Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-70)

- Tom Green -- drums, percussion

- James C. Johnson (RIP 2019) -- vocals, lead guitar 

- Doni Larson -- bass

- Enrico Rosenbaum (RIP 1979) -- vocals, guitar 

- James Walsh -- vocals, keyboards 


  line up 2 (1970-71)

NEW - Jay Epstein -- drums, percussion (replaced Tom Green) 

- James C. Johnson (RIP 2019) -- vocals, lead guitar

- Doni Larson -- bass 

- Enrico Rosenbaum (RIP 1979) -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- James Walsh -- vocals, keyboards 


  line up 3 (1971)

- James C. Johnson (RIP 2019) -- vocals, lead guitar 

NEW - Bill Lordan -- drums, percussion (replaced Jay Epstein) 

- Enrico Rosenbaum (RIP 1979) -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- James Walsh -- vocals, keyboards 

NEW - Willie Weeks -- bass (replaced Doni Larson)


  line up 4 (1972-73)

NEW - Randy Cates RIP 2012) -- vocals, bass (replaced 

  Willie Weeks)

- James C. Johnson (RIP 2019) -- vocals, lead guitar 

- Bill Lordan -- drums, percussion 

- Enrico Rosenbaum (RIP 1979) -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- James Walsh -- vocals, keyboards 


  backing musicans:

- Lee Loughname -- horns

- James Pankow, -- horns

- Walter Pazaider -- horns


  line up 5 (1975-76)

NEW - Lewis Derey -- bass, vocals (replaced Randy Cates)

- James C. Johnson (RIP 2019) -- vocals, lead guitar 

NEW - Stan Kipper - drums, percussion (replaced Bill Lordan) 

NEW - Chico Perez -- percussion 

- James Walsh -- vocals, keyboards 


  line up 6 (1978) (as The James Walsh Gypsy Band)

NEW - Jim Behringer -- lead guitar

NEW - Scott Fronsoe -- bass, vocals

NEW - Todd Hansen -- horns, vocals

NEW - Bob Jones -- lead vocals, guitar, keyboards

NEW - Deone Jones -- horns, vocals

NEW - Richard Jorgensen -- horns, vocals

NEW - Ernie LaViolette -- drums, percussion

- James Walsh -- vocals, keyboards


  line up 6 (1979)  

- James Walsh -- vocals, keyboards 


  line up 7 (1996)  (as Gypsy)

- James C. Johnson (RIP 2019) -- vocals, lead guitar

- Stanley Kipper  -- drums, percussion

- James Walsh -- vocals, keyboards 





Hot Half Dozen (Janes Walsh)

- Calvin James and the Haymarket Riot

- Jumpstreet (James Walsh)

- Sly and the Family Stone (Bill Lordan)

- The Steamers (Jim Johnson, Stan Kipper, and Brad Palmer)

- Robin Trower (Bill Lordan) 

- The Underbeats (Tom Green, James C. Johnson, Doni Larson

   and  Enrico Rosenbaum)

- The James Walsh Gypsy Band (James Walsh)




Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Gypsy

Company: Metroemdia

Catalog: M2D 1031

Year: 1970

Country/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve;

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3502

Price: $40.00

Cost: $66.00


My introduction to Gypsy started with a letter.  A letter from a law firm.  A letter from a law firm threatening to sue me.  Turns out the remaining Gypsy members and heirs are quite protective of their intellectual property.  I had listed a couple of used Gypsy albums for sale of my small website,  The law firm representing the band somehow stumbled across the listings and apparently did not realize that I was selling a couple of used albums, rather than having pressed and marketed thousands of illegal new copies.  No idea what a corporate law firm bills, but I'm pretty sure their rates aren't cheap.  Anyhow, I actually responded to the letter politely explaining I was selling a couple of used copies of their albums (as was my right)  and that I had not infringed in any of the bands rights.  I remember suggesting they were free to sue me, but their misunderstanding of the situation would make them look stupid if it ever went to court.  Last I heard from the firm.


Needless to say, that run-in didn't exactly ingratiate Gypsy with me.  In fact, it was about five years before I got around to listening to their 1970 debut.   


Gypsy is one of those bands that has volumes of online bibliographical information, so I'm not going to waste time going into their history.  Suffice it to say guitarist Jim Johnson, singer/guitarist Enrico Rosenbaum, and singer/keyboardist James Walsh had all be members of Minneapolis' The Underbeats.  1969 saw The Underbeats head to Los Angeles with a line-up featuring new drummer Jay Epstein and bassist Doni Larson.  Elmer Valentine spotted the band playing at a local club and offered them a slot replacing Chicago at The Whiskey Au Go Go.  They accepted and opted for a new name - Gypsy selected by unanimous vote.  The resulting attention brought several record labels calling; the band eventually signing with Artie Valando's newly form Metrormedia Records.


Recorded at Hollywood's Devonshire Studios with Rosenbaum, Walsh and Glen Pace co-producing, "Gypsy" was about a far away from The Underbeats' mix of garage and top-40 pop as you could get.  Along with the new name, it was clear these guys want to bury their musical history and be taken as serious rock musicians.  Originally planned as a standard single album set, the band quickly recorded enough material for a double album,.  They womehow convincing Metromedia to finance the extended recording sessions.  The end result was a debut double album set reflecting a hulking thirteen tracks. The only other rock band  I can think of who debuted with a double album set would be The Chicago Transit Authority.  Largely penned by Rosenbaum, the collection was also interesting for forsaking short, commercial tracks in favor of longer, FM-focused material like the eight minute 'Decisions' and the eleven minute 'Come and Gone'.  For a double album set, the collection was quite impressive.  Sure there was some filler here ('More Time'), but otherwise there was a little something for everyone.  That included Santana-styled rockers like 'Gypsy Queen Part 1' and 'I Was So Young'; jazz-rock moves ('Late December'); and even occasional pop interludes ('Here In My Loneliness' and 'Gypsy Queen Part 2').  It made for a more than decent double album set and with a bit of judicious editing would have been a killer single album.  Plenty of highlights including the hidden gems 'The Vision' and 'When I Was Young'.  Always loved the Alfons Mucha art deco cover art.

"Gypsy" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Gypsy Queen Part 1 (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 4:21  rating: **** stars

Imagine someone coming up with a musical clone of Boston and Santana ...  That'll give you a rough feel for the blazing opener 'Gypsy Queen Part 1'.   Nice melody powered by the combination of Johnson's blazing guitar and James Walsh's Hammond B3, with a touch of Latin percussion kicking it along.  The song was tapped as the leadoff single:

- 1970's 'Gypsy Queen Part 2' b/w 'Dead and Gone' (Metromedia catalog number MM 202)

The sound and video quality are horrible (filmed by someone in the crowd), but YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song during a 2014, 40th Anniversary tour: 

2.) Gypsy Queen Part 2 (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 2:33   rating: ** stars

After a momentary break, 'Part 2' started out with a heavily orchestrated, pop-oriented segment.  Pretty, but kind of Association-styled MOR-ish.  Nowhere near as interesting as the first song.

3.) Man of Reason (James C. Johnson) - 2:59  rating: **** stars

This side of the Allman Brothers, the ballad 'Man of Reason' featured some of the best '70s twin lead guitar you'll ever hear.  It all served to showcase the band's exceptionally tight vocals.

4.) Dream If You Can (Enrico Rosenbaum - James C. Johnson)  - 2:48  rating: **** stars

'Dream If You Can' was another rocker that underscored the band's sweet group vocals.  Always loved the stop and start chords that powered this one.

5.) Late December (Enrico Rosenbaum)  - 4:12   rating: *** stars

The ballad 'Late December' found the band dipping their collective toes into jazz-rock.  I remember initially absolutely hating this one, but it's grown on me over the years.  Drummer Epstein was the secret sauce on this one.  The other selling point came in the form of te jazzy lead guitar segments.


