Amen Corner

Round Amen Corner: The Complete Deram Recordings

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Featuring their British hits "Bend Me, Shape Me" and "Gin House Blues," Amen Corner's debut album was the work of a band who didn't either really fit into any of the trends of the late '60s or qualify as one of the era's more innovative or interesting groups. They were accomplished at what they did, however, which was offer a mix of blue-eyed soul-rock and British pop. Built around the distinctive high vocals of Andy Fairweather Low, they also had (unlike most British bands) a horn section, as well as a distinguished instrumentalist in organist Blue Weaver. The album was an erratic affair, dragged down by a cover of "Love Me Tender," a sort of vaudeville-ska hybrid in "Judge Rumpel Crassila," and some rather uninspired choices of material to interpret, like "Let the Good Times Roll" and Andy Williams' "Can't Get Used to Losing You." On the other hand, they ripped through straight-ahead blue-eyed soul like "Our Love (Is in the Pocket)" with flair, and "Something You Got" was almost like a U.K. equivalent to late-'60s Stax deep soul ballads. It offered barely any original material, a shame as a couple B-sides of the period with Fairweather Low compositions showed the kind of psychedelic pop-influenced writing more akin to a band like the late-'60s Small Faces. Fortunately, the 1990 CD added those B-sides, "Nema" and "I Know," as bonus tracks, along with two other cuts from 1967-1968 singles, "Satisnek the Job's Worth" (the B-side of "Bend Me, Shape Me") and the small British hit single "The World of Broken Hearts."

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