Harrison Kennedy

Band members                              Related acts

- Harrison Kennedy -- vocals, guitar




- Lee Andrew and the Hearts (Harrison Kennedy)

Chairmen of the Board

- Stone Soul Children  (Harrison Kennedy)





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Hypnotic Music

Company: Invictus

Catalog: ST-9806

Year: 1972

Country/State: Hamilton, Canada

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments:  minor cover wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5212

Price: $30.00


The early 1970s commercial successes enjoyed by The Chairmen of the Board saw individual group members given opportunities to strike out on their own via various solo projects.  Canadian singer/guitarist Harrison Kennedy took advantage of the opportunity to record a solo debut - 1972's "Hypnotic Music".   Produced by William Weatherspoon (Ronald Dunbar credited as executive producer), the album underscored Kennedy's reputation as The Chairmen of the Board's closet rocker - he'd handled lead vocals on most of the group's rock-oriented catalog including their interesting Beatles and Traffic covers.  From a musical standpoint the album's rock orientation and social and political commentary ('You Hurt Your Mother Again') made this a very atypical project for Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland's Invictus label.  Material like the pseudo-psychedelic title track, the Kennedy-penned 'Closet Queen' and 'Night Comes Day Goes' (the latter baring a passing resemblance to Joe Cocker), was all impressive, serving to showcase Harrison's nifty voice and gift for crafting commercial material.  Highlights included his cover of The Beatles 'Come Together' (which seemed to be the same version as found on The Chairmen of the Board's debut album), and 'Sunday Morning People'.  


Was it as good as his Chairmen of the Board catalog    Nope.  Parts of the album would have sounded right at home of FM radio, unfortunately from a commercial standpoint the album was too rock oriented for soul audiences, while Harrison's soul reputation ensured he didn't get a shot at breaking out with a white/rock audience.  That marketing dilemma also guaranteed that neither single off the LP did much commercially.


"Hypnotic Music" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hypnotic Music   (William Weatherspoon - Angelo Bond) - 5:19   rating: *** stars

Yeah, the orgasmic opening and mid-section segments were simply cheesy; the spoken word philosophical meanderings merely dull, but once you got through those sections, 'Hypnotic Music' improved a bit.  I guess my main problem with this one was the fact Kennedy simply sounded like he was trying too hard.   The guy had a great voice, but on this mid-tempo rocker, it simply didn't show up.  

2.) Closet Queen   (Harrison Kennedy) - 3:22   rating: *** stars

From a lyrical standpoint 'Closet Queen' was certainly a surprise - with an openly pro-gay life lyric, the song  would probably still attract controversy today.  Kudos to Harrison for being so ahead of the learning curve.  Nice tine too boot.   

3.) Night Comes Day Goes   (Harrison Kennedy) - 6:40    rating: ** stars

'Night Comes Day Goes' has always reminded me of a Ritchie Havens tune. Kind of a bluesy track, it just never really kicked into gear and since I'm not a big Havens fan, this one didn't do a great deal for me.  Giving credit where due, Harrison turned in a nice guitar at the end of the song.

4.) Sunday Morning People   (Ronald Dunbar - E. Wayne) - 3:09   rating: **** stars

A hardcore slice of funk, lyrically 'Sunday Morning People' reminded me a bit of Paul Kelly's 'Stealing In the Name of the Lord'.  Same slam against the black church, but way funkier than Kelly's soul-tinged classic.   The tune was tapped as the leadoff single:





- 1972's 'Sunday Morning People' b/w 'Come Together' (Invictus catalog number Is-9119)  rating: **** stars








(side 2)
1.) Gimme a Glass of Water   (Harrison Kennedy) - 3:07   rating: **** stars

'Gimme a Glass of Water' was a fun rocker that highlighted Harrison's remarkable voice.  Would have made a nice single.  

2.) Come Together  (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 3:50   rating: *** stars

Harrison recorded 'Come Together' with The Chairmen of the Board ( it was on the self titled debut) and the solo version doesn't sound all that different.   Nice enough, but why would you want to listen to anything other than the classic original ?   The album's second single:





- 1972's 'Come Together' b/w '' (Invictus catalog number Is-9119)  





3.) You Hurt Your Mother Again   (Harrison Kennedy) - 5:51   rating: **** stars

Perhaps my favorite track, 'You Hurt Your Mother Again' had a pretty melody and some of the era's less subtle lyrics.  Still, Harrison's heart was in the right place and the drum fills were killer ! 

4.) Up the Organization (instrumental)   (Ronald Dunbar - E Wayne) - 3:12   rating: *** stars

'Up the Organization' was a bluesy, harmonica-propelled instrumental.   Quite good, but to my ears it sounded a bit like a raw demo that Harrison never got around to completing.   

5.) Children of the Day   (William Weatherspoon) - 3:16   rating: *** stars

This is going to sound strange, but 'Children of the Day' has always reminded me of The Clash.  Sounding like he was literally about to explode with rage, Harrison's flat, half sung-half spoken delivery was a dead ringer for Joe Strummer and company.   




Kennedy's still active in music.  


SRB 3/2013