Corky Laing

Makin' It on the Street

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Makin' It on the Street is such a good album it should really get Mountain fans angry, as well as calling to arms the followers of the brief but important West, Bruce & Laing. The title track, a Corky Laing co-write with F. Conroy, is in the pocket, vocally and instrumentally, and beyond that it is simply great. Laing's voice is very appealing and the music drives with precision and heart. "See Me Through" beats Bruce Hornsby at his own game (and predates his rise to fame by a good nine years). John Sandlin's production is understated; it is your typical West Coast sound that Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles were emphasizing, but the feel is straight out of Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett. Horns chirp in and out and there is none of Leslie West's crunch, though he did co-write the first track with Laing and M. Jones. Remaking Barbara George's 1961 R&B hit, "I Know," is a perfect New Orleans addition to this surprisingly fine record. Why it was released on Elektra is a mystery, as it sounds nothing like the Doors, Neil Sedaka, Carly Simon, Queen, or the Stooges. OK, maybe it's a bit like Carly Simon when she and James Taylor did "Mockingbird," but still, it is not often that a hard rock drummer can deliver something so powerful straight out of left field. Eric Clapton's appearances have made discs by Yoko Ono and others highly collectible, but Makin' It on the Street seems to have slipped through the cracks. The bizarre cover, with Corky Laing as a guitar-strumming minstrel (the drum sticks are in his back pocket), isn't as effective as the inside photo of a smiling shirtless Laing on horseback. It's not often a musician gets to step out of the genre he's associated with to make such a musical album totally on his terms. As stated above, it should make fans of both Mountain as well as West, Bruce & Laing quite angry; his talents were under-utilized on those projects and could have lifted them to loftier heights. The Southern rock slant and multitude of friends -- including but not limited to Eric Clapton, Joe English, Paul Hornsby, Vanetta Fields, Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Randall Bramlett, and so on and so forth -- combine to manifest a true musical anomaly that is as satisfying as it is surprising.

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