Saturday, November 15, 2014
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: 24-Bit Remaster
Well played hard rock in the style of many other non-mainstream early 70's guitar & keyboard driven hard rock bands such as; Bull Angus, Indian Summer, Jackal, and yes...even Sir Lord Baltimore at times. Though to me this album comes off sounding more like 1970 than 1974. Musically it's great, and for some the only thing holding it back may be the vocals (desired taste)...depending on how particular you are.
I acquired this LP by chance while in Oregon attending an annual vinyl collectors convention during the late 70's. I used to go down there quite frequently and visit a buddy who owned a record store and hang out, party a bit, and bring a few obscurities his way on each visit. He'd return the favour, as I'd always wind up lugging a big box of vinyl back up to Canada on my return...this is how I discovered Bloody Mary.
At the time, there was no talk of former Sir Lord Baltimore members being a part of this bands lineup. That all came in more recent times as internet fuelled speculation, which eventually morphed into misinformation perceived to be true via music related blog & website chatter. To this day I've never seen any sound evidence of this, as even Sir Lord Baltimore drummer John Garner (rumoured to be a Bloody Mary member) denies any involvement, and claims he'd never heard of Bloody Mary until he was asked about them.
I consider myself to have a discerning ear, and after listening to Sir Lord Baltimore and Bloody Mary countless times over the years or, I do see some very slight similarities in the vocals, but not enough to convince me that it's John Garner. I actually like John's singing, be it with Sir Lord Baltimore, or the early 00's band The Lizards. But I don't care all that much for Bloody Mary's vocalist...whoever he is, but I accept it as a part of this bands sound. Quite honestly, if it wasn't for the musicianship itself, I doubt very much I would have played this album as often as I have over the years. That said, it's really the music found herein that warrants a 4/5 rating from this fan.
Another mystery on Artie Ripp's short-lived and infamous Family label ... As you'd expect from a label notorious for abusing its artists, 1974's "Bloody Mary" carried little in the way of credits. If you trust the liner notes, the album was recorded at UltraSonic Studios in new York with Vinny Testa producing and Ray Incorbaia shown as associate producer. There were no performance credits and all seven compositions were credited to Bloody Mary.
Musically this was decent, professional early-'70s hard rock that bore some comparison to the likes of Bull Angus, Deep Purple, Judas Priest (?), and maybe even a bit or Uriah Heep thrown in the mix. Tracks like 'Highway', 'Riddle of the Sea, and 'You Only Got Yourself' featured lots of decent guitar and keyboard interplay. That said, there wasn't a great deal of originality across these grooves and the lead singer's arch, occasionally screechy voice was best described as an acquired taste. The thing is, these guys were actually quite good; especially if you were willing to invest more than a quick spin to check the album out Yeah, he was a bit heavy handed, but the lead singer was quite talented with the rest of the band showing an unexpected knack for sweetening the mix with nice harmony vocals (check out the opening rocker 'Dragon Lady'). The rest of the band were equally good with the lead guitarist deserving special mention for consistently impressive contributions to the set. Standouts ? Hard to pick them on this one ,but I'd give the nod to the opening rocker 'Dragon Lady' and 'Riddle of the Sea'. As an aside, the album may have been released in 1974, but to my ears it certainly sounded like something recorded at least a couple of years earlier. [Review "Scott Blackerby" USA)
Strongly Recommended to fans of early 70's hard rock.
01. Dragon Lady 05:04
02. Highway 02:51
03. Riddle Of The Sea 04:08
04. Free And Easy 05:10
05. You Only Got Yourself 07:01
06. Can You Feel It ( Fire ) 05:37
07. I Hear The Music Playing 04:51
1. Bloody Mary
2. Bloody Mary