Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lighthouse - One Fine Morning (1971 canada, tremendous brass jazz rock)

As Canada's entry in the big brass soul sound of the late sixties, Lighthouse was clinging tenuously to the second rung, behind Blood, Sweat and Tears, the Electric Flag and the Chicago Transit Authority, until the release of the best-selling One Fine Morning. Lighthouse was formed in the wake of the Paupers break-up by drummer/songwriter Skip Prokop, then a much-in-demand session musician for, among others, Steve Miller, Carlos Santana and Al Kooper. While in New York, Prokop hooked up with teenage keyboardist Paul Hoffert, himself ensconced in the downtown jazz scene and employed there scoring Broadway musicals. A jaunt to Ann Arbor, Mich. would net guitarist Ralph Cole, whose band Thyme had recorded several proto-psychedelic singles on the legendary A-squared label.

The band was ready to rock by May 14, 1969, when the thirteen-piece orchestra debuted at Toronto's venerable Rock Pile. Prolific perhaps to a fault, they rifled off three middling LPs in just over a year for RCA before their fortuitous summer of 1970. After jettisoning RCA (or perhaps it was vice-versa) for the smaller GRT/Evolution, Prokop pared the band down to eleven, adding singer Bob McBride, whose robust chops and grizzled charm would augment their brawny brass assault.

The title track, leading off side two of this LP, is still Lighthouse's finest moment, a buoyant paean to love riddled with crisp horns and blistering guitar, not to mention McBride's lusty vocal performance. The soul/gospel 'Hats Off to the Stranger', though somewhat derivative of Blood, Sweat and Tears, especially McBride's throaty Clayton-Thomasesque bellows, also saw chart action in Canada. And the summery 'Little Kind Words' exposes a more fragile side with its buttery harmonies and cinematic flute/keyboard arrangements.

Though Lighthouse would crack the lucrative juggernaut south of the border once again with the more radio-friendly 'Sunny Days', the torrid brass/guitar workout of 'One Fine Morning' will forever remain the band's signature staple up here in Canuckistan. 
by Michael Panontin
1. Love Of A Woman (Cole, Prokop) - 5:47
2. Little Kind Words (Prokop) - 4:11
3. Old Man (Smith) - 5:35
4. Sing, Sing, Sing (Cole, Prokop) - 3:19
5. 1849 (Cole, Prokop) - 6:12
6. One Fine Morning (Prokop) - 5:11
7. Hats Off (To The Stranger) (McBride, McGraw, Prokop) - 3:37
8. Show Me The Way (Prokop) - 2:25
9. Step Out On The Sea (Prokop) - 5:04
10.Sweet Lullabye (Prokop) - 4:53
11.One Fine Morning (Single Edit) (Prokop) - 3:21
12.Take It Slow (Out In The Country) (Cole, Jollimore, Smith) - 3:05
13.Sweet Lullabye (Single Edit) (Prokop) - 4:04

*Dick Armin - Cello
*Ralph Cole - Guitar, Vocals
*Don DiNovo - Viola
*Paul Hoffert - Keyboards
*Keith Jollimore - Vocals, Wind
*Bobby McBride - Percussion, Lead Vocals
*Pete Pantaluk - Trumpet
*Skip Prokop - Drums, Guitar, Vocals
*Howard Shore - Saxophone
*Larry Smith - Trombone, Vocals
*Louis Yacknin - Bass
*Jimmy Ienner - Vocals
*The Edmonton Hawks, The Maltese Moon - Percussion

1973  Can You Feel It?  (2008 RDI issue)
Related Acts
1967  The Paupers - Magic People
1968  The Paupers · Ellis Island  (2008 remaster)
1969  The Live Adventures Of Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites & Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West (2009 remaster and expanded)

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