The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver

Dream Kid

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An artists conception of The Dream Kid looking out into a blue universe, standing in a clear cube with clouds and seagulls in his line of sight, is a colorful and good visual equivalent to the music inside this team-up of two musical forces. Songwriters Ian Sutherland and his brother Gavin Sutherland recruit three members of the Warner Bros. group Quiver -- drummer Willie Wilson, guitarist Tim Renwick, and bassist Bruce Thomas -- and come up with a smooth and very satisfying product. Gone is Quiver songwriter vocalist Cal Batchelor, and it is a unique transition concept. Where Chris Thomas produced 1972's Gone in the Morning album for Quiver, Muff Winwood is enlisted to guide the rhythm section and guitarist behind the singing and playing Sutherland Brothers. Interestingly enough, they've retained Quiver engineer Bill Price and cover artist Barney Bubbles from the Warner Bros. days and issue the newer sounds on Island. The album's history lesson aside, the music is an excellent early- to mid-'70s hybrid of folk-rock and pop, with more emphasis on the clever pop side of things. This is Eric Carmen's Raspberries gone underground with less of the jangle guitar -- sounds more borrowed from early Beatles' hits by way of latter day Traffic, and that comfortable silky vocal sound, especially on the five-minute-55-second suite which ends the album, track ten, comprised of three titles, "Rollin' Away," "Rocky Road," and "Saved By the Angel." These Ian Sutherland titles all melt into one another and are easy on the ears, good listening music, though there is nothing on this album as extraordinary as their minor hit "You Got Me Anyway" or the song Rod Stewart picked up from them, "Sailing." Like labelmates Traffic, this is an adult rock endeavor, meant for those who want to hear the lyrics as they take in the solid melodies. "Seagull" is a song that embodies what the band is all about, ebbing and flowing with hooks and pauses, not your typical rock outfit, which might explain why they slipped through the cracks without making a bigger noise. Peter Noone, like Stewart, was smart enough to cover their music, and it is a pity that "Flying Down to Rio" and "You and Me" didn't get more time on FM radio. "I Hear Thunder" and "Lonely Love" are standouts, precursors to AAA radio like Barclay James Harvest and Matthew's Southern Comfort. The strong lyrics are included on the album sleeve, and enough good things can't be said about this album: bouncy guitars and spirited rock which producer Muff Winwood squeezes into the grooves. You've got to spin it three or four times before it catches you; it's one of those special discs that doesn't grab the listener first time around, but when it does, it gets you good.

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