Friday, July 27, 2007

The Frost - Rock and Roll Music

I’m always looking for something different to listen to and lately I’ve been getting back into the late 60’s/early 70’s sounds of my youth. I still love big, loud guitars and this era was a great time for those! PA’s and amplifiers were improving and musicians wanted to make the biggest statement possible – and Detroit was one of the centers of the biggest sounds of the country!

Quite a lot of the Detroit bands of this time became hugely popular – either at the time or in retrospect – such as Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Grand Funk Railroad, the MC5, the Stooges and many, many more. Some bands didn’t quite hit as big, but have still left a legacy and the Frost is one of those.

Led by guitarist Dick Wagner, who later became a legendary studio musician in the 70’s (often partnering with Steve Hunter), playing with such superstars as Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith and plenty more, the Frost was a popular local band who put out several records, but never quite hit on a major level.

I’ve had this record, their second album, since I was a teenager (thanks, Kenne!), who was then just learning about the Detroit scene and the wild guitarists coming from that area. It’s not a masterpiece and I don’t pull it out all the time, but it is a good, rockin' record.

Opening with their sing-a-long anthem “Rock and Roll Music”, they set the tone for the record – fairly simple r’n’r played by real musicians. These cats aren’t nearly as psycho as some of the previously mentioned acts (as their very quiet acoustic ballad, “Linda” attests to), but they are a fine rock band.

“Help Me Baby” is a high-energy blues rocker that really shows off Dick’s terrific guitar playing in a live setting at the Grande Ballroom (the MC5’s home-away-from-home, where they recorded their Kick Out The Jams album).

For me, the highlight of the record is their extended take on the Animals, “We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place”. This is a live extravaganza, also recorded at the Grande, with the rhythm section pounding through the instantly recognizable riff, while Wagner and second guitarist Don Hartman duel it out. There is an obligatory drum solo, which is one of the late 60’s traditions that thankfully has faded away, but Bob Rigg keeps the energy going and keeps it reasonably interesting and engages and includes the crowd. The full band blasts back in with a wall of sound before finally bringing it back down to the riff and starting the vocals! They tear through the rest of the song with a mania that is palpable! This is a monster and shows off the group at its finest. Amazing stuff!

I’m not familiar with their other albums (but I’m going to be looking for them after listening to this again!), but this is definitely recommended to anyone who digs late 60’s guitar rock!

Check out Wikipedia's listing for the Frost and Dick Wagner and Dick has his own site here.


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