Spotlight Album Review #10

Reviewed on this page:

Juicy Groove was a short-lived supergroup of sorts, featuring former members of Steppenwolf (guitarist Mars Bonfire, a.k.a. Dennis Edmonton) and Captain Beefheart's Magic Band (guitarist Mercury Flyer, a.k.a. Elliot Ingber, and bassist Gary "Magic" Marker). There were numerous drummers involved; the drums are credited to Thundercloud, a nickname for Mike Cassidy, son of Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy. The elder Cassidy is not credited, but Ed reportedly drummed on some of the songs, and Iron Butterfly's Ron Bushy drummed on one. Their lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist was a character named Michael "Rainbow" Neal, an associate of Sky Saxon who was involved in some of Saxon's post-Seeds activities. On their 1978 album, Juicy Groove played unashamed '60's-style garage psychedelia as if the previous decade had never ended.

Juicy Groove's only album was titled First Taste. It was a picture disc released on a label called Payola. It's a hilariously anachronistic set of acid-fried hippie-rock tunes, recorded with a relatively lo-fi quality for a late-'70's album. There are no songwriting credits on the disc, but at least three songs ("Starry Ride", "Drums Guitars Stars", "Tired Of Bein' Poor") were co-written by Seeds leader Sky Saxon. The uninhibited frontman "Rainbow" Neal alternately moans like a stoner and howls like a lunatic. The trippy "Starry Ride" feels like just that. "Drums Guitars Stars" is a Jefferson Airplane-like anthem (complete with a Grace Slick soundalike named Victoria Reid) about rocking and rolling your way to fame. The similar-minded "Concert Fever" (which features Iron Butterfly drummer Ron Bushy) is filled with obviously dubbed sounds of audience applause. The album's carefree drug-soaked party vibe results in infectious, delirious enjoyment. Fans of Rhino's Nuggets box sets may want to dig this record up, because they'll probably dig it. (Note: First Taste was briefly available on CD in Germany, in a limited edition released in 2000 on the GRC label, cat. no. 012).

Track Listing:

1. Secret Lover
2. Juicy Groove
3. Late Last Night
4. Drums Guitars Stars
5. Tired Of Bein' Poor
6. Concert Fever
7. Two Shy
8. Starry Ride
9. Spread Love
10. Havin' Fun

Although First Taste was the only Juicy Groove album, most of the same crew recorded another album under the name Rainbow Red Oxidizer. This quintet consisted of Neal, Bonfire, Marker, Ed Cassidy, and lead guitarist Leon Rubinhold (formerly of the Outlaw Blues Band). They apparently realized what year it was, because Recorded Lies, released in 1980 on a sub-label of BOMP Records, took a more up-to-date new wave approach. This was perhaps not a big stretch from First Taste, since '60's garage rockers are sometimes considered to have been the punk rockers of their day. The six band-written songs on the first side of Recorded Lies are from the Iggy Pop school of insolent punk. The title track is a maniacal rant against the record industry. On "Wild Beast Planet Ruler", Neal howls like a werewolf above the band's relentless garage groove. The fun begins to wear thin after that -- some of these tracks are too lightweight -- but the album regains its momentum on "Limo To The Gig", on which Neal and a female enact a dalliance between a rocker and a groupie. The second side is the better one, where Neal and the boys (and some girls) gleefully destroy seven classics by the Beatles, Stones, Jackie DeShannon, Sam the Sham, the Contours, Link Wray, and the Music Machine. Recorded Lies is an enjoyable romp most of the time, even though it does cross the line between irreverence and irrelevance.

Track Listing:

1. Recorded Lies
2. Wild Beast Planet Ruler
3. Elevator Girl
4. Fine Lover
5. Palisades Park
6. Limo To The Gig
7. When You Walk In The Room
8. Rawhide
9. Talk Talk
10. Do You Love Me
11. Wooly Bully
12. Play With Fire
13. Hard Day's Night


Other Spotlight Album Reviews:

#1: Sigur Ros - "Von" (1997)

#2: Various Artists - "Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea" (1981)

#3: Gerry Goffin - "It Ain't Exactly Entertainment" (1973)

#4: Graces - "Perfect View" (1989)

#5: Genesis - "Calling All Stations" (1997)

#6: hindu love gods (1990)

#7: Various Artists - "Message To Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970" (1996)

#8: Distractions - "Nobody's Perfect" (1980)

#9: Deconstruction (1994)

#11: Emmylou Harris - "Gliding Bird" (1969)

#12: Various Artists - "Beyond The Wildwood: A Tribute To Syd Barrett" (1987)

#13: Candy - "Whatever Happened To Fun..." (1985)

#14: RTZ - "Return To Zero" (1991)

#15: Klark Kent - "Kollected Works" (1995)

#16: Various Artists - "Rainy Day" (1984)

#17: Alex Chilton - "1970" (1996)

#18: Feist - "Monarch Lay Your Jewelled Head Down" (1999)

#19: Attila (1970)

#20: Slipknot - "Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat." (1996)

#21: Eyes Adrift (2002)

#22: Stoney and Meatloaf (1971)

#23: Elliott Murphy - "Aquashow" (1973)

#24: Evanescence - "Origin" (2000)