Load, The

Band members               Related acts

- Dave Hessler -- guitar, bass (1975-79)

- Sterling Smith -- keyboards (1975-79)

- Tom Smith -- drums, percussion (1975-79)


- J.D. Blackfoot (Sterling Smith)
- The Danger Brothers (Dick Hessler)
- Osiris (Sterling Smith)




Genre: progressive

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Praise the Load

Company: Owl Intermedia

Catalog: 6113N12

Year: 1977

Country/State: Columbus, Ohio

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: minor staining; heavy cover

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $200.00


Here's one of those highly sought after, high priced rarities that leaves me scratching  my head in wonder. 

Originally from Columbus, Ohio The Load boasted a line up of guitarist Dave Hessler and brothers Sterling (keyboards) and Tom (drums) Smith. Sterling had previously played with J.D. Blackfoot and along with the other band alumnus went on to record an album Osiris (see separate entry). By the early-1970s the Smiths were part owners of the Columbus-based Owl Studios and Owl Records (which released material by the likes of Raven and Tom Wachunas). Eager to explore the studio's capabilities the brothers started playing around, recording material which eventually metamorphosed into a full scale trio.

Self-produced, 1977's "Praise the Load" offered up a pleasant set of progressive'flarvored material. Interestingly, I've seen some references that leave the impression these guys had psych leanings. Bulls*it !!!  Musically the album offered up a conventional mix of rock-adapted classical pieces (Bach's 'Brandenburg # 3' and Rosini's 'The William Tell Overture') and more conventional rock numbers ('Flyaway' and 'Dave's 'A' Song'). Imagine something out of the early King Crimson or ELP catalogs and you'll be much closer to the mark, though material such as the Spanish-influenced 'Fandango' and 'The Betrayal' were nowhere as pompous as the ELP catalog. Having listened to the set a couple of dozen times, your left with two standing impressions. First, Hessler and the Smiths may not have been the most writers but they were exceptionally talented musicians. Secondly, you're struck by the fact the album was clearly lovingly made - you'll be hard pressed to find a private pressing with such good sonic qualities. Not sure why, but it's one of my favorite recent purchases ...

"Praise the Load" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Fandango (instrumental) (Sterling Smith) -
2.) Flyaway (Dave Hessler) - 
3.) Brandenburg #3 (Third Movement) (Johann Sebastian Bach - arranged by Sterling Smith) - 

(side 2)

1.) Dave's 'A' Song (Dave Hessler) - 
2.) The Betrayal (Sterling Smith) - 
3.) The William Tell Overture (Rossini - arranged by The Load) - 

The trio also managed to record a second album that was promptly shelved. 

The band proved popular on the local scene, playing a steady stream of dates at cub such as Mr. Browns, The Ohio Theater, The Moonshine Co-op. In pursuit of greener pastures, in 1977 they relocated to Los Angeles where the members spent the next two years working as sessions players and touring musicians (working with The Beach Boys and Dennis Wilson). By 1979 they'd called it quits and returned to their native Ohio. Tom and Hessler subsequently reappeared as members of The Danger Brothers.

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