British band Unicorn's third release and direct follow-up to the solid Blue Pine Trees was titled Too Many Crooks (though it was called Unicorn 2 for the US edition) and released in 1976. Renaissance Records & ItsAboutMusic.com have reissued and remastered the Unicorn catalog, which is a great thing for those who missed out on this adventurous folk/country rock act back in the 70's. Once again produced by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, Too Many Crooks is a breezier and brighter affair than its predecessor, yet still filled with plenty of soaring instrumental passages that separated the band from some of their peers.
"Weekend" and "Ferry Boat" kick things off here, two addicting folk rock numbers that contain a plenthora of memorable vocal harmonies and wicked acoustic guitar, electric slide guitar, & mandolin passages. Gotta love the harder rockin' "Keep on Going", with its gritty electric guitar solos, or the gorgeous, folky pop that is the lush title track. You'll be reminded of classic CSN&Y, or even Poco, on the dramatic "Bullseye Bill", a tune with great vocal harmonies and plenty of intricate instrumentation, including organ, electric & acoustic guitars, and some muscular bass. There's also the textured "No Way Out of Here" and the country rock twang of "In the Mood", two enjoyable pieces that back end the CD, as well as the moody bonus track "Nothing I Wouldn't Do" which features some great lead guitar work.
Too Many Crooks relies more on layers of various guitars (acoustic, electric, slide, pedal steel, and mandolin) and less on keyboards, which is one of the first things you'll notice when comparing this release to Blue Pine Trees, so there's obviously more of a folky flavor going on here. It's still solid material from a band that sadly most probably never heard back when they should have been selling hundreds of thousands of LPs and packing arenas around the world like some of their contemporaries. Now, you can discover what you might have missed out on over 30 years ago.
2. Ferry Boat
3. He's Got Pride
4. Keep On Going
5. Too Many Crooks
6. Bullseye Bill
7. Disco Dancer
9. No Way Out Of Here
10. In The Mood
11. Nothing I Wouldn't Do (bonus track)