Ah, Switzerland. Good chocolate, mountains, skiing, secret banks, expensive watches, raunchy blues-rock bands …
Prior to forming the band Whipping Post, singer/multi-instrumentalist C.B. Busser released a couple of collectable solo albums on his own Musk Project label (not Muzik as you frequently see it listed) – 1978’s “Movies” and 1979’s “Warship Suite”. There’s also a 1980 effort “Once and for All” released after the initial Whipping Post album.
Recorded in Etienne Conod Sunrise Studios, 1980’s “So We Are” teamed Busser with drummer Christoph Beck, multi-instrumentalist Chico Klee, and bass player Vogi Vogtle and offered up an odd, but interesting mixture of ’70s-styled blues-rock and progressive elements. I’ve seen a couple of reviews that compared the band to early Allman Brothers (which was apparently their inspiration for the band name), but to my ears the comparison is a major stretch. While none of the eight tracks were particularly original, that wasn’t a major showstopper since Busser showcased some seriously impressive chops on lead guitar. Unfortunately his singing wasn’t anywhere near as impressive. While Busser’s English was mildly accented, the bigger problem was that he simply didn’t have a voice that was strong enough for the band’s tougher catalog. He did better on the ballads and slower numbers like ‘Saturday’n Sunday’, but even there he was kind of an acquired taste.
Wow, personally I wouldn’t have started an album off with something as fey as the brief acoustic ballad ‘A Poem’. Clocking in at under a minute it was pretty enough, but sounded a bit like Tiny Tim trying to sound like he was Jamaican. Completely unlike their standard sound, you had to wonder how many folks never made it past the first 50 seconds …
Opening up with some tasty fuzz guitar, ‘Freedom In Me’ had the makings of a terrific blues-rocker until the vocal kicked in and things went downhill. As mentioned above, Busser simply didn’t have the kind of voice or range required to handle a tough rocker like this one. Course when the song reverted to instrumental sections things improved drastically. And Busser’s lead guitar was simply killer.
A pretty ballad, ‘Saturday’n Sunday’ was actually a nice fit for Busser’s limited voice. He seldom sounded as good, though this time out Klee’s somewhat atonal sax solo took some of the wind out of their creative sales.
To my ears the mellotron and flute propelled ‘Fireball’ sounded like a Donovan folk-rock number. Not a big fan …
‘Propelled by Buser’s great fuzz guitar, ‘Your Love’ was another surprisingly tuneful rocker that would have been even better with a different singer … For some reason every time I hear this one I imagine Lenny and Sguiggy singing with a blues-rock band.
Side two opened with the album’s longest and strangest track – ‘So We Are’. Sporting a vaguely middle eastern feel and a ghostly backing chorus, the song then morphed into a far less interesting conventional blues-rocker that served to showcase Busser’s guitar on an extended solo.
If you liked mellotron, then the ballad ‘Gimme a Shine’ was for you. Other than that, I can’t think of anything nice to say about the track.
A stab at funking it up a but, hearing Busser sing about hanging around the streets of L.A. always brings a smile to my face. Once again, the lead guitar was great, the vocals not so much …
The opening segment of ‘Pioneers’ finally gave drummer Christoph Beck a shot at the spotlight and to his credit, he took advantage of the opportunity turning the rocker into one of my favorite performances. I didn’t even mind Busser’s voice on this one, though the angelic mellotron started to get old this time out and Klee’s focus-styled flute leads just left me cold.
Not a bad way to get introduced to late-1970s era Swiss rock and roll. (by badcatrecords.com)
And I say: A very good way … and “Freedom In Me” sounds a little bit like “You Are Like Hurrican” by Neil Young … *smile*
This was the last album of Whipping Post … but more album from this great band from Switzerland will come in this blog …
Christoph Beck (drums, percussion)
C.B. Busser (guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, vocals)
Chico Klee (saxophone, flute, keyboards, percussion, winds)
“Vögi” Vögtle (bass)
01. A Poem (Busser) 0.59
02. Freedom In Me (Busser) 7.18
03. Saturday’n Sunday (Busser) 5.20
04. Fireball (Busser/Wittwer) 3.13
05. Your Love (Busser/Bonjour) 4.30
06. So We Are (Busser) 8.25
07. Gimme A Shine (Busser/Wittwer) 3.04
08. Gonna Be Wild (Busser/Wittwer) 4.45
09. Pioneers (Busser) 5.30