version of "We Got to Get Out of This Place," here presented in all its 17-minute-with-drum-solo indulgence. It's easy enough to hear why it didn't make the grade as a full album the first time around: the performance is energetic, but not as honed or clearly recorded as it could have been. With renditions of songs from all three of the Frost's Vanguard albums, it's rather workmanlike late-'60s Detroit hard rock with some psychedelic and (particularly on "Sweet Lady Love") melodic pop influences. There's plenty of guitar muscle from Dick Wagner, but not much in the way of stand-out-from-the-crowd original material. It's not a bad souvenir for those interested in the band. But why not more forthrightness in the packaging, instead of coy beat-around-the-bushness and the implication that it's a best-of collection, which it isn't?

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