Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-70) as Anvil

- Richard Allen -- vocals, drums

- Ted Burris -- vocals, bass organ

- C. Hook (aka Paul Manning) -- vocals, guitar

- Bob Marleson -- vocals, keyboards, bass

- Brian Walton -- keyboards


  line up 1 (1971) as Boa

- Richard Allen -- vocals, drums

- Ted Burris -- vocals, bass organ

- C. Hook (aka Paul Manning) -- vocals, guitar

- Bob Maledon -- vocals, keyboards, bass

- Brian Walton -- keyboards




- Anvil

- Pendragon (Richard Allen)





Genre: rock

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Wrong Road

Company: Himalaya

Catalog: AYA68003

Country/State: Rochester, Michigan

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: reissue

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $45.00


Rochester, Michigan's BOA serve as a roadmap for the rock and roll experience endured by thousands of other bands.  You could write a book about their journey.  Oh wait, keyboardist Bob Maledon did write a book about their experience - "The Story of BOA.".


Bassist Ted Burris and keyboard player Bob Maledon met while attending high school.  Bonding over their mutual love of music, the pair started jamming in a friend's home.  Their efforts attracted the attention of guitarist Paul Manning (aka Captain Hook, aka C. Hook).  The next addition to the line-up was keyboardist Brian Walton and after going through a number of drummers, the band settled on Richard Allen.  


Opting for the name "Anvil" the band worked up a repertoire of original and cover material, playing dances and local school.  In 1970 they went into a local Detroit studio to record some material. The results were shelved and the band called it quits.  (There's a 10" acetate out there somewhere.)  



A year later the quintet decided to give it another shot.  After some rehearsals they borrowed a Sony TC-200 two-track tape recorder from Maledon's sister, recording a series of eleven original songs in a Tupperware warehouse owned by Walton's father.  With no chance of interesting a major label, the band had the album pressed by the local Archer Records plant and issued on their own Snakefield label (catalog number SN 001).  Released in mid-1971, rather than credit the LP as an Anvil product, they elected to market it under the name Boa.  Almost as soon as the album was released the band called it quits again.  Reportedly 200 copies were pressed so if you could find a copy, be prepared to pay in the neighborhood of $700 for an original.


"Wrong Road" is about as garage rock-ish as you can get.  Recorded entirely live and reflecting material they had never previously performed as a unit, the sound quality was nothing short of horrific.  It's muddy, one-dimensional, flat, and distant.  Credited to Greg Wheeler, the minimal "mix" frequently bleeds vocals and instruments into an aural mess.  The vocals were raw and poorly recorded; perhaps best described as an acquired taste.  Lacking performance experience and someone to focus the band and clean-up the sound, raw didn't even begin to cover it.  The packaging was abysmal and as others have pointed out, the cover photo was so bad, it was actually funny.  It really sounds like it was recorded in a garage.  Well, in this case a Tupperware warehouse.  And all those criticisms aside, you had to admire these guys for accomplishing as much as they did.  Originals like the title track, the acid-tinged ballad 'You Tell Me You Love Me' and 'A Restful Sleep' may not have been particularly original, but the performances were energetic. And while enthusiasm can't fully compensate for other technical shortcomings, you've probably heard far worse from big name bands.  (In case anyone cares, Manning was credited as "C. Hook" to avoid any problems with another Detroit band he was playing with at the same time.)


If anyone is interested, the band have a small web presence at: Home | Wrong Road by Boa


"Wrong Road" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Never Come Back   (Bob Maledon - C. Hook) - 4:49   rating: *** stars

The opener served to exemplify the project's strengths and weaknesses.  The song wasn't bad; your standard done-my-cheating-baby-wrong plotline with an okay organ-powered melody.  The tune was highlighted by a nifty little Allman Brothers-styled refrain.  Hook's guitar solo provided another highlight. Competent, but it wasn't anything special.  The big problem was the production and sound - flat doesn't even begin to describe how bad the quality was.

2.) Wrong Road   (C. Hook - Ted Burris) - 3:25   rating: *** stars

The opening sounded like something borrowed from The Spencer Davis Group.  Showcasing Cook's snarling vocals, the result was a tasty little garage rocker.  Energetic it also sported another nice Cook solo. 

3.) You Don't Want Me Anymore   (C. Hook - Bob Maledon) - 4:18   rating: *** stars

A breezy ballad, 'You Don't Want Me Anymore' demonstrated these guys were comfortable with melodies and more conventional and commercial material.  For goodness sakes there were even some harmony vocals.  With better production this one could have garnered some airplay.

4.) Angelisa   (Bob Maledon - Ted Burris) - 4:06   rating: ** stars

Power ballad ...  The keyboard powered 'Angelisa' was pretty enough, but Maledon and company didn't sound very comfortable on this one.  The vocals on this one were pretty weak and the sound was just a bleeding mess.

5.) Brave New World   (Bob Maledon) - 2:17   rating: ** stars

'Brave New World' found the band moving back towards a more conventional garage-rock sound.  Unfortunately while he tune was quite good, it was all but buried in the muddy mix.

6.) You Tell Me You Love Me   (Bob Maledon) - 4:33   rating: *** stars

With a lysergic-tinged circus-ride organ powered melody, 'You Tell Me You Love Me'  was intriguing, but the vocals were raw; barely in-tune.


(side 2)
1.) I Think I Been Had   (
Ted Burris) - 3:39   rating: ** stars

If not for the mix which sounded like Burris had swallowed the microphone, the rocker 'I Think I  Been Had' could have been a contender for best performance.  As is, the song's a good place to check out Allen's frenetic drumming style.

2.) Don't Go Away  (Ted Burris) - 4:08   rating: ** stars

Perhaps because they slowed the tempo down to a crawl, the ballad 'Don't Go Away' was one of the set's best sounding performances.  The song wasn't particularly impressive, but it was nice to hear something that was almost clean.

3.) A Restful Sleep  (Ted Burris) - 6:50   rating: *** stars

Wow, the album's longest performance, 'A Restful Step' found the band taking a step into elaborate arrangement territory ...  The bones of something impressive were here, though the mid-section vocal arrangement needed a little more work.

4.) Can't Be Real  (C. Hook - Bob Maledon) - 4:24   rating: *** stars

The first of two "bonus" tracks, 'Can't Be Real' was an outtake from the 1970 "Wrong Road" sessions.  Funny that they decided to drop this from the original release since it was the most overtly garage oriented track.  Yeah, it is way too raw and under-produced, but I like the bubbly arrangement.

5.) Wrong Road  (C. Hook - Bob Maledon) - 3:30   rating: **** stars

This version of 'Wrong Road' was recorded during the band's previous Anvil sessions and is easily the album's biggest surprise.  In terms of aural quality, it sounds 100 times better than the remake which serves to underscore the Spencer Davis Group resemblance.  Shame the same sound quality wasn't available for the other ten tracks.