Affinity

Origins: The Baskervilles 1965

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At first glance this doesn't look a very promising release; for starters, the only future Affinity member within is Mo Foster, and he's playing drums. Besides, the Baskervilles were no more than a short-lived college covers band, and the bulk of the group members left music swiftly behind once they gained their degrees. That's a great pity, because they were astonishingly accomplished -- even Foster, who learned drums while playing them here. As was the fashion in those days, the Baskervilles faithfully echoed as closely as possible the original style and feel of the songs, yet their repertoire was diverse enough to showcase their jazz, blues, surf, and R&B influences. Their steaming "Freight Train," scorching "Summertime Blues," thundering "Peggy Sue Got Married," and exuberant "Hallelujah I Love Her So" show where their real sympathies lay. The group's take on "Get Off of My Cloud" comes close to rivaling the Rolling Stones, whom they promptly snookered by using the song as the opening of a medley comprising more saccharine fare. Just as amusing is the Baskervilles' recorder-led stab at "Take Five," or Foster exuberantly battering about on his kit on "I Feel Fine." More telling is the slight surf twist Kris Johnson gives "She's Not There," a trick he successfully employs elsewhere on the set, and reaches an apotheosis on the rehearsal version of "Perfidia." Apparently, though, the Baskervilles never attempted any original numbers, happy just to reproduce others' hits in the band's own indomitable manner. The bulk of this CD was recorded live at two school functions, and their school chums seem appreciative of their efforts. They should have been far more impressed.

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