Jody Grind

Far Canal

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Jody Grind's personnel changed substantially between the recording of their first album, 1969's One Step On, and their second and final one, 1970s Far Canal. Tim Hinkley was still on keyboards, but there was a new guitarist, Bernie Holland (who also did some singing), as well as a new drummer to complete the trio, Pete Gavin. As expected, the sound of the group, while still in the early British serious progressive rock bag, changed as well -- sometimes for the good, sometimes for the worse. The jazzy inclinations of the debut were mostly gone, save the atypically tasteful instrumental "Ballad for Bridget." On "We've Had It" and parts of "Vegetable Oblivion," there was a classical melodic influence that was more accessible than anything on the first album, as well as somewhat more in line with what groups such as Yes were doing, though Jody Grind were far less cheerful. "Bath Sister," however, could have been the work of an entirely different band, sounding as if they were trying to imitate Cream with an organ-guitar-drums lineup -- and not doing so very well. And so it went for the rest of this very erratic record, where the quite accomplished chops of the players were totally overwhelmed by the mediocrity of the material, as well as their willingness to spin off into overlong instrumental sections with tedious riffs. They really didn't have enough in the way of songs to justify an LP, but that didn't keep them from filling up space with heavy, somber organ-guitar interplay. And while the presence of three consecutive tracks titled "Plastic Shit," "Vegetable Oblivion," and "Red Worms and Lice" might lead you to expect something Frank Zappaesque, in fact these in the main are pretty boring, insubstantial period progressive hard rock pieces, "Plastic Shit" descending into some shameless (deliberately ironic, one can only hope?) sub-Robert Plant vocalizing.

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