Green Bullfrog

Green Bullfrog

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Carved firmly in the mold of the superstar jam sessions that fascinated the rock cognoscenti during the late '60s/early '70s, Green Bullfrog was the brainchild of producer Derek Lawrence. Built around longtime occasional collaborator Ritchie Blackmore, the session band also featured the pseudonymous talents of Tony Ashton ("Bevy"), Big Jim Sullivan ("Boss"), Earl Jordan ("Jordan"), Albert Lee ("Pinta"), Charles "Chas" Hodges ("Sleepy"), Matthew Fisher ("Sorry"), Rod Alexander ("Vicar"), and Blackmore's Deep Purple bandmate Ian Paice ("Speedy"). Contrary to rumor and the inferences of the Ecy Street label reissue, however, neither Roger Glover nor Jon Lord were involved.

With such a stellar lineup, the actual musicianship is impeccable -- or, at least, as impeccable as you'd expect from a one-day studio party. A couple of Lawrence-penned numbers alone can be considered "original" numbers; the remainder of the album comprises blues-rock-inflected covers of sundry rock & roll staples, punctuated by a rough-and-ready version of the Creation's "Makin' Time."

With Blackmore, Sullivan, and Lee involved, it is naturally a guitar-heavy event, and there's certainly some searing playing to be found amid the good-time grooves and loose-limbed energies; the seven-minute title track is a particular tour de force. One has to admit, however, that unless ragtag armies of boogie buddies really are your cup of tea, there's little about Green Bullfrog to truly engage the attention. Just like every other superstar jam session, then.