Collectors

Grass and Wild Strawberries

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

This is a strange album, from that brief moment when it looked like rock and theater could merge productively and profitably. The band hooked up with poet-playwright George Ryga and the result was a stage work called Grass and Wild Strawberries -- there's no telling if it was ever produced, or what the reaction was if it did make it to a theater (though one can guess, from the fact that nobody has ever heard of it, what any audiences and critics must've thought). And then there's this album of the score. All of the music was written by the band, and the lyrics by Ryga, and the funny thing is, it's not half bad. They still fall back a little too much on the pseudo-Gregorian sound, which only the Yardbirds really pulled off successfully in a rock context ("Still I'm Sad"), but for a good part of this album, their sound is lyrical, enthusiastic, unforced, and rather pleasing, and creative -- at least, they abandoned their Moody Blues pretensions in favor of a bit more of a roots rock sound. "Don't Turn Away (From Me)" might've made the charts in some circumstances, and it plays even better if you ignore the description of the scene for which it was written, something to do about the hero discovering that asparagus is a desert vegetable and encountering falling trees and whispering waves before going to touch his girlfriend's body -- this writer didn't want to know and didn't ask any more questions. Half the tracks are still tuneless filler, but the other half pass muster, and the sound on this album is a lot crisper than their debut, with the drums and bass nice and clear and the guitar well delineated.

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