D. Beaver


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1973)

- David Beaver -- vocals, keyboards

- Tommy Cathey -- bass, vocals

- Jimi Jamison (RIP 2014) -- lead vocals

- Carl Marsh -- woodwinds, horns

- Pat Allen Taylor (RIP 2015) -- guitar, backing vocals

- Joel Williams -- drums, percussion, guitar

 

 

 

- Bluebird (Jimi Jameson)

- The Breaks (Pat Taylor)

- Cobra (Jimi Jamison)

- The Debuts (Jimi Jamison)

- Drama (Pat Taylor)

- The Gentrys (David Beaver)

- Edgewood (David Beaver and Pat Taylor)

- The Highsteppers (Pat Taylor)

- Jaguar (Pat Taylor)

- Jimi Jamison (solo efforts)

- Survivor (Jimi Jamison)

- Target (Jimi Jamison)

- Village Sound (Pat Taylor)

 

 

 


 

Genre: progressive

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Combinations

Company: TMI

Catalog: BTL1-011B

Year: 1973

Country/State: Memphis, Tennessee

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5376

Price: $25.00

 

Following the release of  Edgewood's first album, singer/keyboardist David Beaver began writing material for a projected sophomore release.  Unfortunately Edgewood collapsed, leaving Beaver to focus his efforts on a solo project. Paying his bills as a sessions player for the Memphis-based Trans Maximus Inc. label (owned  by Jerry Williams, Steve Cropper, and  former Mar-Key Ronnie Stoots), Beaver began recorded a series of demos  with support from fellow studio musicians.  Those efforts eventually morphed into the band D. Beaver & Combinations and saw the release of the 1973 album "Combinations".  (Note that the album's frequently mistakenly as a David Beaver solo effort and you'll frequently see it listed as "D. Beaver".  This was a true group effort and the album title is "Combinations" though you have to look at the back panel to find it.)  

 

LP inner sleeve

 

With RCA Victor handling national distribution, anyone expecting to hear another Edgewood album was in for a major surprise.  Largely written by keyboardist Beaver (/keyboardist David Mayo co-writing two tracks), the album sported a totally unexpected English-influenced progressive sound. Mind you these guys weren't about to challenge Pink Floyd, or The Soft Machine in terms of experimentation, but tracks like their homage to Alexander Graham Bell 'The Wizard Of Menlo Park' were pretty far out there for an early-1970s American band (let alone a Memphis-based outfit).  The funny thing was that the results were really impressive.  Jamison's attractive lead vocals (imagine Emitt Rhodes with a more pronounced Beatles fixation) somehow managed to nail that unique late-1960s/early-1970s British vibe perfectly and tracks like 'I'm Gonna Show You', 'Anthony Beechum' and the title track showcased a winning mixture of strong melodies, creative arrangements, and some great ensemble playing.  Yeah, some of the synthesizers sounded a little cheesy three decades along, but so what.  Highlights included the should've-been-hits 'Another Bad Year', 'Anastasia' and the harpsichord-driven 'It's Gonna Take Time' .  Certainly not a perfect comparison, but imagine a cross between early Argent and Badfinger, or an early Ambrosia LP (yeah I know they were American), and you'd be in the right aural neighborhood.  This was easily one of the best album's I've stumbled across over the last year - and you can still pick it up cheap !   Unfortunately with virtually no promotional support from RCA Victor both the single and parent album vanished into cutout bins. Beaver and company began writing material for a second album, but RCA dropped them from its recording roster.  The band members apparently continued to work as TMI studio musicians, but subsequently called it quits.

 

"Combinations" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I'm Gonna Show You  (David Beaver) - 4:34

'I'm Gonna Show You' was a pop tune, but showcasing a strange mixture of country (pedal steel guitar), progressive, and  English-rock influences. A bit like an early Styx tune, but with better vocals, it took me awhile to get acclimated to the mix, but the melody was nice and the song showcased the group's wonderful harmony work.   rating: *** stars

2.) Don't Give Up  (David Beaver) - 7:46

   i.) Come Hear It  (David Beaver) - 

A four part suite, ' Come Hear It' started out with a bit of British musical-hall styled pop interspersed with some nice Pat Allen Taylor lead guitar.   Can't say I was excited by David Beaver's dated synthesizer solo.   rating: *** stars

   ii.) Anthony Beechum  (David Beaver) - 

'Anthony Beechum' found the band switching over to a pretty ballad that sounded like Emitt Rhodes doing his best Paul McCartney impersonation.    If you heard this without knowing anything about the band there was no way you would have pegged them as coming from Memphis.   rating: **** stars

   iii.) Here It Comes (instrumental)  (David Beaver) -

'Here It Comes' featured a bit or Baroque-meets-medieval-folk instrumentation.  rating: *** stars

   iv.) Combinations  (David Beaver) - 

The title track gave Beaver a couple of moments in the spotlight with another slice of pop-meets-Styx-styled progressive-lite rock.  rating: *** stars

3.) Another Bad Year  (David Beaver) - 3:52

'Another Bad Year' ended side one with a short, three part medley.  As mentioned , who would have expected a Memphis band to record something sounding like a cross between an English folk-rock tune a slice of Emitt Rhodes-styled pop, and an early Styx tune?   An even bigger surprise; how good it sounded.  

   i) Anastasia   (David Beaver) - 

With a breezy, almost waltz-like melody, 'Anastasia' was one of the most pop-oriented tunes on the album.  Very nice.   rating: **** stars

   ii.) Please Stand By Me

'Please Stand By Me' was just a short instrumental segue way.  rating: *** stars

   iii.) I've Had Some Time

'I've Had Some Time' ended the medley with a short, but pretty ballad.  rating; *** stars

 

 

(side 2)
1.) The Wizard Of Menlo Park  (David Beaver) - 

Hum, I wonder how many folks have been inspired to write a tune about Thomas Edison ...   Surprisingly tuneful song with some nice Taylor lead guitar, if it remained an odd subject for inspiration.   rating: *** stars   

    i.) Get The Phone  (David Beaver - David Mayo) - 

So why not follow it up with a nod to Alexander Graham Bell ?   This one actually had a nice muscular melody and was kind of cute in a goofy way.  rating: *** stars   

2.) It's Gonna Take Time  (David Beaver) - 

' It's Gonna Take Time' was a nice example of the band's ability to blend pop and progressive moves.   TMI also released a single off the LP:

- 1974's  'Its Gonna Take Time' b/w 'Get the Phone' (TMI catalog number BTBO 0011).   rating: *** stars 

3.) 42nd All Star Review  (David Beaver - David Mayo) - 2:08

'42nd All Star Review' was another tune with a distinctive faux-British feel.  Like a bad Paul McCartney-meets-Badfinger tune, it was a bit too cutesy for my tastes.  rating: *** stars

4.) Halfway  (David Beaver) - 2:11

Kicked along by some of Taylor's nicest guitar work and a great Jamison vocal, 'Halfway' was the album's most tuneful slice of progressive material.   I didn't even mind the woodwinds in the background.   The only thing wrong with this one was the fact it was so short.    rating: **** stars

5.) I Wouldn't Bet On You (Dina Divine)  (David Beaver) - 2:45

'I Wouldn't Bet On You (Dina Divina)' was another one of the album's more tuneful compositions, blending pop sensibilities with a likeable progressive edge.   rating: **** stars

 

 

 

Today Beaver's a successful banker, but apparently still plays in a local Memphis band - The Legends of Rock.  They have a small website at:  http://www.legends-of-rock.net/index.html

 

Jamison went on to record for a host of AOR bands including Target, Cobra, Survivor, and a pair of little heard solo albums 1991's "When Love Comes Down" (Scotti Brothers catalog number 75220-2) and 1999's "Empires" (frontiers catalog number FRCD157)  

 

Only 63, Jamison died of a heart attack in September 2014.  For anyone interested, there's a small Jamison  website at:  http://www.jimijamison.com/

 

After a three year battle with cancer, Taylor died in February 2015.  He was 65.

 

 

Ah, the internet is amazing:

 

Thanks for the nice review of the 1973 effort done by Combinations. Your knowledge of TMI and my current activity was very through. I was wondering how you have such updated and accurate info?

David Beaver

Vice President, World Wide Sales and Service Center First South Credit Union

January 2009

 

 

According to Mitch McCracken TMI was owned by Jerry Williams.  Thanks for that update and the other corrections.

 

 

 

 

 

BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION