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Gods, The: To Samuel a Son (remastered)

To Samuel a Son is the second and final album from legendary British band The Gods, who were basically a precursor to the mighty Uriah Heep. Formed in Hatfield in 1965 by guitarist Mick Taylor, keyboard player/guitarist/vocalist Ken Hensley, bassist John Glascock, drummer Lee Kerslake, the band also added guitarist Joe Konas after Taylor left to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and eventually the Rolling Stones. Oddly enough, Greg Lake also was briefly in the band but left for King Crimson. Genesis was their first album for Columbia Records, a fine mix of progressive rock, pop, and psychedelia, and in 1969 the band unleashed To Samuel a Son, another outstanding release of varied styles, remastered here by Esoteric Recordings with a few bonus tracks.

The blueprint for what eventually became Uriah Heep is here in full force. Hensley's lead vocals, coupled with the backing vocals of Glascock & Konas, sounds like vintage Heep with David Byron, Hensley, Mick Box & Co. giving it their all and layering in those wonderful vocal harmonies. Though many of the tunes here on To Samuel a Son fall less into the hard rock realm as much of Genesis does, there's still enough progressive rock power mixed with quirky pop hooks and psychedelic elements throughout the albums many tracks. Hensley's use of Hammond organ, piano, electric piano, and especially Mellotron is very well done-though he and Konas also deliver plenty of sizzling guitars, it's the keyboards that are the stars here. Just listen to that luscious Hammond organ on the title track, the lush harpsichord on "He's Growing", and the ominous Mellotron on "Sticking Wing On Flies" and "Autumn". The most 'Heep-ish' tracks here include the rocker "Eight O'clock in the Morning", the haunting "Momma I Need", the raging "Candlelight", and the cover of the West Side Story classic "Maria", complete with some fantastic Hammond from Hensley.

If anything, To Samuel a Son is comparable to the material that the Vanilla Fudge were releasing at the same time, though like I mentioned above the seeds for Uriah Heep were no doubt germinated here. After the release of the album the band basically splintered, with Hensley, Kerslake & Glascock being recruited into heavy blues rock act Toe Fat with singer Cliff Bennett. That line-up lasted one album before Hensley & Kerslake split, soon to join Uriah Heep, and Glascock found his way into multiple acts throughout the '70s including Chicken Shack, Carmen, and Jethro Tull, before passing away at the age of 28 in 1979. Esoteric's remaster sounds great, especially considering that this album is now approaching 45 years old, and there's an informative booklet included with plenty of factoids about the band.


Track Listing
1. TO SAMUEL A SON
2. EIGHT O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING
3. HE'S GROWING
4. STICKING WINGS ON FLIES
5. LADY, LADY
6. PENNY DEAR
7. LONG TIME, SAD TIME, BAD TIME
8. FIVE TO THREE
9. AUTUMN
10. YES I CRY
11. GROOZY
12. MOMMA I NEED
13. CANDLELIGHT
14. LOVELY ANITA
BONUS TRACKS
15. MARIA
16. LONG TIME, SAD TIME, BAD TIME (single version)

Added: June 6th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band @ Chery Red/Esoteric Recordings
Hits: 2000
Language: english

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