Saturday, July 22, 2023

Rustix - Bedlam (1969 us, nice soulful funky psych rock, Vinyl edition)

Outside of their native Rochester, New York it's unlikely many folks will remember The Rustix.  That's unfortunate since they were a rather talented blue-eyed soul outfit who also happen to have been one of the first rock bands signed by Motown (well, signed by Motown's short-lived, rock-oriented Rare Earth subsidiary).

Formed in 1967, The Rustix showcased the talents of drummer Bobby Bladino (replaced by former Invictas drummer David Colon Jr.), singer Chuck Brucato,, lead guitarist Bob D'Andrea, singer Albin Galich, bassist Kit Nelson, and keyboardist Vince Strenk, the group became quite popular throughout New York state, eventually scoring a one-shot contract with Chess' Cadet subsidiary resulting in the release of a cover of Eddie Holland's 'Leaving Here' as their debut single.

While the single did little commercially outside of upper New York, manager/Rochester DJ Ferndinand Jay Smith III was responsible for getting the band signed by Motown's newly formed Rare Earth subsidiary.  Apparently signed as part of the label's attempt to dip it's corporate toe in rock and roll, the band was teamed with Motown artist R. Dean Taylor in the producers role.  The group's 1969's debut "Bedlam" offered up a mixture of popular covers (Marvin Gaye, Traffic) and band originals - the latter largely penned by singer Brucato.  From a couple of online items I've read, the band were apparently quite an impressive live act, but judging by the debut album, Motown was seemingly more interested in turning these guys into a second tier blue-eyed soul entity. 

Listening to tracks like 'I Can't Make It Without You', 'Can't You Hear the Music Play' and 'Lady In My Dreams' it wasn't too hard to imagine a sub-par version of the Young Rascals.  Ironically, by 1969  Rascals-styled blue-eyed soul was no longer in vogue with the buying public.  Showcasing two lead singers, Brucato and Galich were both good, , though neither had a truly awe-inspiring voice and when they harmonized, their voices seldom blended very well.   Galich actually reminding me a bit of Three Dog Night's Chuck Negron - if you doubt the comparison check out his performance on 'Wednesday's Child'.  That song also demonstrated how good these guys could have been had they been given a little more flexibility and control over their careers.
1. Feeling Alright (Dave Mason) - 3:50
2. Guess This Is Goodbye (Chuck Brucato) - 3:00
3. I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) - 6:16
4. I Can't Make It Without You (Debbie Dean, Dennis Lussier) - 2:28
5. Can't You Hear the Music Play (Chuck Brucato) - 3:05
6. Lady In My Dreams (Chuck Brucato) - 2:57
7. Country (Chuck Brucato) - 2:39
8. Wednesday's Child (Al Galich) - 3:05
9. Free Again (Chuck Brucato) - 5:49
10.That's What Poppa Told Me (Chuck Brucato) - 2:46

The Rustix
*Chuck Brucato - Vocals
*George Cochini - Lead Guitar 
*Ron Collins - Bass, Backing Vocals 
*David Colon Jr. - Drums, Percussion 
*Albin Galich - Vocals
*Vince Strenk - Keyboards, Accordion