The British blues-rock boom was such a big deal at the end of the 1960s that plenty of also-ran bands got the chance to fill out the bottom of concert and festival bills, and also to record. Sam Apple Pie were among them, and their self-titled debut album didn't offer much in the style that was out of the ordinary, though it did possess basic competence. You needed more than basic competence to make a mark, however, even in a genre that could be as hidebound as British blues. Sam Apple Pie didn't have those extra special somethings, relying too much upon stock blues riffs and good-time energy that might have been effective in a concert setting, but are pretty dull on record. If any influence from their peers seems strongest, it's early Fleetwood Mac (in both their stinging blues modes and their quieter, more reflective ones). Songs like "Stranger," "Sometime Girl," and "Winter of My Love," with its swooping slide, downcast lyrics, and minor keys, definitely recall some of the Mac's early tunes. But this is way below the level of the Peter Green-helmed Fleetwood Mac in singing, playing, and songwriting, though at least the band wrote every song on the album except one ("Tiger Man [King of the Jungle]," where the macho bluster is so callow that it's uncertain whether it's a parody or a sincere attempt at the real thing). Certainly the standout track, though the least typical one, is "Annabelle," with a soft jazz-classical-rock blend -- and little of the blues -- that's, again, very reminiscent of some of Fleetwood Mac's work in the 1969-1970 period. The sudden detour into a jazzy jam with flute in "Moonlight Man" is another promising avenue that, alas, wasn't explored elsewhere on this release. The 2003 CD reissue on Repertoire adds mono single mixes of two of the songs, "Tiger Man" and "Sometime Girl," as bonus tracks.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger