Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1975-76)

- Keith Brown -- guitar, backing vocals

- Dean Davis -- drums, percussion

- Court Hawley -- vocals, bass

- Randy Roseberry -- vocals, keyboards




- Impaler (Court Hawley)

- Michael James (Randy Roseberry)

- Notorious Noblemen (Keith Brown)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Playgun

Company: Annuit Coeptis

Catalog: AC 1064

Country/State: Iowa

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1275

Price: $20.00


Iowa's favorite sons in the mid-'70s progressive sweepstakes ....   Come to think of it Locust might be the only entrants in this category.  They were apparently quite popular in their native State, opening for nationally known touring bands and releasing a pair of obscure singles on the small Magic label:


- 1975's 'Hold On To America' b/w 'You Should Have Just Cried' (Magic catalog number MYS-45003)

- 1975's 'I Must Be In Love' b/w 'The Show Is Over'  (Magic catalog number MYS-45008)


Produced by Locust guitarist Keith Brown and the rest of the band, 1976's "Locust" was an interesting time piece.  With Brown also responsible for the majority of the nine songs, musically it certainly wasn't all that original with the band borrowing liberally from a broad array of better known bands including Ambrosia, Boston, Kansas, Yes, etc.    In fact if I had to pick one band as a source of comparison it would probably be Styx.   Like Styx, these guys were highly competent musicians who were very aware of the line between being progressive and outright commerciality.   With the exception of a couple of the conventional ballads, virtually every one of these tunes managed to blend top-40-ish moves with an occasional progressive flourish.   If you're under 50 the churning synthesizers that propelled tunes like 'All for You / Turn Around Lady' and 'Hesitation' certainly sounded dated (a comment that applied to the overall production).  That said, the band were quite talented, demonstrating more energy and enthusiasm than many of their better known compatriots (stack this one up against something like Ambrosia's "Life Beyond L.A.", or Styx's "Cornerstone" and this would have won the competition by a country mile. 


"Plaque" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hesitation   (Keith Brown) - 3:28

With kind of a David Pack and Ambrosia-meets 10c.c. feel, 'Hesitation' was probably the album's most conventional and commercial pop-oriented tune.  Nice melody and sweet harmony vocals made it quite catchy, explaining why it was tapped as the album's second single, though I've never seen a stock copy:




- 1976's 'Hesitation' b/w 'Hesitation' (Annuit Coeptis catalog number A-204)   rating: **** stars

2.) Let's Just Say Goodbye   (Dave Hearn -  Count Hawley)  - 5:24

To my ears this one sounded about as progressive as a late-'70s Styx effort which meant it was more AOR than progressive.   The tune actually got better as it went along, shifting from martial paced ballad to a more up-tempo rocker complete with lots of cowbell (seriously).  Nice enough melody and you couldn't help but smile at Randy Roseberry's somewhat dated synthesizers.    rating: *** stars

3.) You'll Never Know   (Keith Brown) - 4:05

Wow, Locust tries to get down and dirty with ...  well with Court Hawley trying to sound important it all sounded vaguely ominous; maybe the same way a pest control jingle does.   rating: *** stars

4.) Madonna    (Keith Brown - Dave Steen) - 8:35

'Madonna' slowed things down to a bluesy crawl before morphing back into anonymous AOR territory.  Sure, the melody was pretty enough and the band showed off some nice harmony vocals, but there wasn't a great deal of originality here.  Clocking in at over eight minutes, this one went on and on and on.   rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) All for You / Turn Around Lady   (
Randy Roseberry - Keith Brown) - 5:26

Wow, not that there was anything wrong with it, but if you wanted to hear a song with that distinctive '70s pop-progressive vibe, 'All for You . Turn Around Lady' was a pretty good place to start, especially since the the second half the medley seemed to have borrowed some of the keyboard based melody from Yes' 'Roundabout'.    rating: **** stars

2.) You Should Have Just Cried   (Keith Brown) - 4:09

Very top-40ish ballad that could have seen some chart success with a bit of promotion.  Nice Brown lead guitar on the tune.   rating: ** stars

3.) Outside Chance   (Keith Brown) - 3:27

Totally forgettable attempt to get a touch funky.   A minute after listening to it and I can't remember anything other than Court Hawley's bass.   rating: ** stars

4.) Hold On To America   (Keith Brown)  - 2:46

Hum, Boston meets Styx  ...   I remember thinking this one really sounded like the late Brad Delp.  Probably didn't sound all that promising, but there was something quite enjoyable here.  Maybe it had something to do with the Bicentennial ?    Tasty Brown lead guitar, this was tapped as the album's debut single: 

- 1976's 'Hold On To America' b/w 'Hold On To America' ( catalog number A-203)    rating: *** stars

5.) Blood In the Hand    (Count Hawley - Randy Roseberry - Keith Brown) - 3:11

Odd mixture of jazz-rock and funk moves.  At least bassist Court Hawley got a chance to strut his stuff.  rating: *** stars


Nik Racevic's dated cover art probably didn't help sales.