Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gypsy - Gypsy (1971 uk, tremendous west coast influenced psych folk rock, japan remaster with extra tracks)

Gypsy's self-titled debut LP (released, confusingly, under the title English Gypsy in the U.S.) was the work of a British band extremely influenced by late-'60s Californian folk-psychedelic-rock -- more so than almost any other U.K. group you could name, in fact. 

Why is that, then, that hardly anyone can name Gypsy these days? It's because the album's extremely derivative of Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and especially Moby Grape, particularly in the vocal harmonies. And it's because, while those are good influences to work from, the songs aren't nearly as good as the best work by the aforementioned acts. Some specialists would cavil that it's unfair to hold secondary bands like Gypsy up to such high standards, and that the music should be judged on its own terms. But let's be straight about it: on this particular platter, the similarities are inescapable. 

The lead vocals often have the gritty tremble characteristic of numerous Moby Grape tracks; the harmonies on "I Don't Care Do You Mind?" are very much in the early CSNY style; the extended soloing on "Turning Wheel" can't fail to recall Neil Young's "Down by the River"; some of the lyrics on "Standing Alone, Feeling So Bad" sound rather like Buffalo Springfield's "Mr. Soul"; "Pony Ride" is a son (or should that be "grandson"?) of Moby Grape's "Hey Grandma"; etc. 

It's well-played and well-sung, with some appealing sustained guitar effects, but more originality (and better material) were needed to make something enduring. The 2004 CD reissue adds the 1971 non-LP single "Changes Comin'"/"Don't Cry on Me," as well as six previously unreleased tracks recorded around the same time. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. What Makes a Man a Man? (Robin Pizer) - 3:07
2. Keep On Trying (Robin Pizer) - 4:35
3. I Don't Care, Do You Mind? (David McCarthy) - 3:13
4. Turning Wheel (David McCarthy) - 8:04
5. Feel About the Country Fine (David McCarthy) - 2:30
6. Standing Alone, Feel So Bad (John Knapp) - 6:04
7. I Want To Be Beside You (Robin Pizer) - 5:16
8. Please Don't Stay (John Knapp) - 5:16
9. Let Me Take You Home (Robin Pizer) - 4:50
10.Pony Ride (John Knapp) - 4:59
11.Change Coming (Robin Pizer) - 3:40
12.Don't Cry On Me (John Knapp) - 3:15
13.Listen To the Music (Robin Pizer) - 3:29
14.I Don't Wanna Lose You (Robin Pizer) - 3:12
15.I Guess She'll Have To Know (David McCarthy) - 3:34
16.There's a Party (John Knapp) - 3:46
17.It Don't Bother Me (John Knapp) - 3:30
18.What a Day (John Knapp) - 4:56

*John Knapp - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*David Mccarthy - Bass, Vocals
*Robin Pizer - Guitar, Vocals
*Rod Read - Guitar, Vocals
*Moth Smith - Drums
*Ray Martinez - Guitar, Vocals

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