Monday, November 03, 2008

Humble Pie - Smokin'

This is probably the Pie’s most successful album, at least in the States, despite the fact that Peter Frampton had already left the band for his solo career and had been replaced by Clem Clemson.

Opening with “Hot’n’Nasty”, you know you’re in for a soulful good time! Marriott’s fantastic r’n’b growl blends perfectly with the funky groove, Hammond organ and girl backup vocals. Great, great work!

“The Fixer” continues in the same vein – funky and fantastic riff rock with Steve’s amazing singing giving it a heavy-metal Ray Charles feel (if that makes any sense at all!). They move into ballad territory with “You’re So Good For Me” which is overall a quieter number, but still has the fabulous female backup singers on the choruses giving it a soulful feel.

They do a hip job of updating “C’Mon Everybody” and making it there own as a hard rock number. The addition of some cool licks and group vocals really makes this feel like a party! Steve revives an old-timey blues tune in “Old Time Feelin’” and it does have that! Barrelhouse piano and blues harp mix with acoustic guitar for a nice session.

Of course, the highlight of the record is the incredible “30 Days in the Hole”. Opening with accapalla singing of the chorus (which sounds beautiful!) they move into the heavy classic! Fantastic beat, super melody, funny vocals about NewCastle Brown (ale) and coke and an amazingly simple and supremely catchy chorus. Perfect from start to finish!

The Pie turns the old classic “Road Runner” into a slow, funky, organ-dominated groove, instead of the upbeat r’n’b number of the early 60’s. Definitely different, but definitely swingin’! Starting with dueling guitars, “I Wonder” is a guitar-centric heavy blues – the kind of song you would expect from Humble Pie! Lots of cool soloing and plenty of Steve’s bluesy wailin’!

The record closes with “Sweet Peace and Time”, another highlight of the record. Great, massive guitars reign over a head-banging beat while Marriott gives his all! Riffs, licks, wails and growls dominate and define “heavy”! A perfect ending to this pounding slab!

Far from subtle, and while I like many shades of the Pie, this is where I think they are at the top of their game – head-banging hard rock’n’soul with no regrets and no apologies. Not for everyone by any means, but if you dig over-the-top 70’s rock, this is for you!