Lullaby Opus Four

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Everything Bold (or the Bold, or Steve Walker & the Bold, as they were also billed) did is contained on this CD, the bulk of which is devoted to Bold's self-titled 1969 LP. There's more, though: both sides of their two prior garage rock singles for the Cameo and Dynovoice labels, and both sides of the mid-'60s single by the Esquires, who evolved into the Bold. As for the Bold album that takes up the majority of the disc: ABC released plenty of psychedelic LPs in the late '60s that were weird, awkward mixtures of West Coast psychedelia, heavy rock, blues, pop, and more, often burdened by subpar songwriting and performers who seemed ill at ease or inexperienced in the studios. The sole Bold album fits into that niche, but if it's any recommendation or consolation, as such records go, it's certainly one of the better ones. Actually it's not bad, and a little lighter and less ponderous than most such efforts, though the lack of outstanding original material or mega-personality limits its appeal to psychedelic collectors. In addition to the trendy psychedelic-age ingredients listed earlier, Bold also added some quasi-classical organ once in a while, particularly on the opening instrumental, "Lullaby Opus Four"; "Free Fogue" even sounds like new age music. They're also good vocal harmonizers, which lends otherwise generic late-'60s psychedelic hard rockers like "Friendly Smile" a nice buoyancy. And a bent for folk-rock asserts itself once in a while, in the wistful "Changing Seasons," the Buffalo Springfield-flavored "Child of Love" and "Words Don't Make It," and the pretty nice, stretched-out cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Garageheads will consider the bonus tracks, however, as the highlights of this CD, particularly the single "Gotta Get Some," which is like Paul Revere & the Raiders at their toughest, yet lewder than Mark Lindsay and company ever quite got. Also among the bonus tracks is a fierce cover of "The Train Kept A Rollin'" from the Bold's subsequent single, though it won't make you forget the Yardbirds' version. The Esquires single is only of historical interest, matching a cover of "Shake a Tail Feather" with a typical Steve Walker-penned British Invasion-derived garage rocker. The packaging is very good, highlighted by an interview with Walker.