(side 2)

1.) The Third Eye (James Walsh) - 4:55  rating; ** stars

Opening up with some pretty Walsh piano and a sweet guitar solo, 'The Third Eye' quickly went downhill into a forgettable Chicago-styled ballad.

2.) Decisions  Enrico Rosenbaum) - 8:16   rating: **** stars

I didn't have high hopes for the eight plus minute 'Decisions', but once again, saw my preconceived notions go up in flames.  Yeah, it started out sounding like incidental music from some sort of murder mystery flick and stretching out over eight minutes it was a bit too long, but this one showcased the band's progressive orientation with a surprisingly enjoyable melody and those sweet harmony vocals.

3.) I Was So Young (Enrico Rosenbaum)  - 4:00   rating: **** stars

'I Was So Young' found the band returning to Santana-styled rock, but with a streak of Chicago-styled top-40 buried in the mix.  One of the album's standout performance.  Would love to learn the little guitar lick that kicks through the song.


(side 3) 

1.) Here In My Loneliness (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:10   rating: *** stars

The album's most overtly commercial tune ...  Not necessarily the best song, but one that radio could have latched on to.

2.) More Time (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 5:35   rating: ** stars

The late Rosenbaum was supposedly allowed to write most of the lyrics because he had a knack for interesting perspectives ...   not sure what happened on 'More Time'.   The band at their most pretentious and least emjoyable.

3.) The Vision (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 7:30   rating: **** stars

Another hidden gem, 'The Vision' had a couple of things going for it.   First off was Johnson's stunning slide guitar (which bore more than a passing resemblance to George Harrison's playing style).  Walsh' vocals were also fascinating given he sounded like he was pulling out his best Stephen Stills impression.  That was underscored by the song's Latin percussion.   


(side 4)

1.) Dead and Gone (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 11:07  rating: *** stars

I'm normally lukewarm when it comes to country-rock numbers, but I'll make an exception for the classic 'Dead and Gone'.  It's actually more of a suite than a single song, with the opening section lasting about three and a half minutes, before morphing into a more jazzy segment than spanned then next xxx minutes.   In 1979 the album was reissued by the small Minneapolis-based Cognito label which also released an edited version of the song as a single:





- 1979's 'Dead and Gone' b/w 'Hear In My Loneliness' (Cognito catalog number 008 A/B)






2.) Tomorrow Is the Last To Be Heard (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 5:48   rating: **** stars

Walsh's churchy organ gave the opening a Uriah Heep-esque flavor, but then the song shifted into a more conventional pop-rock direction. Darn if their collective voices didn't blend well.  Another track that had single potential.






Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  In the Garden

Company: Metromedia

Catalog: KMD 1044

Year: 1971

Country/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gimmick cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: crease on bottom left corner of cover

Price: $50.00

Cost: $66.00


Produced by Clark Burroughs, 1971's "In the Garden" introduced a new rhythm section with drummer Bill Lordan replacing Jay Epstein and bassist Willie Weeks taking over for Doni Larson.  Interestingly most of the material was written prior to the personnel changes which may explain why the album didn't sound like a major change in direction for the band.  Really the only difference I could detect is percussion effects that graced so much of the debut were largely absent this time out.  With singer/rhythm guitarist Enrico Rosenbaum again penning most of the material, this time he seemingly opted for a more mainstream rock approach.  At the same time the revamped band sounded far more comfortable this time around.  That was particularly true for vocalists Enrico Rosenbaum and James Walsh.  Elsewhere, stripped down to a single album, much of the collateral experimentation and extended jamming found on the debut set was dropped in favor of tighter songs like the Santana-influenced opener 'Around You' and the single 'Here In The Garden (Part II)'. Okay 'As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel)' clocked in at over twelve minutes and was about as progressive as they ever sounded. 

