Woody's Truck Stop

Woody's Truck Stop

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Woody's Truck Stop's biggest claim to fame was that they were one of Todd Rundgren's early groups prior to forming the Nazz. Rundgren had moved to the resort town of Wildwood, NJ, after graduating from high school, and began sitting in with a few local bands, including Woody's Truck Stop. After seeing Rundgren play incredible slide guitar one day, drummer/group leader Bob Radeloff convinced lead guitarist Alan Miller that having two lead guitarists -- like Paul Butterfield's band -- might be good for the band. Rundgren joined, and soon they were based in Philadelphia, where some of the members were going to college. From the first day, Miller and Rundgren were at loggerheads about the band's direction; Miller wanted the band to remain more blues-oriented, while Rundgren wanted to venture off in a more psych-pop direction (inspired by the Beatles and the Who). Woody's Truck Stop, meanwhile, was signed to Smash Records, and played many high-profile gigs in the Philadelphia area. In May 1967, after a particularly awful gig, Rundgren quit to concentrate on his own music; he was replaced by rhythm guitarist Greg Radcliffe. Bassist Ron Bogeon replaced Caron Van Osten, who eventually ended up in Rundgren's new band, the Nazz. This lineup recorded the band's first album, Woody's Truck Stop, at Regent Sound in New York City. It was released in early 1969. The electric blues of Paul Butterfield and the Blues Project, and the Chicago-based blues of Junior Wells and Sonny Boy Williamson -- both artists are covered here -- provide the band's main influence. There are a handful of ballads too -- "Marble Reflections," "Tryin' So Hard," "Everything Is Fine," and "Just to Be With You" -- but the best track is the heavy psych-rocker "Color Scheme." The album failed to bring the band success, and soon after its release, Woody's Truck Stop called it a day.

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