Good God

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1:

- Cotton Kent -- vocals, keyboards, sax

- Hank Ransome -- drums, percussion, vocals

- John Ransome -- bass

- Greg Scott -- sax

- Zeno Sparkles (aka Larry Cardarelli) -- vocals, guitar


  supporting musicians:

- Johnny Almond -- sax

- Bob martin - french horn

- Bob Shemenek -- trumpet

- Bruce Solomon -- trombone

- Larry Washington - congos



- Elizabeth (Hank Ransome)

- Duke Williams & the Extremes (Hank Ransome)





Genre: jazz-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Good God

Company: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Catalog: SD  7243

Country/State: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6225

Price: $20.00


Found this one at a yard sale outside of Philadelphia (which made sense given Good God were a Philly-based outfit), and almost didn't buy it because the Spencer Zahn cover art was so ghastly.


A short-lived Philly-based jazz-rock outfit, Good God featured the talents of lead guitarist Larry Cardarelli (billed as 'Zeno Sparkles'), singer/keyboardist Cotton Kent, former Elizabeth drummer Hank Ransome, bassist John Ransome, and sax player Greg Scott.  (If you believe the story, they got their name courtesy of Captain Beefheart.  Enormous Beefheart fans, the band supposedly called him up out of the blue, ask what they should call themselves.  Beefheart's spontaneous response provided the name.)  Signed by Atlantic, the band's self-titled 1972 debut teamed them with the production team of Skip Drinkwater, Jay Mark, and Dennis Wilen.  Featuring a mixture of band originals and covers, "Good God" was quite different than your standard Philadelphia-based band.  Exemplified by instrumental-heavy tracks like '' and ''. these guys were clearly  influenced by early 1970s jazz-rock/progressive outfits like Beefheart, Miles Davis (okay jazz-rock may not be an apt description for Davis), King Crimson, John McLaughlin, and Frank Zappa (the album included covers of the latter two acts),  set of jazz-rock.  I'm not a big fan of the genre, so that clearly colors my appreciation for the collection.  


"Good God" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) A Murder of Crows    (Larry Cardarelli) - 6:24  rating: *** stars

Built around a pounding John Ransome bass riff, 'A Murder of Crows' essentially served as a platform for showcasing the individual member's technical proficiency on a series of extended solos slots.  When the abbreviated Cotton Kent vocal finally kicked in, it wasn't really wasn't much to get excited about.  Showcasing a sparkling solo (ha), Cardarelli came off the best of the lot.

2.) Galorna Gavorna    (Cotton Kent) - 5:11    rating: ** stars

Opening up with what almost sounded like a stolen Motown pattern, 'Galorna Gavorna' then took an abrupt detour into Frank Zappa territory.  While it retained a semi-recognizable structure, the song just kind of ambled around without much focus.  I'm certain Greg Scott's extended sax solo was technically stunning, but it sure didn't do much for my enjoyment of the song.

3.) King Kong (instrumental)   (Frank Zappa) - 8:53     rating: ** stars

Speaking of Zappa, side one ended with an extended take of his 'King Kong'.  Accompanied by a full brass section, their cover wasn't half bad with drummer Hank Ransome and guitarist Cardarelli supercharging the performance.  On the other hand keyboardist Kent's extended solo didn't impress me nearly as much.   


(side 2)
1.) Dragon Song (instrumental)   (John McLaughlin) - 4:20   rating: *** stars

Side two started out with a cover of John McLaughlin's 'Dragon Song'.   To be honest, I actually like this one better than the McLaughlin original (off of 1970's "Devotion").  The focus on this one was clearly Greg Scott's sax, but the song's secret weapon was actually drummer Hank Ransome - check out his awesome performance.    

2.) Zaragoza  (instrumental)  (Cotton Kent) - 6:51   rating: *** stars

While I hesitate to call it conventional, or commercial, at least the initial and closing segments of Cotton Kent's 'Zaragoza' were quite tuneful and attractive.    

3.) Fish Eye   (Larry Cardarelli) - 8:37     rating: **** stars  

How to describe 'Fish Eye' ?   Blue-eyed-soul-meets-Captain Beefheart ?  Beats me, but to my ears this was the album's most interesting track.  Paced by a surprisingly tasty vocal (Kent ?), a dark and ominous melody, some nice David Gilmour-styled lead guitar from Cardarelli, this one managed to largely navigate between commercial rock and more experimental jazz-rock.  Yeah, the freak-out horn section wasn't really necessary, but all-in-all it still made for the album's standout performance ...


If I were into this musical genre I'm pretty sure that I would have given this one a far higher rating.  I'll leave it at that ...