Gear Fab exhumes yet another group of recordings from the early '70s that have never officially seen release before: Another story of a band who had the potential, played with all the right people, and aroused label interest (Shelter tried to sign it), but ultimately got lost somewhere down the fuzzy memory hole of the era. Moving its center of operations back and forth between its Colorado home and Washington state, Wakefield never quite took that last step beyond its bar band origins despite performing throughout the west (including a showcase at L.A.'s Whiskey a Go-Go) and Midwest with such top-list acts as Eric Burdon and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, but The Lost Warthog Tapes certainly suggests that it wasn't due to lack of talent. While there is some of the typical early-'70s excess to be heard on this archival find -- pondering where the band was going for heavy, silly mystical lyrics, a tendency to mistake an interesting riff for a song and length for mood, jamming several minutes past the point of redundancy -- there are also some tremendously imaginative stretches on the album and even entire songs that are worth the time it takes to listen, not often the case with "lost" recordings from completely obscure and unknown entities. The band's sound existed somewhere between psychedelia (numerous outstanding guitar and organ solos), acid rock, hard rock, and soul-rock, best-exemplified on the pair of opening tracks, "Bring It On," with its impressive Chicago-style horn arrangements, jazzy saxophone solo, and Latin percussive touches, and the edgy "Something Is Coming," an explosion of harmony. Even if Wakefield rarely managed to shape its ideas into actual songs on the rest of the album, The Lost Warthog Tapes has enough excellent moments to recommend it.
AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart