Album review: POOBAH – U.S. Rock

Poobah - US Rock

Ripple Records [Release date 10.02.14]

This album was originally released back in 1976 during the peak of Poobah’s career and has now been lovingly re-mastered and reissued by Ripple Records. Poobah were formed by guitarist Jim Gustafson back in 1972 in Youngstown, Ohio  and U.S Rock was the band’s second of three albums which have become cult classics over the years.

This reissue package offers the original album supplemented by four bonus tracks to add something for the collector. Musically the band offer up classic 70’s rock bringing to mind Cream, Sabbath and even early Kiss on some tracks.

The main feature of the album is the guitar work and the unique vocals of Gustafson, I have a sneaking suspicion that a young Justin Hawkins from The Darkness may have been influenced by Jim’s falsetto style.

Whilst the vocals at times may be a bit much, the guitar work is never less than stunning. On songs like ‘Flesh Fantasies’ and ‘Let’s Rock’ Gustafson’s riffing is first rate, oh and if you don’t dance to ‘Let’s Rock’ then I would check for a pulse!

Stand out tracks for me though were the slower, psychedelic sounding ‘Right Out Of The Night’ and ‘Your Way, My Way’ which carry you away to a Californian beach circa the mid-seventies unsurprisingly. With some laid back and chilled out guitar work both these tracks are of their time but still have a certain magic even now.

The band toured with the likes of Canned Heat, Judas Priest and Alice Cooper at the time and had the credentials to make it into the upper leagues, but poor management and various setbacks meant that by the late 70’s, and after three albums, Poobah had called it a day.

This re-issue serves to show how good a band Poobah were and why they have gathered a cult following over the years. It’s worth buying just for the OTT vocal opening of ‘Watch Me’, it has to be heard to be believed!  ***1/2

Review by David Wilson

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