"In the Garden" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Around You (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 5:27  rating: **** stars

The combination of Bill Lordan's percussion, James Walsh's Hammond B3 moves and James Johnson's guitar gave the opener 'Around You' a distinctive Latin flavor.  I detected a clear Santana flavor throughout.  As a big Santana fan that wasn't a problem for me. Actually the biggest surprise came from writer/vocalist Enrico Rosenbaum. On the debut album his voice was pleasant, but didn't knock me out. Judging by this track on the second album he seemed to have gained considerable confidence.  No idea when it is was recorded, where it was recorded, or who the band members were at the time, but YouTube has a clip of a much later version of the band performing the tune: (1) GYPSY- around you ( 70's song ) - YouTube

2.) Reach Out Your Hand (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 2:33 rating: *** stars

The opening guitars on 'Reach Out Your Hand' has always reminded me of Allman Brothers-styled Southern rock.  Funny for a band hailing from Minnesota. Nice, breezy rocker with commercial potential and another nice Rosenbaum vocal.  Wish the song hadn't faded out so soon.

3.) As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel) (Enrico Rosenbaum - Doni Lordan - James Walsh) - 12:09  rating: **** stars

Clocking in at over twelve minutes, 'As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel)' my have been  their creative peak in terms of progressive moves. Letting the band members stretch out the first section was essentially an extended instrumental jam.  Drummer Lordan and keyboardist Walsh made the most use of their spotlight time. When Rosenbaum's vocals kicked in around the four minute mark the tune shifted into a pretty Chicago-styled ballad mode.  At the eight minute mark the song shifted into a totally different melody.  Showcasing the band's Johnson and Rosenbaum twin guitar attack, the western motif even prettier than the first part of the song.  You also got to hear the band's criminally overlooked harmonies.  The song was edited for release as a promotion single:




- 1971's 'As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel)' b/w 'As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel)' (Metromedia catalog number MM 225)






(side 2)

1.) Here In The Garden (Part 1) (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 6:43  rating: **** stars

Opening up with some lovely Johnson acoustic guitar (the jazzy electric guitar parts later in the song were just as good),, 'Here In the Garden (Part 1)'  was one of their prettiest compositions.  Almost pastoral, the song also showcased the band's exquisite harmony vocals.  CS&N should admire the performance.  And just as you were starting to float along, Lordan cut loose with an extended drum solo ...  Great drummer (check out his tenure with the awesome Robin Trower), but what the hell ?

2.) Here In The Garden (Part II) (Enrico Rosenbaum) -  3:07  rating: **** stars

Sonically the division between 'Part 1' and 'Part II' was pretty abrupt. Lordan's drum solo stopped and Jonshon and Walsh picked up the spotlight. 'Part II' retained the same melody and those wonderful harmonies, but switched over to top-40 pop-rock mode.  I actually liked it alot and as the album's most commercial selection, it was easy to see why it was the second single.




- 1971's 'Here In the Garden Part II) b/w 'As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel) ' (Metromedia catalog number MM 228)





3.) Blind Man (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:59  rating: **** stars

Another pretty blue-eyed soul ballad, 'Blind Man' served as a baseline for discovering what a strong and commercial  voice the late Rosenbaum had.  When he hit the high numbers, it made me think of Smokey Robinson.  = )  Commercial, but slightly gravelly, the song also demonstrated he had far more range than normally displayed.  Surprising to learn this wasn't tapped as a single.

4.) Time Will Make It Better (James Walsh) - 2:53  rating: *** stars

The keyboard powered ballad 'Time Will Make It Better'  was one of two Walsh compositions.  Walsh also handled lead vocals.  It was certainly a pretty song with some "big topic" lyrics and a pleasant, upbeat lyric.  Not a criticism, but it was almost too sensitive and sounded a little lost on the album.





Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Antithesis

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog: LSP-4775

Year: 1972

Country/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; embossed cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4321

Price: $15.00

Cost: $66.00


Anyone hearing this band's progressive moves would find it hard to believe they started out as the Minneapolis-based garage rockers The Underbeats.


Formed in 1964, the original Underbeats line up featured the talents of drummer Tom Green, guitarist James C. Johnson and bassist Doni Larson.  With the addition of singer/guitarist Enrico Ronsenbaum the band became a stable on the Twin Cities club circuit, enjoying a series of regional hits throughout the end of the decade.  With Johnson temporarily out of the line up thanks to his draft board, the band hired on keyboardist James Walsh.  By 1969 Johnson was back at work and the band decided to head for the west coast.


In Los Angeles they quickly won a job as the Whiskey-a-Go-Go's house band. Deciding on a name change, the newly christened 'Gypsy' also began to expand their musical horizons, showing a distinct interest in British progressive sounds.


Co-produced by Jack Richardson and Jim Mason, 1972's "Antithesis" found the Gypsy signed to RCA Victor.  Along with a new label, the band sported a new bass player in Randy Cates (having replaced Willie Weeks, who had replaced David Larson).  With the first two albums having vanished with little recognition, new label RCA apparently insisted on some musical changes.  Accordingly, the third all original set found the band tinkering with their patented UK-progressive influenced sound.  As before, the album's underpinnings remained firmly planted in a progressive mode, but this time around the band turned in a series of compositions with shorter and more focused song structures.  While tracks such as 'Crusader', 'Facing Time', and 'So Many Promises' weren't quite top-40 pop, they were surprisingly commercial and would have sounded quite good on FM radio - in fact two of the more commercial numbers 'Day After Day' b/w 'Lean On Me' were released as a single.  Exemplified by tracks such as 'Young Gypsy' and 'Don't Bother Me' the set was full of strong melodies and some interesting arrangements.  Not meant as an insult, but on tracks such as 'Travelin' Minnesota Blues (Go Gophers)' and 'So Many Promises' the album reminded me of early David Pack and Ambrosia, or a strong Guess Who LP.  


Needless to say, longstanding progressive fans were appalled by the change in direction, while the album simply wasn't commercial enough for top-40 fans to pick up on it.   Initially I was in the former category.  My stance probably wasn't helped by the fact the band's legal team had recently sent me a letter threatening court action if I didn't stop selling Gypsy materials online.  (Those lawyers apparently didn't understand the difference between someone selling used albums and someone pressing and selling bootlegs.  They disappeared after I sent them an email explaining the differences.)   Having listened to the album dozens of times over the years (the fact I've kept a copy tells you something), I'll readily admit I was wrong and this was an excellent collection full of melodic and memorable performances.

"Antitthesis" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Crusader   (James C. Johnson - Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:10   rating: *** stars

'Crusader' was a surprisingly funky tune, showcasing  first rate James C. Johnson fuzz guitar and  some glorious harmony vocals.   Never having studied the lyrics in-depth, the tune seemed to have a slight religious orientation.

2.) Day After Day   (Randy Cates - James Walsh) - 3:15   rating: **** stars

'Day After Day' was probably the album's most commercial track with a West Coast AOR-ish flavor - imagine something out of the Pablo Cruise catalog and you'd be in the right neighborhood.  The song was tapped as the leadoff single:





- 1972's  'Day After Day' b/w 'Lean On Me' were released as a single (RCA Victor catalog number 47- 0862). 







3.) The Creeper   (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:10    rating: *** stars

Nice, slightly ominous blues-rocker which again showcased the group's impeccable harmony vocals.

4.) Facing Time   (Enrico Rosenbaum)- 4:11   rating: **** stars

Another tune that had a slightly jazzy West Coast AOR flavor - this one's always reminded me of David Pack and Ambrosia.  As a big Ambrosia fan, that was meant as a compliment.

5.) Lean On Me   (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:15    rating: *** stars

Piano and organ powered bluesy balllad ...   pretty enough, with the band again showcasing their nice backing vocals, but ultimately didn't make a lasting impression on me.

