Band members Related acts
line up 1 ()
- Tim Abbott -- vocals, lead guitar, flute, harmonica
- Bobb Bragg - bas
- Terry Carlton -- drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals
- Frank Maciag -- bass, backing vocals
- David Outsz -- drums, percussion
- Michael Silversher -- keyboards, backing vocals
- J. Scott Smith -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Ned Torney - synthesizers, lead guitar
- The Chocolate Watchband (Tim Abbott and Ned Torney)
- Giraffe (J. Scott Smith)
- Gladstone (Ned Torney)
- The Other Side (Ned Torney)
- The San Fracisco Bay Blues Band (Tim Abbott)
- Silversher and Silversher (Michael Silversher)
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title: Time & Space
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 3576
Tim Abbott's obscure "Time & Space" was released a decade an a half after his work with the famed The Chocolate Watchband. Released on the small Sunnyvale, California-based Gopher label, it seems unlikely more than a couple of hundred copies were pressed. I've only seen two copies and never come across an on-line review of the album.
With Abbott credited with lead vocals, lead guitar and writing eight of the nine selections, the collection was probably worth the investment just to get a picture of his unique guitar. The fact the album happened to feature a more than decent collection of power pop tunes was just icing on the cake. So I'll be the first to admit Abbott didn't have the best voice you've ever heard. His range was fairly limited and his delivery was best described as gravelly and gruff. That said, the Abbott knew how to use his talents. Coupled with a knack for writing taunt, but melodic rockers ('Lock It Away' and 'Grey') and a talented, if understated guitarist, virtually every one of these nine tracks was worth hearing. Lots of highlights on this one, including an interesting New Wave-influenced tune seemingly credited to the late Sci-Fi writer Cordwainer Smith - 'Tell Me Love '. In fact, the only minor misstep was 'I Like You' which came a little too close to '80s-styled yacht rock (think Pablo Cruise, or the dreaded Rupert Holmes).
For Watchband fans, the album marked somewhat of a reunion. Original Watchband Ned Torney (long gone by the time Abbott joined the band), contributed synthesizers throughout the album.
One of my favorite discoveries of the year ...
Space" track listing:
1.) Lock It Away (Tim Abbott) - 2:29 rating: **** stars
Shame all power pop wasn't as blazing and infectious as the opening rocker 'Lock It Away'. In fact, the only complaint on this one was the song's length. clocking in well under three minutes, it was simply too short.
2.) Grey (Tim Abbott) - 2:45 rating: **** stars
Technically Abbott's groan-of-a-voice may not have been the greatest instrument you've ever heard, but on tracks like 'Grey' he made the most of his gifts. Another keeper with a dandy little guitar solo and Torney contributing some brilliantly cheesy synthesizer washes.
3.) I Like You (Tim Abbott) - 4:05 rating: *** stars
The first disappointment, 'I Like You' tried to stitch together a rock melody and a pop chorus. The resulting tune had a commercial edge that you would have equate with someone like '80s pop stars Chris De Burgh, or Rupert Holmes.
4.) Confidence (Tim Abbott - Michael Silversher) - 3:44 rating: **** stars
Co-written with keyboardist Michael Silversher, 'Confidence' found Abbott returning to straight ahead power pop. Thankfully ...
5.) Tell Me Love (Cordwainer Smith) - 3:21 rating: **** stars
The lone-cover tune, I've always wondered if this was penned by the late, famed sci-fi writer Cordwainer Smith (aka Paul Myron Anthony Linebarge). The fact the album includes a song entitled 'Sci-Fi Man' leads me to the conclusion it was. Musically 'Tell Me Love' was quite different than the rest of the album. With a jerky, slight ominous New Wave feel, this track would not have sounded out of place on an early Talking Head collection. Different and quite intriguing.
1.) Discipline (Tim Abbott) - 3:26 rating: **** stars
One of the interesting things about this album was realizing Abbott believed in short, concise song titles ... 'Discipline' was one of the album's toughest and most enjoyable rockers. Judging by the lyrics, I'm not sure about his parenting style, but once again the combination of Torney's cheesy synthesizers and Abbott's blazing lead guitar made for a killer combination.
2.) Too Bad (Tim Abbott) - 3:25 rating: *** stars
As mentioned, I'm a sucker for cheesy synthesizers and that weakness saved the reggae-tinged ballad 'Too Bad' from the trash pile. Patty Cathcart on backing vocals. Abbott on flute solo.
3.) Ramrod (Tim Abbott) - 3:11 rating: *** stars
Hum, Abbott trotting out his best Michael McDonald impersonation ... Somewhat unexpected, but I like McDonald so I'll give Abbott the benefit of the doubt on this one.
3.) Sci-Fi Man (Tim Abbott) - 5:33 rating: **** stars
Back to quirky, jittery New Wave moves and interesting given Abbott's apparently interest in Cordwainer Smith (though it was Ray Bradbury who was name checked in the lyrics). Wonder if anyone has taken the time to unmask the backwards lyrics at the end of the song?
In case anyone cares, in the late-'90s Abbott rejoined a reactivate Chocolate Watchband.
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