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Whalefeathers - Whalefeathers CD (album) cover

WHALEFEATHERS

Whalefeathers

 

Prog Related

3.12 | 6 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Thankfully proving that despite having a fairly rubbish band name that includes the word `Whale' in it still provides great prog-related music (also looking at you, Satin Whale!), late Sixties group Whalefeathers from Cincinnati, Ohio released two albums in their fairly short time together, the debut `Declare' in 1970 and this self-titled follow-up a year later. With a sound somewhat similar to groups such as Cream, Vanilla Fudge and Nosferatu and favouring blues-based soloing, confident soulful vocals and plenty of Hammond organ soloing, if anything the band sounded more embryonic and Sixties flavoured than anything else, with the `proggy' elements coming from the improvised jamming passages they liked to stretch out with, not unlike what many of the numerous other `proto-prog' groups were delivering at that time.

Opener `World of Pain' is a powerful rocker with searing electric guitar runs and trickles of Hammond organ seeping in before culminating in two bluesy finales. `I Don't Need No Doctor' is a sprightly and gutsy R n'B-flecked rocker with winning group harmonies and vibrant up-tempo bursts, and `It's a Hard Road (Back Home)' is a stirring slow-burn blues come-down with plentiful piano, electric guitar and organ solos. `Bastich' that opens the flip-side shows the most exciting potential displayed by the band, the first minutes a reaching build of dreamy group harmonies before a tough slow-rocking second half. `Pretty Woman' is all grooving bluesy rocking swagger, and the ten minute closer `Shadows' provides the closest the album comes to prog thrills by delivering lengthy extended jamming soloing from all the musicians. With endless runaway Hammond organ, smouldering guitar runs, purring thick bass constantly punching through and thrashing drum attacks, it presents the band that their most wild and unhinged and is the standout moment of the whole LP - very tasty stuff!

Whalefeathers disbanded two years after this album in 1973, but during their time they got to perform concerts alongside higher-profile acts such as the Allman Brothers, Edgar Winter, Grand Funk Railroad, Badfinger and others. They left behind two very admired albums that are still enjoyed today, with a steady demand for reissues over the years giving the band and their works a small but sure status of an obscure rock band of note. Fans of hard-driving Hammond rockers with killer guitar playing, light psychedelic flavours, a large dose of the blues and early proto-prog sounds will likely find plenty to interest them here, and it's an energetic, cool and addictive album from a talented lost group well worth exploring.

Three stars as a prog album, four stars as a red-hot rock album.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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