6.) Young Gypsy  (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:06    rating: **** stars

Easily the album's standout performance, 'Young Gypsy' had everything you'd look for in an FM hit - great, prowling melody, excellent Walsh solo, and, once again, those great harmony vocals.   This was the tune that RCA should have released as a single.    

(side 1)

1.) Don't Bother Me  (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:15   rating: **** stars

'Don't Bother Me' found the band steering towards a more commercial sound which actually reminde me a bit of The Guess Who (there was something in the lead vocal that reminded me a bit of Burton Cummings).  Coincidently, Gypsy opened for The Guess Who a couple of times.   Always liked the mid-section jam segment.   The tune was released as the second single:

- 1972's  'Don't Bother Me' b/w 'Make Peace With Jesus' (RCA victor catalog number 74-0933)

2.) Travelin' Minnesota Blues (Go Gophers)   (James Walsh - Enrico Rosenbaum) - 2:33    rating: *** stars

Every time I hear this "life-is-tough-on-road" rocker it makes me think of The Atlanta Rhythm Section.

3.) So Many Promises  (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 2:25    rating: *** stars

Another nice FM ballad with a sweet vocal hook that had considerable radio potential.

4.) Antithesis (Keep Your Faith)  (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:22   rating: **** stars

Maybe a touch on the lounge act side, but as I grow older I can appreciate a sweet melody (even when it has someone playing vibes).  Another one that reminded me a bit of Ambrosia.  For a guy who tends to be pretty oblivious to message songs, I'll admit that I found this ode to faith to be quite enjoyable. 

5.) Edgar (Don't Hoover Over Me)  (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 3:26    rating: *** stars

Slightly funky rocker with a funny lyric.   

6.) Money  (Enrico Rosenbaum) - 4:52   rating: **** stars

Imagine Burton Cummings and company taking on a true mash-up of hard rock and progressive moves and you'd get a feel for 'Money'.   Nice way to close the album out.   




Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Unlock the Gates

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog: APL1-0093

Year: 1973

Country/State: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+; small cutout notch on edge

Comments: textured cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: $25.00


Judging by the cover art, liner notes and some of the song titles I initially wondered if I’d purchase a secular album (of course I didn’t immediately notice the guy on the cover holding a copy of Rolling Stone).  I owned a couple of the earlier Gypsy LPs and they weren’t religiously-themed, but people change all the time …  

Co-produced by Jack Richardson and Jim Mason, 1973’s Unlock the Gates” was easily the band’s most conventional set.  Largely written by lead singer/guitarist Enrico Rosenbaum (singer/guitarist James Johnson and keyboardist James Walsh also contributing material), selections like ‘Is That News?’, the title track and 'Bad Whore (The Machine)’ would have sounded perfect slotted into mid-1970s top-40 radio (okay the latter title might have been a problem for commercial radio).  Unfortunately while highly commercial, material like ‘One Step Away’ and ‘Need You Baby’ came at the expense of the band’s identity.  Anyone expecting to hear more of the pseudo-progressive moves found on earlier sets was going to be thoroughly disappointed.  To be honest, much of the set could have easily been mistaken for Ambrosia (‘Bad Whore’), The Doobie Brothers (‘Make Peace with Jesus’), etc.  That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you were into commercial 1970s rock.  ‘Bad Whore (The Machine)’ and the funky (yes, funky) ‘Don’t Get Mad (Get Even)’ were particularly impressive.  Perhaps not good news to some folks, but the core of Chicago’s horn section (Lee Loughname, James Pankow, and Walter Pazaider) provided supported on a number of tracks.  


"Unlock the Gates" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Is That News?   (Enrico Rosenbaum – James Johnson) – 3:15   rating: *** stars

Opening up with some tasty guitar and a keyboard figure that drilled into your head, 'Is That News?' found the band trying to get funky. The chorus was great, bur It probably would have worked better without the blaring Chicago horns and the irritating female backing vocals.

