Pure Food And Drug Act – Choice Cuts (1972)

FrontCover1Pure Food and Drug Act (listed in The All Music Guide to the Blues,the Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music ) was a band that was formed in the early 1970s by Don “Sugarcane” Harris. The band began with Paul Lagos on drums, Larry Taylor on bass and Randy Resnick on guitar. Resnick was at that time experimenting with a one and two handed tapping technique which later became a standard guitarist’s tool. The group played small rooms in the Los Angeles area, such as the Troubadour and the Ash Grove, for several months.

While the band was searching for a record deal, Larry Taylor allegedly began to tire of Don’s constant lateness and irresponsibility and decided to continue his career with John Mayall. At the same time, Harvey Mandel, a Mayall alumnus, was brought in to beef up the accompaniment and to stimulate record label interest, as he already had a following from his Chicago blues days. To replace Taylor on bass, a relative newcomer, Victor Conte, was recruited from Common Ground, a funk band in Fresno that Resnick had played in. Conte went on to play in Tower of Power and with Herbie Hancock in his Monster Band.

PureFood01Choice Cuts was the band’s only album, recorded live in Seattle in 1972, but it was mostly unsuccessful. Allegedly because of Don’s unreliable nature, the band rarely rehearsed. Live performances included extended solos and improvised ensemble sections, and one song would often last 20 minutes or more. Various line-up changes took place until the band broke up a few years after releasing its first album. (by wikipedia)

Mighty choice work from Pure Food & Drug Act – a studio supergroup with a heavy blues rock approach – thanks to heavy guitar from the great Harvey Mandel, and vocals and electric violin from Don Sugarcane Harris! The rest of the lineup is nice too – a quintet with Randy Resnick on rhythm guitar, Victor Conte on bass, and Paul Lagos on drums – but the real stars of the show are clearly Mandel and Harris, especially the former – as his presence here has a searing intensity that maybe even beats some of his own full albums of the time. Lots of long tracks… and yes it sounds ike a great jam session …

Victor Conte (bass)
Don “Sugarcane” Harris (violin, vocals)
Paul Lagos (drums, steel drums on 07.)
Harvey Mandel (guitar)
Randy Resnick (guitar)

01. Introduction: Jim’s Message (Luft) 1.43
02. My Soul’s On Fire (Harris/Mandel/Lagos/Conte) 4.11
03. ‘Till The Day I Die (Harris) 7.07
04. Eleanor Rigby (Lennon/McCartney) 11.47
05. A Little Soul Food (arris/Otis) 4.02
06. Do It Yourself (Harris/Otis) 20
07. Where’s My Sunshine? (Harris/Mandel/Lagos/Resnick/Conte) 8.54
08. What Comes Around Goes Around (Harris/Mandel/Lagos/Resnick/Conte) 4.20