Band members Related acts
- Curt Jonnie -- vocals, bass (1969)
- Tony Grasso (RIP 1984) -- vocals, guitar (1969)
- Mike Zack --
drums, percussion, vocals (1969)
- The British Walkers (Mike Zack)
- The Cherry People (Mike Zack)
- Lawrence and the Arabians (Mike Zack)
- The Reasons Why (Mike Zack)
- Wild Honey (Curt Jonnie and Mike Zack)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Country/State: Washington, D.C.
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG
Comments: die cut gatefold cover; original ABC inner sleeve; minor ring wear; light surface marks but no skips or noise
Catalog ID: 4561
Not to be confused with a late-1970s funk band signed to Motown, this short-lived outfit showcased the talents of bassist Curt Jonnie, the late guitarist Tony Grasso and drummer Mike Zack (Jonnie and Zack had previously played in the band Wild Honey; while Zack was briefly a member of The Cherry People). Largely unknown, for what it's worth, Puzzle may be one of Washington D.C.'s best late-1960s rock outfits. Nice to see that the band's finally beginning to attract some of the attention they deserve ...
Signed by ABC Records, the trio's self-titled 1969 debut teamed them with producers Ed Kramer and Jay Senter. Largely written by Grasso and Jonnie, tracks like the leadoff rocker 'Hey Medusa' (which for some reason wasn't shown on the album track listing), 'Make the Children Happy' and 'Babe' offered up a first rate set of hard-rock. Complete with strong melodies, some excellent harmony vocals and occasional shots of fuzz guitar (courtesy of Grasso), "Puzzle" put lots of better known names to shame. Mind you there wasn't anything particularly original or earth shattering to be found on the set, but these guys played with considerable enthusiasm and energy. While their predominant orientation was hard rock, tracks like 'No Complaints' and 'Golden Butterfly' demonstrated a more commercial, though no less appealing sound. To be honest, the only disappointments were the seemingly endless blues-rock workout 'Working for the Rich Man' and a heavily phased and less-than-convincing foray into psych 'Got My Head Right Yesterday' (which actually started to grow on you given a couple of beers and some time to kill).
Elsewhere, ABC tapped 'Hey Medusa' b/w 'Make The Children Happy' (ABC catalog number 11181) as a single. Neither the single, nor the parent LP did anything commercially and within a couple of months the band was history.
"Puzzle" track listing:
1.) Hey Medusa (Tony Grasso - Curt Jonnie) - 2:51
2.) Make the Children Happy (Tony Grasso - Curt Jonnie) - 2:48
3.) Working for the Rich Man (Tony Grasso - Curt Jonnie) - 7:34
4.) No Complaints (Tony Grasso - Curt Jonnie) - 2:50
2.) Babe (Tony Grasso - Curt Jonnie - Eddie Kramer) - 3:00
3.) Piggy Back Ride (Tony Grasso - Curt Jonnie) - 2:40
5.) Golden Butterfly (Tony Grasso - Curt Jonnie) - 3:05
6.) Got My Head Right Yesterday (Part II) (Tony Grasso - Curt Jonnie - Eddie Kramer) - 6:00
back cover of LP
Zack went on to play in a number of local bands, including The Cherry People and Nils Lofgren's backing band. Grasso died in 1984. His sons Tony and Damian played in the Washington, DC based Uncle Chunky.
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