2.) Make Peace with Jesus   (Enrico Rosenbaum – James Walsh) – 3:15   rating: **** stars

'As mentioned above, 'Make Peace with Jesus' sounded like an early Doobie Brothers tune.  No idea if they were being sincere with the song, but it gets a nod as one of the LP's  standout performances.     

3.) One Step Away   (James Walsh)    rating: **** stars

Penned by James Walsh, 'One Step Away' was a smooth AOR ballad that sounded like it had been stolen out of the Ambrosia songbook.  Very commercial, this one sounded like it had been written specifically for radio airplay.  Sadly I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff ...   

4.) Bad Whore (The Machine)   (Enrico Rosenbaum) – 2:48  rating: **** stars

It sounded strange, but the band's white-boys funk-meets-jazz-rock mash-up 'Bad Whore (The Machine)' somehow worked.  Yeah, the discordant horn section at the end of the song was a waste of time, but the rest of the sound actually had a decent groove.  Imagine a more commercial track off of Steely Dan's "Aja" and you'd be in the right aural neighborhood. 

5.) Unlock the Gates   (Enrico Rosenbaum) – 3:42     rating: ** stars

'Unlock the Gates' was a heavily orchestrated ballad with some inspirational lyrics.  Pretty, but one of their more anonymous offerings.  


(side 2)

1.) Torn It   (Enrico Rosenbaum) – 2:46     rating: ** stars

Anyone who missed the band's progressive moves was going to have to make do with 'Torn It' which actually sounded like a bad mid-career Chicago song.  Once again, having the Chicago horns on the song didn't help.   

2.) Need You Baby  (Enrico Rosenbaum) – 3:05     rating: ** stars

Another stab at Ambrosia-styled AOR, 'Need You Baby ' was certainly commercial and catchy (and showcased the band's overlooked harmony vocals), but ...  well it sounded like Ambrosia-meets-Chicago.  The tune was tapped as the second 45: 


- 1973’s ‘Need You Baby’ b/w ‘Precious One’ (RCA catalog number APBO-0036)    

3.) Smooth Operator   (Enrico Rosenbaum) –3:20      rating: ** stars

No, it wasn't a cover of the Sade hit ... That said, this 'Smooth Operator' was equally vapid.   A perfect example of how soulless mid-1970s rock could be, the only thing this one had going for it was the slightly Latin flavored guitar solo that jumped out in the middle of the song.  Other than that, this one sounded like it had been written for a rental car commercial.   

4.) Don’t Get Mad (Get Even)  (Enrico Rosenbaum) – 3:14    rating: **** stars

'Bless 'Don’t Get Mad (Get Even)' for at least giving drummer Bill Lordan five seconds of spotlight time ...   The album's best performance, this one had everything going for it - catchy, funky melody, more of those silky smooth group harmonies, and even a short taste of James Walsh's keyboards.  The song was tapped as the leadoff single:


- 1973’s ‘Don’t Bother Me’ b/w ‘Make Peace with Jesus’ (RCA catalog number 74-0933)  

5.) Precious One   (James Johnson) – 4:19    rating: *** stars

Another very mainstream track, 'Precious One' had some interesting lyrics, a nice melody, a wonderful guitar-and-keyboards mid-section jam, and more of those Ambrosia-styled harmony vocals.  A very nice way to close out the album.   


Scorned by most Gypsy fans, I’ll grudgingly admit this one has grown on me over the years. 

Apparently recognizing they’d lost their direction (and audience), the band subsequently called it quits. 


There was a one-shot 1977 reunion concert in St. Louis (Super Jam ’77). 


- Sadly, Rosenbaum died of a drug overdose in September 1979. 

- Walsh subsequently appropriated the band name, reappearing with a 1978 album credited to The James Walsh Gypsy Band.  In 1996 Walsh reformed Gypsy (he remained the only original member), releasing “20 Years Ago Today”.

- Lordan went on to become a longtime member of Robin Trower’s recording and touring band.  


For anyone interest, under Walsh the band has an official website at: