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SKIN ALLEY Skin Alley Eclectic (2006)

Skin Alley

When it got big enough or just too big, rock splintered into fusion genres the jazz variant of which was seized by musicians and music industry alike. Despite the horror of purists, both saw the commercial potential in mainstreaming jazz and by the late 60s major labels were marketing acts imbuing progressive and straight rock with jazz sensibilities.

CBS fronted with US imports such as Blood Sweat & Tears and Flock while the mid ranks included the likes of home-grown 'undergrounders' such as Black Widow and Skin Alley.

This well-drilled 1970 debut showcases a live act honed on the free festival circuit: a typical progressive band of the time with a largely organic sound from an organ/sax/flute driven line-up and a repertoire that revealed additional folk and blues orientation.

Skin Alley could stay tight or go into freefall improvisation and this, together with credible and varied material, reinforced their credentials on the live circuit and boosted confidence in them as a valid prospect for their label.

Another well-packaged deep catalogue reissue from specialists Eclectic, this includes bonus tracks in the single version of 'Tell Me' and non-album song, 'Better Be Blind'.


Review by Peter Muir

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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