Harvest 1970 / Esoteric 2013
Back on the track – angry and invigorated, the road to greatness is being mapped here.
Having explored more adventurous reaches of their chosen genre on "Plays On", CBB surprised many when their third outing saw the band return to square one or so it seems in the first couple of numbers, including the slide-smoothed acoustic opener “Country Hat” that is reprised electrically later on. But this freshly fashioned elegance, so jazzy classy in “Brief Case”, where Colin Cooper’s pipes work on the brass rather than voice and Pete Haycock’s guitars form an orchestra, is deceptive.
It gets smashed to bits with a truly progressive, even aggressive crunch of “Reap What I’ve Sowed”, where dry ‘n’ dirty riffs come blown cosmically by Derek Holt’s swelling bass – the result sounds almost punky, especially in the bonus live take – as does a wonderfully creepy cover of Willie Dixon’s “Seventh Son” that predatorily springs from the crawl to attack.
Unlike these two killer cuts, “Alright Blue”, one of a few instrumentals on display, rides a row of harmonicas in the traditional, if funny, way and passes such baton to Muddy Waters’ staple “Louisiana Blues”, slow and smoking. But if “Please Don’t Help Me”, featuring a short organ solo, turns out heavy and spiky, before the prematurely fading “Morning Noon And Night” covers sonic smut with vocal harmonies and sax, “Cut You Loose” gets it all down. Thankfully, this reissue rectifies the mood with a carnivalesque swirl of “Spoonful” and a concert version of “Flight”, considerably expanded from its not-so-humble origin. Quite a way to hit the bottle.