The Steve Drake Band
Band members Related acts
- Steve Drake (aka Steve Kaczorowski) (RIP 2009) -- vocals
- Steve Kaczorowski (solo efforts)
- No Dice (Steve Kaczorowski)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Nature Intended
Company: Tiger Lily
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: small cut out hole top right corner
Catalog ID: 5907
Ah, here's a movie script just waiting to be made. I'm not going to spend a great deal of time on Steve Drake's (aka Steve Kaczorowski) biographical background. Patrick 'the Lama' Lundborg has written a fascinating piece on the man that will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about his bizarre personal life and recording career.
Released by Morris Levy's Roulette Records-affiliated tax scam Tiger Lily label, 1976's "Nature Intended" was Drake/Kaczorowski's third release following 1970's "What Time Are You?" (released under his given name) and "Cold Sweat" (credited to Steve Drake).
By any stretch of the imagination this one added a weird twist to what was already a strange recording career. On the first album Drake/Kaczorowski at least went to the effort of re-recording vocals over original performances by obscure English bands. For the second and third projects he didn't even bother with that, instead simply creating what amounted to his own mix tape, but going the extra step of taking credit for writing and singing all of the material. I happen to like both Babe Ruth and Stackridge (which is where he copped the majority of the songs on this set - see additional information below), but knowing this material was written and performed by others certainly gave the set s strange feel. And yes, there was clearly something ironic having a tax scam label like Tiger Lily release an album of 'stolen' songs. Kind of the perfect art and business match made in hell ...
Lundborg and tax scam expert Aaron Mileski spent considerable time tracking down the original sources of the album's nine tracks. They've figured out seven of the nine. So here's their side-by-side research:
Intended" track listing:
1.) Nature Intended rating: *** stars
The actual song title was 'Nature Intended' and it was originally recorded by the British band Nutz. There's actually a parallel story associated with the British band Nutz. If interested you can see the 'No Dice' link above. The song started the album off with an interesting slice of British hard rock. The opening Gregorian chant sound effects were apparently intended to be ominous, but simply came off as being goofy. Hardly the band's most inventive composition, the track seemed designed to give lead guitarist Mick Davenport a change to showcase his hyper speed guitar licks. Okay, the lyrics were actually kind of funny.
2.) Rap On rating: *** stars
The actual song title was 'Lady' recorded by the British band Babe Ruth. I've always liked Babe Ruth lead singer Jennie Haan's voice, but it was certainly kind of strange to hear it plopped down in the midst of this mix-tape LP. The switch from the hard rock opener, to this smooth slice of jazzy-funk was a bit jarring.
3.) Slark rating: *** stars
The song title was 'Slark' written by the British band Stackridge. I've always wondered why Stackridge didn't achieve bigger successes in the States. Admittedly this wasn't there finest moment, but the instrumental segment sounded pretty good with the volume cranked up.
4.) Adam And I rating: *** stars
Another Babe Ruth effort, originally entitled 'A Fistful of Dollars'. Decent enough instrumental with plenty of '70s-styled lead guitar and the nod to 'Rawhide' was cute.
1.) Somebody . rating: ** stars
Back to Babe Ruth for this one which was originally entitled 'Somebody's Nobody'. As displayed by this rocker, Babe Ruth and Jennie Haan could be shrill
2.) Dave Ross & Me . rating: ** stars
This remains one of the two known performances. Musically it was a decent slice of county-flavored folk with a lyric that was actually funny.
3.) Eastern Wind rating: **** stars
Perhaps my favorite performance and the other mystery song - 'Eastern Wind'. Nice mix of pop sensibilities, tasty slide guitar, and light psych moves. Someone out there knows where this one came from.
4.) Perfect Love . rating: ** stars
'Perfect Love' found Drake diving back into the Babe Ruth catalog. This one was originally entitled 'The Duchess Of Orleans'. Haan's prominently featured on this slow, overwrought ballad. Unfortunately this was another one where she mistook shrieking for power. Nice lead guitar from Alan Shalock ...
5.) Jennie's Extravaganza . rating: * star
And for the finale Drake went back to Stackridge. Listed as 'Jennie's Extravaganza' the instrumental's titled was actually 'Let There Be Lids'. Way too country for my tastes.
Certainly not a 'must own' by any stretch of the imagination, but it made for one weird-ass story. Wonder whether the Babe Ruth and Stackridge members had any knowledge of this one ...
Drake/Kaczorowski died in March, 2009 and I happened to stumble across a brief obituary by Erin Schultz written for the Suffolk Times which did a nice job of trying to make some sense of the man's odd life.
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