Thursday, December 17, 2020

Powder - Biff! Bang! Powder

One of the many fine '60s groups who barely got to record, let alone reach a wide audience, Powder was one of the most Anglophile American bands of the decade. Hailing from San Mateo, CA (near San Francisco), the group stood apart from their peers in that they were neither psychedelic nor garage, specializing in power pop with ringing, crashing guitars and harmonies. Most of their material was extremely reminiscent of the Who circa A Quick One and The Who Sell Out, and while it was undoubtedly derivative, it was also well done. Sonny & Cher tried to help Powder get an album out after the group backed them on a 1968 tour, but it was shelved, although a lot of material was recorded. Powder leaders Tom and Rich Frost released some records on their own, including the minor hit "She's Got Love," and an album of unreleased Powder material was finally released in 1993.

1 Turn Another Page Martin, Martin 2:41 2 Gladly Martin, Martin 2:23 3 Do I Love You Martin, Martin 3:34 4 Magical Jack Martin, Martin 2:55 5 I Try Martin, Martin 2:24 6 Ruby Red Lips Martin, Martin 2:11 7 Rodeo Martin, Martin 3:00 8 Grimbley Leitch Martin, Martin 2:18 9 Hate to See Her Go Martin, Martin 3:31 10 What the People Said Martin, Martin 3:17 11 Flowers Martin, Martin 2:19 12 Let's Look at the Mood Martin, Martin 3:16 13 Too Many Miles Martin, Martin 2:30 14 Turn Another Page [Gold Star Version] Martin, Martin 2:4515 Grimbley Leitch [Alternate Vocal] Martin, Martin 2:1016 Magical Jack [Backing Track] Martin, Martin 2:5417 Kick Me Columbus 2:4218 Snap Crackle & Pop Columbus 2:1719 I Go to School Martin, Martin 3:1220 So Sad About Us Townshend 3:1421 Morning Martin-Arbulich 2:1122 She's My Girl Martin, Martin 2:4323 Millicent Martin, Martin 2:2924 Bluey Blues Blue Martin, Martin 2:3725 It's So Simple Martin, Martin 4:4026 Would You Laugh Martin, Martin 2:4727 Gypsy Girl Martin, Martin 4:29

Comprised mostly of 1968 demos, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd stumbled into a room of Who outtakes (with an occasional detour into folk-rock), with strong (at times blatant) echoes of tracks like "Happy Jack" and "So Sad About Us." Nonetheless, it's fun stuff, and the strongest original tracks, like "Turn Another Page" and "Gladly," stand up well on their own. Originally issued on vinyl in 1993, the 27-track 1996 CD version is about twice as long, adding a few alternate versions, and songs predating and postdating Powder from the Art Collection (which Powder evolved from), New Zealand singer Ray Columbus (whom Art Collection backed briefly), and folky post-Powder efforts from Thomas & Richard Frost (the leaders of Powder).


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