Band members Related acts
- Andre "Seaweed" Bonaguidi - vocals, drums, percussion
- Mike "Chick" Ciccarelli - vocals, guitar
- Frankie "The Duck" Sotelo - vocals, lead guitar,
"Wrangler" West - vocals, bass, percussion
- Mike Ciccarelli (solo efforts)
- The Intruders (Paul West)
- Lode Star (Andre Bonaguidi and Frankie Sotelo)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Coming Down
Catalog: SHL 32064
Country/State: El Paso, Texas USA
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG
Comments: original textured cover, original inner sleeve
GEMM catalog ID: 4258
Here's another LP that's been hyped by some dealers as a psych rarity and masterpiece. Not sure about where it stands on the rarity scale (we've only seen two copies in 25 years), but we can tell you it ain't psych ... That said, this one's kind of interesting in that you have to wonder how a rather conventional (but talented) Texas-based rock outfit ended up recording for the Memphis-based Hi Records which was better known for its soul roster including the likes of Al Green and Ann Pebbles.
From what we can tell drummer Andre Bonaguidi, guitarist Frankie Sotelo and bassist Paul West were originally from El Paso, Texas where they'd played in a number of groups including The Intruders (West) and Lode Star (Bonaguidi and Sotelo). Separately The Intruders and Lode Star managed to record a couple of tracks include on a compilation album released by the small El Paso Suemi Records. With the album vanishing into thin air and their respective bands collapsing, three three principles decided to form Swift Rain. Some early demos were enough for Suemi owners Kenny Smith and Bill Taylor to start recording material, but without adequate financial backing the project fell apart. The trio continued to rehearse, eventually adding lead guitarist Mike Ciccarelli to their line-up.
In the meantime Suemi owners Smith and Taylor had signed a deal with Hi to track down, sign and produce rock (aka 'white') acts for the label. One of their first acts was to sign Swift Rain.
Produced by the band and Taylor, 1969's "Coming Down" was recorded in Memphis (reportedly the project was completed in less than a week). With three of the four members contributing material, musically the set was fairly diverse, incorporating conventional pop, rock and even country influences into the mix. Nothing here was particularly original or knock-out impressive . Similarly, all four members sang, but none had a to-die-for voice. Be forewarned, "Nancy's Song" and a couple of the songs sported vocals that were pretty raw - particularly when they try to kick it into a higher register. Please, no more falsettos! That may explain why many of the songs sported group vocals. So what makes the set worth owning? Propelled by Sotello's guitar, the band were at their best on straight-ahead rockers such as "Everybird" and "Everywhere (In My Town)". While we're not big country-rock fans, we'll admit that West had a knack for the genre. His "Broken Love" sported a wonderful melody, while "Yo Soi Tuyo" would have fit well on something by Stephen Stills and Manassas. The album generating favorable critical buzz and Swift Rain was subsequently hired to serve as the opening act for Mountain on an upcoming American tour. Naturally the quartet reacted to their breakthrough successes by calling it quits.
"Coming Down" track listing:
1.) You're Gonna Come Down (Frankie Sotello - Paul West) - 4:14
2.) United (Mike Ciccarelli) - 3:00
3.) Everybird (Frankie Sotello - Paul West) - 2:51
4.) Broken Love (Paul West) - 2:09
5.) Nancy's Song (Frankie Sotello) - 2:56
6.) Yo Soi Tuyo (Frankie Sotello - Paul West) - 3:14
1.) Everywhere (In My Town) (Frankie Sotello - Paul West) - 5:16
2.) If You Feel (Frankie Sotello) - 2:46
3.) Silver Paper (Paul West - Felix Pappalardi - Collins - Gardos - Knight - Corky Laing) - 3:03
4.) For La Hudala (Paul West) - 2:39
5.) The Laplander (Frankie Sotello) - 4:02
After the break-up, Ciccarelli managed to record a one shot single for Hi (1972's "Sun Rises Here" b/w "Here" - Hi catalog number 2191).
Poking around the web it appears Bonaguidi continued to keep his hand in music (mostly jazz), while finding time to become a businessman and the owner of El Paso's Hugo’s Fine Wines & Spirits. Sotelo and West apparently settled down in El Paso, but don't seem to be active in the music scene.
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