Jericho “Jericho”

Jericho

Has classic rock radio made a bad name for itself because the music doesn’t wear well with age, or is it because they keep playing the same old shit? In a perfect world, classic rock gems like Jericho would no longer be neglected by the airwaves and listeners would abound in new sounds from a previous era. Just imagine your local classic rock station slipped in one cut off this record, in place of the usual barrage of Zep and Skynyrd repeats; there could easily be a demand for this sweet sounding, authentic-as-it-gets, yet unissued and unplayed recording.

Jericho members Frank DiFelice, Denny Gerrard, Fred Keeler, Gordon Fleming hailed from Canada and recorded this one-off at the famous Bearsville studio in Woodstock, with engineering and production by Todd Rundgren. These guys were a part of the same scene as Jesse Winchester and The Band, sharing Rundgren as producer and art director Bob Cato between this and Stage Fright, and the music falls right in line, albeit with a harder edge.

They bust down the door with “True Fine Girl,” sounding like the Band on steroids with overdriven organ and screeching guitars notching a next-level sound. “SS #4” even sounds a little like hard rock “Cripple Creek,” but the key here isn’t loud guitar rippin but a loose knit down-home groove. There are nasty prog moves and killer Clavinet shredding on “Cheater Man;” Gordon Fleming really steals the show on keys, often overshadowing the guitar leads (a rare feat for keyboardists). “Baby’s Gone Again” is a blues that shuffles harder than Cream and “Backtrack” is a killer Edgar Winter style instrumental with gnarly parts played thru Garth Hudson’s own Leslie speaker and Clav. I’m a sucker for “Goin’ To The Country,” a goofy, stoned country groover with wowy Moog bass replacing the “jug” line. The vocalist shines on this little number (vocals are really great all the way through, actually) that definitely stands out from the rest.

One track, “Make It Better,” would score a minor hit, but Jericho would be largely forgotten, unissued since its original release. I do find that this record tends to push a little too hard; it’s kind of relentlessly hard-rockin. But it deserved much more than it got.

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“Backtrack”

:) Original Vinyl | 1971 | Bearsville / Ampex | search ebay ]


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7 Comments.

  • That was a great find. Easy to warm up to. And the album backdrop looks right out of the unspoiled WV hills and mountains.

    And I agree that a majority of…”classic rock stations”…have simply over-saturated the airwaves with too much monotonous bs. Ignoring so much deeper cuts and lesser known bands. Frustrating the classic rock listeners who crave…surprise and variety…while cruising the orange-coned highways.
    Great post!

  • Kim

    Whoah, you had me at the album art, really. I’ll have to listen to this when I get home.

  • jesselun

    Thanks for the hookup

  • Aidan

    first off. I love this website, thanks for so much good music and thoughts.
    a few ideas..tony joe white, jackson c frank, gary higgins, maybe because they havent been reissued, but still worth hearing.. also i just bought Country Sect lp(col orig) for $80. deal? or no deal? :)

  • Aidan

    jj cale, chris rea, kris krisofferson, Delbert & Glen, Harlan T Bobo, The Beau Brummels, they’ll make you cry.

  • Anonymous

    Good stuff. Extended intro and outro to Backtrack sound like the Meters’ Pungee!

  • Bob

    Well once again, I only know this album because of my addiction to Todd Rundgren.
    I was ravenous for all things Todd back in those days and read about this album in
    several articles and its connection to Todd. The production here isn’t nearly as gimmicky
    as the American Dream long player and it’s obvious they’ve listened to their fair share of
    Band records. But that’s OK. The songs are good, they playing tight, and if you listen closely,
    you can hear Todd contributing backing vocals on several tracks. I once spoke to Todd about
    this album and he told me he was a fan of the finished product. I was disappointed that nothing
    from the album made the Japanese Bearsville Box Set some years ago. It seems like every
    other lp released by the label back from the early 70’s was represented. Thanks for remembering this obscure little nugget. It’s great to read about it 38 years after the fact.
    p.s. Anybody remember the 2 Lazarus albums on Bearsville? More GREAT music!
    Thanks, Bob

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