Bob Downes: “Electric City” LP

When I first saw this album, I hadn’t heard of Bob Downes previously, but I was immediately drawn to the bizarre, colourful cover art. Sometimes it’s easy to pick a winner.

A split second later, I noticed that it was a Vertigo LP, a gatefold, an original “swirl” label LP… I snatched it.

There are several notable tracks on Electric City – Side A alone carries enough weight to outclass the majority of contender LPs. For example, “No Time Like The Present” sets off the LP complete w/ funky guitar, great horns, and full-body breakdowns. Next is “Keep Off The Grass” – a nervous sounding afrojazzrock mash-up. This track gets seriously smokin’ with oddball scat vocals tossed in with the groovy flute at high velocity. Following in line, “Don’t Let Tomorrow Get You Down” keeps things moving with hard percussion and a funky bass line. “Dawn Until Dawn” is an outstanding jazzy number with an ominous repetitive horn stab and a crispy beat.

Unfortunately, the players do seem to get a bit over-zealous in a few instances. At times the cohesion of the grooves created are muddled and forgotten and the music becomes spastically hectic. While these moments can detract from the listening experience, the high points of this LP greatly outweigh the low.

Overall, this album is a really well put together package. The LP cover is beautiful and confusing and interesting.

And, as if looks aren’t enough, the band and supporting cast play with such vigor and precision that whether you like it or not, you are nearly forced to respect if not enjoy the music. This is a rare and sought-after piece of jazzrock history. Pick it up if you see it – Bob and friends will not disappoint you.

Recently, a friend suggested I break my 2nd copy to increase its rarity. I considered it for a second or two… (**)

(**) Liar’s Radio does not condone destroying vinyl LPs.

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