California


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1974)

- John Baxter -- vocals, bass

- Tim Nyhus -- keyboards

- Robert Slyde -- percussion

- David Walter -- lead guitar, vocals

 

  supporting musicians:

- Lotzento Gartman -- trombone

- Cliff Maddox -- trumpet

- Larry McCrea -- sax

- Robert Slyde -- percussion

 

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Discovery

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog:  LPL1 5021
Year:
 1974

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: $60.00

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3549

Price: $50.00

 

I've looked and looked for information on this short-lived quartet.  I've looked for an online review of their sole album ...  no success.  These guys are a complete mystery to me.  

 

Given their album was released in England by RCA, I originally thought they were English, but the fact the collection was recorded in Redondo Beach, California at Walden Sound Recorders, and the fact their debut single was released by the small California-based Windi label makes me think they were Americans.  Watch it turn out they were Canadian ...

 

Whatever their background, by the time they headed into the recording studio, the band featured bassist John Baxter, keyboardist Tim Nyhus, drummer  Robert Slyde and lead guitarist David Walter. 

 

As mentioned, they debuted with a 1970 single:

- 'MIss Ginny' b/w 'Slow Down' (WIndi catalog number W-1023/1024)

 

From Windi, they somehow managed to attract the attention of RCA Victor which signed them to a deal with their English subsidiary.   Co-produced by Gary Young and John Larmer (Jeff Baxter shown as the executive producer), 1974's  "Discovery" was one of those album's that didn't make much of an impression on me.  The band were professional enough, but the first couple of spins simply didn't reveal anything particularly impressive.  As a result the album went into my "check it out later" pile where it sat for a couple of years.  Revisiting the collection I was surprised to discover there were a couple of charmers on the set. With Baxter and Walter responsible for the majority of the ten songs, the pair each had a knack for strong, commercial melodies.  The two also handle lead vocals and while neither was anything earth shattering, they were good enough.  Musically they fell into a mix of America styled folk-rock and a country-music vibe.

 

"Discovery" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Mental-Instrasynthesized (instrumental)   (David Walter - Jeff Baxter)   rating: *** stars

The horn-powered instrumental 'Mental-Instrasynthesized' has always reminded me of a Steely Dan tune - like one of the tunes the band use to play before Becker and Fagen came on stage, or their pre-encore closer.  Nice enough, but it won't change your life one way or another.

2.) Slow Down   (Larry Williams) -  rating: ** stars

While I'd love to be able to say something nice about their cover of 'Slow Down', about the nicest thing I can come up with is that it was a competent, if pedestrian effort.  David Walter 's guitar solo provided the song's highlight.

3.) Fly Baby Fly   (E. Whiby - Jeff Baxter) -  rating: *** stars

'Fly Baby Fly' had a sweet America-styled folk-rock melody with some decent, if a bit wobbly harmony vocals.

4.) Rolly Polly   (Jeff Baxter) -   rating: **** stars

A nice, slinky rocker, 'Rolly Polly' benefited from nice lead guitar throughout and the 'teddy bear' refrain always makes me smile.

5.) Mr. Jones   (Jeff Baxter) -   rating: *** stars

Pretty melody and their vocals meshed particularly well on this one.

6.) California Bly   (David Walter)   rating: **** stars

Easily the album's best rocker and standout performance, 'California Bly' combined a nice rock melody with the album's best guitar work, sweet vocals, and some punchy horns.  This was the track I would have tapped as the single

 

(side 2)

1.) Miss Ginny   (David Walter) -    rating: *** stars

 

 

And just when I'd convinced myself they were America, along came the rocker 'Miss Ginny' which just sounded sooooo English ....  Having previously been tapped as an American single, RCA also released it as a British single:

 

1974's 'Miss Ginny' b/w 'It's So Easy' (RCA catalog number LPBO- 5017)

 

 

 

 

2.) It's So Easy   (Jeff Baxter) -    rating: **** stars

The band tries to get down and funky ...  You wouldn't have been blamed for having low expectations, but 'It's So Easy' was surprisingly enjoyable.   Baxter's word-a-second delivery would have made many a rapper envious.

3.) In My Dreams   (David Walter) -   rating: ** stars

Bland, over-the-top and forgettable ballad.   zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

4.) Midnight Dream   (David Walter - Jeff Baxter)  -  rating: ** stars

Bland, over-the-top and forgettable ballad that differed from 'In My Dreams' given it had lots of flute and a touch of a progressive flavor.   zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

 

 

 

 

BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION