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)
- Caboose (David Beaver, Tommy Cathey, and Joel Williams)
- 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)
Rating: 4 stars ****
Country/State: Memphis, Tennessee
Grade (cover/record): NM/NM
Comments: sealed copy; gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: 5376
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:
1.) I'm Gonna Show You (David Beaver) - 4:34 rating: *** stars
Maybe it's just me, but the opener 'I'm Gona Show You' has always reminded me of an early Styx tune, but with better vocals. Yeah, it was definitely a a pop tune, but showcasing a strange mixture of country (pedal steel guitar), progressive, and English-rock influences. 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.
2.) Don't Give Up (David Beaver) - 7:46
i.) Come Hear It (David Beaver) - rating: *** stars
The start of an ambitious 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. In addition to being a bit too cute for their own good, I can't say I was too excited by David Beaver's dated synthesizer solo.
ii.) Anthony Beechum (David Beaver) - rating: **** stars
'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.
iii.) Here It Comes (instrumental) (David Beaver) - rating: *** stars
'Here It Comes' featured a snippet of Baroque-meets-medieval-folk instrumentation.
iv.) Combinations (David Beaver) - rating: *** stars
The title track gave Beaver a couple of moments in the spotlight with another slice of pop-meets-Styx-styled progressive-lite rock. As a Styx fan, this one struck a chord with me. Might have something to do with the cheesy '70s synthesizers ...
3.) Another Bad Year (David Beaver) - 3:52 rating: **** stars
'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 was how good it sounded.
i) Anastasia (David Beaver) rating: **** stars
With David Mayo handling lead vocals, 'Anastasia' featured a breezy, almost waltz-like melody. The result was one of the most pop-oriented tunes on the album. Very nice and was probably the track I would have picked as the single.
ii.) Please Stand By Me rating: *** stars
'Please Stand By Me' was just a short instrumental segue way.
iii.) I've Had Some Time rating: ** stars
'I've Had Some Time' ended the medley with a short, pretty, but forgettable ballad.
Hum, I wonder how many folks have been inspired to write a tune about Thomas Edison ... Surprisingly tuneful song that again reminded me of early Styx with some nice Taylor lead guitar, if it remained an odd subject for inspiration.
i.) Get The Phone (David Beaver - David Mayo) - rating: *** stars
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.
2.) It's Gonna Take Time (David Beaver) - rating: *** stars
Kicked along by what sounded like harpsichord, 'It's Gonna Take Time' was a nice example of the band's ability to blend pop and progressive moves. Imagine a good Ambrosia song and you'll have a feel for what this one sounded like. Easy to see why TMI released it as the single:
1974's 'Its Gonna Take Time' b/w 'Get the Phone' (TMI catalog number BTBO 0011)
3.) 42nd All Star Review (David Beaver - David Mayo) - 2:08 rating: *** stars
'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.
4.) Halfway (David Beaver) - 2:11 rating: **** stars
'Halfway' has always made me smile. Perhaps it had something to do with wondering how a Memphis band could sound so much like an English progressive band ... Kicked along by some of Taylor's nicest guitar work and a great Jamison vocal, the pastoral '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.
5.) I Wouldn't Bet On You (Dina Divine) (David Beaver) - 2:45 rating: **** stars
'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.
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?
Vice President, World Wide Sales and Service Center First South Credit Union
According to Mitch McCracken TMI was owned by Jerry Williams. Thanks for that update and the other corrections.
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