The 4th Cekcion
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1970)
- Louie Broussard -- drums, percussion
- Richard Cantu -- woodwinds
- Greg Isaacs -- vocals, keyboards
- Mike St. Clair -- bass
- Stewart Rojo -- lead guitar
- Gary Weldon -- brass
- 5 Easy Pieces (Louie Broussard)
- The Paul English Group (Louie Broussard)
- Eureka (Richard Cantu)
- The Funk Factory (Greg Isaacs, Richard Cantu, Stewart Rojo,
and Gary Weldon)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: 4th Cekcion
Country/State: Bellaire, Texas
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 5187
To be honest, the only reason I picked this one up was that I vaguely remembered seeing the cover in one of Hans Pokora's "Record Collector Dreams" books and it happened to be sitting in a bargain bin with an exceptionally cheap price.
Curiously, there's virtually nothing to be found on the web about this Texas-based sextet. From the liner notes on their sole self-titled LP I can tell you that the band line upfeayued drummer Louie Broussard, woodwind player Richard Cantu, singer/keyboardist Greg Isaacs, bassist Mike St. Clair, guitarist Stewart Rojo and Gary Weldon on horns. They apparently started out playing dances and parties on the Texas college circuit. I found a small piece in a college newspaper that had them playing a fraternity date at The Lamar State College of Technology in Beaumont, Texas.
Signed by the small Bellaire, Texas-based Solar Recording Corporation, 1970's "4th Cekcion" was produced by Fred Carroll.
So what's this rarity actually sound like? Well, the one on-line review I found labeled it as 'lounge bar band' which really wasn't an appropriate description. Credited with writing all eleven tracks, singer Greg Isaacs seemed to be somewhat of a musical chameleon churning out material that haphazardly bounced between genres. The opener 'Changeable Woman' offered up a slice of BS&T-styled horn rock, The ballad 'Open Your Eyes' showcased some mildly psych-ish moves. 'Betsy Lee' sported a strong blue eyed soul tune, etc. As lead singer he was also a chameleon. His performances were all quite good, though in an anonymous advertising jingle fashion. Admittedly the set wasn't perfect with 'You Girl Blues (South of Chicago)' and 'How I Feel' sporting top-40 sheen, coupled with annoying jazzy horn arrangements (shades of Chicago). While nothing here was particularly original or life changing, the results were never less than enjoyable with a couple of numbers including the rocking 'Betsy Lee' and 'Find Yourself Another Way' worth multiple spins. As for the horns; with the exceptions noted above they weren't particularly obtrusive. I'd rather hear this than a ballad-rich Chicago album ...
Cekcion" track listing:
1.) Changeable Woman (Greg Isaacs - Walter Isaacs) - 4:07 rating: **** stars
Yeah, 'Changeable Woman' was a slice of horn-rock, but the horns were tight and inconspicuous supporting Greg Isaacss blues voice and keyboards and Stewart Rojo's lead guitar. Imagine early Chicago before the horns ran amuck, or a Stax act with a notion of playing rock and roll rather than soul. Could have been a nice single with a bit of editing.
2.) Open Your Eyes (Greg Isaacs) - 3:33 rating: ** stars
Opening up with some nice keyboards, 'Open Your Eyes' devolved into a bland MOR ballad that sounded like something Mark Lindsey and the Raiders might have released. It was actually quite commercial; not necessarily enjoyable.
3.) How I Feel (Greg Isaacs) - 4:08 rating: *** stars
Is there just a thing as a jazzy pop song? 'How I Feel' managed to blend both genres into a smooth, summery tune. The melody was interesting and the group displayed some beautiful harmony vocals. The second half wasn't as enjoyable with the tune basically giving every member a change to solo, before coming back to the main melody. Would have gotten four stars if they'd edited out the solos..
4.) I Don't Have To Hide My Face Anymore (Greg Isaacs) - 4:27 rating: *** stars
Isaacs had a voice that was well suited to tougher rock tunes like 'I Don't Have To Hide My Face Anymore.' The song also gave guitarist Stewart Rojo a chance to trot out his chops. Always liked the car horn sounds peppered throughout the tune. Interestingly someone said the song reminded them of The Eagles 'Life in the Fast Lane.' I have to admit I didn't get it, but when I went back and listened, well yeah, The Eagles seemed to have borrowed Rojo's opening riff.
The bouncy rocker 'Betsy Lee' was the album's most commercial performance. Even with the horns this should have been a single.
2.) Without You Girl Blues (South of Chicago) (Greg Isaacs) - 4:47 rating: *** stars
Isaacs had a nice voice and it was well framed by the rock 'I Don't Have To Hide
Opening up with a brief Louie Broussard monologue and drum solo, 'Without You Girl Blues (South of Chicago)' sure sounded like an early Chicago tune - right down to the sweet harmony vocals. Great if you were a Chicago fan; otherwise not so much.
3.) Find Yourself Another Way (Greg Isaacs) - 6:48 rating: **** stars
Opening up with some nice Rojo guitar work and Mike St. Clair's driving bass, 'Find Yourself Another Way' demonstrated what might have been. Isaacs voice and keyboards sounded great on this awesome rocker and the horns were banished to the back corner.
A couple of the members seem to have remained active in the Texas music scene, reappearing in groups like 5 Easy Pieces, The Paul English Group and The Funk Factory.
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