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Leaf Hound: Growers of Mushroom

Long regarded as one of the rarest and most sought after heavy rock albums of the early 70's, Leaf Hound's 1971 Decca release Growers of Mushroom finally saw a fabulous reissue on CD a few years back courtesy of Repertoire Records. The band, which featured a young singer named Peter French (who later went on to fame as the vocalist for both Atomic Rooster and Cactus), played a brash style of blues-based heavy rock, very similar to other bands of the era like Led Zeppelin, Free, Grand Funk Railroad, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Faces, Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cactus, and Humble Pie. The original album contained nine sizzling tracks that were very representative of the era, each piece having a slightly different feel, but the end results were a rocking good time. "Work My Body" is the longest cut on the album, a 8-minute epic with plenty of dramatic passages and some serious organ/guitar riffs, one of the few instances here where the Deep Purple or even Uriah Heep comparison comes up. For the most part, French's excellent vocal delivery played against the meaty guitar riffs and searing solos from Mick Halls, and tunes like "Sad Road to the Sea", 'Stray", "Drowned My Life in Fear", and "Stagnant Pool" are all examples of prime early 70's heavy rock, and "Sawdust Caesar" is fuzz-drenched blues rock with a huge bottom end and lots of wah-wah guitar solos.

Repertoire includes nice informative booklet in this digipack, as well as a few bonus tracks, "It's Gonna Get Better" and "Hipshaker", both recorded back in the same era, and a recent song "Too Many Rock 'N' Roll Times" done by French and his new version of Leaf Hound. To recap the story, Leaf Hound basically splintered apart in 1971 even before their debut album was released, with only a select number of live shows under their belt and not much else to show for it. Singer Peter French of course went on to marginal success with both Atomic Rooster and Cactus, but his career was stalled when Carmine Appice and Neil Bogert decided to leave Cactus and join up with Jeff Beck, leaving French with virtually no bandmates and a committment to the record label, resulting in him unable to record with anyone other than Cactus for over 2 years. Seeing as the singer felt that Cactus with anyone other than Appice and Bogert was not Cactus, he decided to just sit and wait it all out. As it turns out, the stardom that was predicted for him never happened. In the early 2000's, many many years later, after realizing the hoopla surounding the original Leaf Hound album, French decided to reform the band with all new members, resulting in the new release Unleashed, the first new Lead Hound material in almost 35 years. The fire still seems to be there, so let's see what the future holds for this little known classic band.

Track Listing
1. Freelance Fiend
2. Sad Road to the Sea
3. Drowned My Life in Fear
4. Work My Body
5. Stray
6. With a Minute to Go
7. Growers of Mushroom
8. Stagnant Pool
9. Sawdust Caesar
10. It's Gonna Get Better -bonus track
11. Hipshaker -bonus track
12. Too Many Rock 'N' Roll Times -bonus track

Added: March 6th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Leaf Hound Website
Hits: 1911
Language: english

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