Charles Earland

The Great Pyramid

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In the late '60s, Earland became one of the stars on the B-3 organ and earned a classic with 1969's Black Talk. Like many organ players in the '70s, Earland moved over to the Fender Rhodes, the Mini-Moog, and the ARP string synthesizer with mixed results. This 1977 album is the follow-up to 1976's Odyssey. While Earland's skills are never in question here, the execution and the style are the problems here. Although many players legitimately started to do more material pertaining to the universal, even zodiacal concerns, by this time it was becoming old hat. The title track is symptomatic of Earland's the more pensive direction and even emotive Gabor Szabo's guitar solo; can't save the "deepness" from being cloying. Of course with albums of the type, the biggest success comes when the artist isn't really trying. The lilting and melodic "Ahead of Your Time" features vocals from writer and guitarist Jackie Turner, and has Earland doing some effortless and ductile work, especially on the Fender Rhodes. All of the good feelings that song brought were no doubt destroyed by a Earland's disco-fied/Latin version of "Mona Lisa" Other tracks, most notably "In the Land of Mu" and "Upper Atlantis," lack the hooks and are instantly forgettable. Recorded at Sound Ideas Studios in New York, The Great Pyramid features players like Randy Brecker, Ohio Players bassist Marshall Jones, and drummer Harvey Mason. Despite the impressive backing, The Great Pyramid remains a so-so set.

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