Saturday, November 11, 2017

Paladin - Charge! (1972 uk, tremendous crossover prog rock, 2007 extra tracks remaster)

Having failed to ignite the populace with their eponymous debut, a set brimming with joie de vivre and creative crossovers, Paladin decided the only way to break into the mainstream was to assault it. And this they set about doing with their sophomore set, 1972's Charge. Far heavier than their previous set, the quintet seemed determined to beat listeners into submission. That's evident from the get go, as they bash their way through the opening track "Give Me Your Hand," a rhythm-heavy number fueled by fiery guitar solos, strident vocals, and a hard rocking sound. The only reminder of their previous musical predilections is the Latin percussion that bubbles up halfway through the piece. But then this is much more a hard rock album, with Derek Foley's guitar now given far more prominence while the vocals stray into Robert Plant territory, and the organ is invariably set towards psychedelia. 

This inevitably constricts their musical experimentations, yet the band still take some interesting excursions along the way. "Good Lord," for instance, encompasses Latin rhythms, a Southern rock segment, space rock passages, and even pop. "Watching the World Pass By" is even more diverse, kicking off in an easygoing fashion with a jaunty harmonica solo, then running into discordance, a majestic church organ, bouncy blues, a country hoedown, and a jig before a ferocious guitar solo takes the piece out in hard rock style. The Beatles get a nod on "Any Way," funk goes psychedelic on "Get One Together," and the roots of rock are explored on the barrelling "Well We Might," with the rest of the set dedicated to R&B laced rock. Yet somehow it all sounds a bit forced and heavy-handed. Still it's a hard rocking extravaganza. 

The Roger Dean cover art inevitably excited interest, the band's new hard rock approach garnered them more praise, but not enough to prevent them from calling it a day. In later years, Charge's reputation among prog rock fans soared, more so than their far superior self-titled set. [Esoteric wisely reissued both, with Charge buttressed further by five bonus tracks. Three are alternate takes of songs from the set, the other two instrumental versions of Paladin numbers.]
by Jo-Ann Greene
1. Give Me Your Hand - 6:50
2. Well We Might - 5:05
3. Get One Together (Keith Webb) - 2:38
4. Anyway - 4:20
5. Good Lord (Derek Foley, Lou Stonebridge, Peter Beckett) - 6:47
6. Mix Your Mind With The Moonbeams - 6:03
7. Watching The World Pass By (Lou Stonebridge) - 9:38
8. Give My Love To You (Derek Foley, Keith Webb) - 2:31
9. Sweet Sweet Music - 2:48
10.Anyway (Alternate Version) - 4:19
11.Sweet Sweet Music (Alternate Version) - 2:48
12.Well We Might (Alternate Version) - 6:10
13.Fill Up Your Heart (Instrumental) - 5:43
14.Bad Times (Instrumental) - 7:14
All songs by Peter Solley except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 8-14

The Paladin
*Lou Stonebridge - Vocals, Electric Piano, Harmonica
*Peter Solley - Organ, Violin, Grand Piano
*Keith Webb - Drums, Percussion
*Derek Foley - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Beckett - Bass, Vocals

1971  Paladin - Paladin (2007 remaster) 
Related Acts
1966-69  Terry Reid - Superlungs / The Complete Studio Recordings (two disc set)
1967  Donovan - A Gift From A Flower To A Garden (2008 remaster)
1967-69  Ruperts People - Magic World Of Rupert's People (2001 Circle limited edition)
1970  Philamore Lincoln - The North Wind Blew South (2010 remastered edition)
1972  Bond And Brown - Two Heads Are Better Than One (2009 remaster)

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