Bonfire, Mars

Band members               Related acts

- Mars Bonfire (aka Dennis Eugene McCrohan, aka 

  Dennis Edmonton) - vocals, guitar

- Dennis Edmonton (solo efforts)

- Juicy Groove

- Jack London and the Sparrows

- Rainbow Red Oxidizer

- Sparrow





Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Mars Bonfire

Company: Uni

Catalog: 73027

Year: 1968

Country/State: Oshawa, Ontario

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4765

Price: $75.00

Cost: $25.00


Geez, and I thought he was Swedish ...


Born Dennis Eugene McCrohan, in the early 1960s while a member of Jack London and the Sparrows he changed his name to Dennis Edmonton. (His brother Jerry was the band's drummer).  Following a stint with John Kay in the pre-Steppenwolf Sparrow, in 1967 Edmonton stepped out in pursuit of a solo career.  He also opted for another name change - this time morphing into Mars Bonfire.


I bought this album at a yard sale having recognized Bonfire as the guy who'd written material for Steppenwolf, The Hollies and others, but not having a clue as to what the man himself sounded like.  With that background I guess I was thinking 1968's "Mars Bonfire" would sound something like warmed over Steppenwolf.  I don't say something like this very often, but this Ted Glasser produced album is a minor lost 1960s classic !!!   While you won't mistake Bonfire for John Kay, he has a lightweight but attractive voice that's well suited to the resulting mixture of pop, lite-psych and rock influences.  Material such as ''Ride with Me Baby, 'Lady Moon Walker' and 'Night Time's For You' is lyrically interesting and quite commercial, the poppier materials ('Christina's Arms') occasionally recalling The Moody Blues when they try to rock.  In fact pretty much anything here would have made a dandy single, though Uni doesn't seem to have tapped the album for a 45.  Also worth hearing is Bonfire's original recording of the AOR classic 'Born To Be Wild'.  Anyone expecting to hear the Steppenwolf rock version may be a little disoriented by this one, though Bonfire's psych-ish delivery is actually pretty cool.  A very nice surprise !!! 


"Mars Bonfire" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ride with Me Baby   (Mars Bonfire) - 6:07

2.) Born To Be Wild   (Mars Bonfire) - 2:58

3.) Sad Eyes   (Mars Bonfire) - 2:25

4.) Lady Moon Walker    (Mars Bonfire)- 2:45

5.) Tenderness   (Mars Bonfire) - 4:30


(side 2)
1.) How Much Older Will We Grow   (Mars Bonfire) - 5:47

2.) So Alive with Love   (Mars Bonfire) - 2:45

3.) Christina's Arms   (Mars Bonfire) - 3:15

4.) Little Girl Lost - 2:35

4.) Time To Fly   \ (Mars Bonfire - M. Cavett) - 2:30

6.) Night Time's for You   (Mars Bonfire - M. Cavett) - 2:30


Probably a marketing attempt to tap into the success Steppenwolf was enjoying with their cover of 'Born To Be Wild', the following year the album was reissued by Columbia Records.  Repackaged and re-titled as "Faster Than the Speed of Life", the album featured the same track listing as the debut (though in a slightly different running order).  For some reason the Columbia issue is considerably easier and cheaper to locate.  Elsewhere 'Lady Moonwalker' b/w 'In Christina's Arms' (Columbia catalog number 4-44888) was released as a quickly forgotten single.





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