John Rabbit Bundrick
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1978)
- John Rabbit Bundrick -- vocals, keyboards, drums
supporting musicians (1974)
- Tony Braunagle -- drums, percussion
- Ola Brunkert -- drums
- Bryson Graham -- drums
- David Keeley -- guitar
- George Larnyoh -- horns
- Mike -- bass
- Eddy Quansah -- horns
- Al Roberts -- guitar
- Joanne Scheaffer -- guitar
- Pete Vanderpuije -- horns
- Snuffy White -- guitar
- Terry Wilson -- bass
- Tetsu Yamauchi-- bass
- Crawler (Tony Braunagle, John Bundrick, and Terry Wilson)
- Free (John Bundrick)
- Kossoff Kirke Tetsu Rabbit (John Bundrick)
- Mallard (John Bundrick)
- Morgan (John Bundrick)
- Night Parade (John Bundrick)
- Small Engine Repair (John Bundrick)
- Snowy White and The White Flames (John Bundrick)
- The Who (John Bundrick)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Dark Saloon
Country/State: Houston, Texas
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: cut top right corner; gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: 2119
Albums by sidemen typically aren't very good - after all that's why most of them are relegated to sidemen status. There are occasional exceptions to the rule - one of them being this 1974 set by keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick.
Using his nickname "Rabbit", 1974's "Dark Saloon" was self-produced and featured all original material. No matter what you thought about the album, the fact Chris Blackwell's Island Records was willing to finance and support a solo project certainly reflected some faith in Bundrick. Allowing a new artist to self-produce and showcase original material was a rarity. Hell, a lot of times established acts weren't given those privileges. The album found Bundrick working with at least three, or four different line-ups. The title track and 'Special Woman' were recorded with guitarist Joanne Scheaffer and other Swedish musicians he met while working on the soundtrack to the Johnny Nash starring film "Vill så gärna tro" (translated as Want So Much To Believe"). 'Dig' and 'Cheat On Me' found Bundrick collaborating with what was to become the core of Back Street Crawler/Crawler. Elsewhere a couple of tunes appeared to have come out of a collaboration with Stray Dog members Al Roberts and Snuffy Walden. Reflecting the different collaborators, the album had an extremely varied sound including stabs at everything from conventional rock ('Don't You Leave Me Babe') to horn- powered funk ('Devil Run'), and even reggae '('43 Revolution'). I won't try to make the argument this was a classic album, but I'll tell you that on a song-for-song basis it was better than some of the material issued by band Bundrick supported as a keyboard player.
Saloon" track listing:
1.) Don't You Leave Me Babe (John Bundrick) - 3:22 rating: **** stars
I never would have expected such a tuneful and commercial rock track from Bundrick. Sporting a bouncy melody juxtaposed with slightly ominous lyric, the results were fantastic. This was the track Island should have tapped as a single.
2.) Dig It Jonny Walker (John Bundrick) - 3:29 rating: *** stars
Kind of a funky blues piece that I'm guessing it was intended as an homage to a certain well known brand of whiskey.
3.) Dark Saloon (John Bundrick) - 2:40 rating: *** stars
With a distinctive old West motif (remember Bundrick was born and raised in Texas), the heavily orchestrated title track was one of those tunes that probably sounded better on paper than in reality.
4.) '43 Revolution (John Bundrick) - 4:15 rating: *** stars
Having recently worked with Johnny Nash, Bob Markley (Bundrick played keyboards on Marley's "Catch a Fire" LP), and Toots and the Maytals (he played on "Funky Kingston"), the reggae flavored ''43 Revolution' probably shouldn't have come as a surprise. I'll simply say it made for an interesting, if momentary distraction.
5.) Special Woman (John Bundrick) - 3:18 rating: *** stars
The first mild disappointment, 'Special Woman' was side one's most commercial tune. Mind you, the song wasn't bad with Joanne Scheaffer (of ABBA fame) turning in what was probably the album's best guitar solos.
Backed by some punchy horns and showcasing how rugged his voice could be, 'Devil Run' was simultaneously one of the hardest rocking and funkiest tunes on the album. Nice Norman Whitfield vibe to the chorus.
2.) Cheat On Me (John Bundrick) - 3:29 rating: *** stars
The opening sounded like it had been borrowed from an Elton John ballad, but then the cheesy synthesizers kicked in and there was suddenly a Roger Daltry-styled anger and frustration evident. Nice rocker with Snuffy White on lead guitar.
3.) Hall of Love (instrumental) (John Bundrick) - 3:44 rating: *** stars
Blue-eyed soul ...why not? He seemed to have every other genre in his repertoire. Tasty little soul number, but the fact it was an instrumental made you wonder if he's imply run out of time to complete the track.
4.) I Believe In You (John Bundrick) - 3:18 rating: **** stars
With a Southern Gospel feel to it 'I Believe In You' would not have sounded out of place on a Bonnie and Delaney album. Pretty tune.
5.) Magical Foundation (John Bundrick) - 2:58 rating: **** stars
Nice rocker with a bit of reggae influences in the rhythm section. I really liked his voice and the jazzy keyboard interludes on this one.
For anyone interested, Bundrick as a website at: http://www.rabbitwho.com/
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