LEAF HOUND Growers Of Mushroom Repertoire REPUK1079 (2006)
Let me count the ways I love this album. [counting........]. Um, probably about 19 ways but I can't manage that reverse one anymore. But yes, if I could have sex with a record, this would be on my list of conquests.
Of course, you've all read my recent interview with Pete French (and shame on you if you haven't), so will be well aware of the reemergence of Leaf Hound for gigs and recording, and this reissue contains a bonus track from the somewhat belated second album due later in 2006.
You will also know that said Mr French also did time with Atomic Rooster and Cactus amongst others. You may even know that legions of stoners will point their shaky fingers at this album and mutter words of praise. And for once the dreaded pothead pixies are right. This is a classic.
From the opening "Freelance Fiend" with its delightful riff, cowbell and prot metal grind on into the Zeppelin like ""Drowned" through the Aynsley Dunbars Retaliation weirdo jazz licks of "Work My Body" this is one of those times when the 'magic' of music is patently obvious.
The album ramps up to its original closing with the awesome Sabbath sounding "Stagnant Pool", which still pins me to the wall after all these years before the cowbell makes its comeback for the closing "Sawdust Caesar" alongside a nearly falling off the edge guitar solo. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin.
But this is the ceedee age and that means bonus tracks or guff that wasn't good enough the first time around. "It's Going To Get Better" is utter pants and was rightly relegated to the B-side of the so rare it hurts single "Drowned My Life In Fear". "Hipshaker" was dug up for the original CD issue and is a lo-fi Humble Pie soundalike which is merely alright, in a UFO "Boogie For George" kinda way. Strange to say then that the best of the bonus numbers is the all new "Too Many Rock'n'Roll Times" which shows that Mr French can still blues wail with the best of them, and the tune would have sat nicely in the middle of the original album.
Always welcome round our way, this is irresistible to those of us who can't get enough of UFO - The Decca Years!
Review by Stuart A. Hamilton