Band members Related acts
- Eric Berg -- drums. percussion (1980)
- Betty Brenner -- backing vocals (1980)
- Wayne Case -- harmony vocals (1980)
- Gyp Fox -- vocals, lead guitar, keyboards (1980)
- James Dean Hall -- vocals, slide guitar (1980)
- Wayne Hall -- keyboards (1980)
- Chuck Musselman -- bass (1980)
- Mark Stumme -- lead guitar (1980)
Rating: 2 stars **
Company: Root River
Country/State: Winona, Minnesota
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: still in shrink wrap
GEMM catalog ID: 5590
I've looked around the web and can't say I know a great deal about Ghostdance. They were apparently from Minnesota. with the liner notes on their sole LP showing a lineup consisted of drummer Eric Berg, backup singers Betty Brenner and Wayne Case, guitarist Fox, singer/guitarist James Dean Hall, keyboard player Wayne Hall , bassist Chuck Musselman, and guitarist Mark Stumme. Dean, Fox, and Musselman had played on the earlier Ray Harlowe album.
Folks are bound to want to know how this sounds compared to the Harlowe LP. To be honest there isn't much of a comparison. Recorded in Minneapolis, 1980's self-produced "Ghostdance" sounded positively high tech and polished compared to the Harlowe album. If you were attracted to the formers low-tech bluesy vibe that probably wasn't good news. Fox and Dean were clearly the front men here. In addition to being featured on the front cover the two were credited with separately writing all of the material. Hall and Fox each wrote half of the songs The two also served as lead singers though neither was anything spectacular. Of the two Hall had the stronger voice. Fox has a high pitched nasally sound voice that occasionally made him sound like a 17 year old kid ('All Is None'). In the positive column the two were quite talented guitarists, though each had a different style - Hall was an accomplished slide player, while Fox was an all around rock guitarist with an affinity for using a fuzz pedal. So what's this one actually sound like?
- The third best effort, the leadoff song 'Like a Vision' showcased a nice rock rhythm and a great feedback drenched lead guitar solo from Fox.
- Kicked along by a flute solo (courtesy of Maurice Jacox), 'Lone Wolf' had a breezy Caribbean lilt to it. It also showcased Fox's plaintive little boy voice.
- 'Eyes of March' was a nice little rocker with a weird little reggae rhythm pattern. Fox turned in another great solo.
- 'To Be with You' sported another nice up tempo melody and some nice acoustic guitar/mandolin. It also featured Fox's nasally little boy voice, though the song was strong enough to compensate for that limitation. The track actually held some commercial possibilities.
- In spite of the title 'Ballad of the Blues' was a country-flavored track highlighted by Dean's tasty slide guitar.
- Sporting what sounded like an anti-nuclear war lyric ('nuclear holocaust ,the whole world will be lost'), 'All Is None' had a strange new wave feel.
- 'Good Times' was a mindless country hoedown that gave several members a chance to solo. Yech !
- With Fox handling lead vocals 'Ain't Got No Sunshine' started out sounding like an armature hour version of The Stones 'Shattered'. The song was salvaged by a nice sinewy lead from Fox.
- On the jittery rocker 'Walkin' On Ice' they finally got the ingredients right. Nice vocal from Hall with Fox Stumme and turning in a great duel lead section. Easily the best song on the album.
- 'Thinking About the Future' was strong enough to invalidate my complaints about Fox's voice. Great rocker full of killer guitar from Fox. My only complaint was the abrupt ending - in a flash the song morphed into the country-flavored 'Hoot Owl Song'. Talk about a jarring transition.
- Yeah, 'Hoot Owl Song' was another country-flavored track, but in spite of a hideous lyric, it had some nice country picking from Fox.
- Geez 'Misty Days' was another stupefied country number, but this time there were no redeeming qualities. Not a good way to end the album.
There were certainly flashes of promise here, particularly on the three rock oriented numbers, but all told nothing to write home about. Go with the earlier Harlowe album if you have to make a choice.
"Ghostdance" track listing:
1.) Like a Vision (James Dean Hall) - 5:57
2.) Lone Wolf (Gyp Fox) - 3:25
3.) Eyes of March (James Dean Hall) - 3:12
4.) To Be with You (Gyp Fox) - 3:00
5.) Ballad of the Blues (James Dean Hall) - 3:40
6.) All Is None (Gyp Fox) - 2:22
2.) Ain't Got No Sunshine (Gyp Fox) - 3:29
3.) Walkin' On Ice (James Dean Hall) - 4:13
4.) Think About the Future (Gyp Fox) - 2:50
5.) Hoot Owl Song (James Dean Hall) - 2:56
6.) Misty Day (Gyp Fox) - 5:12
Berg seems to still be playing as a member of Chicago singer/songwriter Peter Oyloe's band.
Stumme apparently got into video production via the company Media Design Solutions, but seems to still be active in music, teaching guitar and playing on a recent album by singer Amalia Vagts.
Anyone out there got some additional info on the band send it to me and I'll give you a credit for it.
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