The Hook - Will Grab You - 1968
This album, hailing from 1968 unveiled its cover to me at a thrift store in Bethesda recently. I have a fun obsession of making a hand gesture of "the claw" (seen clearly on this album cover) when people/things annoy me. I would love to have an album with "the claw" or as they call it "the hook" on it. Into the our buying pile it went. At fifty cents a pop, why not? When Mr. VV went through our pile of potential purchases, he decided against The Hook and slyly put it back in the bin (not just in the front of the bin, but cleverly sandwiched in the middle, in hopes I wouldn't realize we weren't going to buy it). I knew absolutely nothing of the album, but I decided I wanted it solely based on the claw-tastic cover. So, I dug around for it a bit and that is how the album clawed its way into our collection.
Expectations were low for the first spin of this record, I mean really, "The Hook Will Grab You" - way to be cliche on your album naming conventions. We made it all the way through Side A (nervous looks for what was to come) without wanting to run screaming, and in fact, it was even good! But would the B Side hold up? It got a flip and surprising enough, it wasn't bad. Their sound is very reminiscent of their contemporaries, The Doors, mixed in with some Cream and Jimi Hendrix. They are a tablespoon tie-dye pysch rock, a teaspoon blues rock, a teaspoon rock and roll, and a pinch of whimsy. "Garbage Man" is literally a love song about a girl swooning over the local garbage man which is accompanied by garbage truck sounds - think shattering glass and truck varoooom noises. There's also some lalala-la-la-la-la-ing. Pretty fun. But then take the bad side of whimsy with a track "Everything's Groovy" which is a low (or high) point in the record. It is in fact very groovy. Hopefully they were super drugged out when the lyrics came to them: "everything's groovy, things are nice, think we're living in a paradise!"
Think of "Afternoon Delight" but sung by Ron Burgundy and cohorts in Anchorman. Yeah.
However, this is not representative of the rest of the tracks on this album. Opening track "Homes" has distorted guitar solos and screeching a la Rolling Stones. Harmonica kicks in on "Looking for You" and catchy double time beats define "Turn Your Head" which sounds like it is recorded in lo-fi - maybe inspiration for the Black Keys. Heavy guitar riffs (sounding like a precursor to Black Sabbath) and vocals on "Son of Fantasy" prove they are a serious band.
Something tells me this gem of an album has gotten lost in all the format medium crossovers in the past decades. It seems only to be available on a grossly overpriced import CD and of course the vinyl. Further proving a good reason to listen to vinyl and to rummage through bins at your local thrift shop!