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River

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Album Review

River was a looser and rootsier affair than Terry Reid's first records, taken from a sprawl of sessions in London and California that generated enough material for several albums. The very looseness that gives the effort some charm is the same quality, however, that keeps it from being a major work. The songs mostly sound unfinished, as if they're friendly jams in which Reid and the musicians (including, most notably, David Lindley on half the album and percussionist Willie Bobo on the title track) are working out some song ideas or twisting around some riffs. It often brings to mind those parts of songs where the likes of Van Morrison, Tim Buckley, or Robert Plant sing-scat improvised-sounding vocal passages. The difference is that, for the most part, those singers used such sections to embellish solid songs. On River, the quasi-stream-of-consciousness vocal ramblings are the songs. The first four of the seven songs are very much in a funky, laid-back blues-rock groove, prominently featuring Lindley on steel, slide, and electric guitars. Reid, and the album itself, really begin to find more of an individual voice on "River," where beguiling Latin-Brazilian elements are introduced in the guitar, melody, and rhythm. The final two cuts, "Dream" and "Milestones," back Reid's vocals only with acoustic guitar, and have a romantic melancholy that likewise makes them highlights of this highly personal but uneven record.

Biography

Born: 13 November 1949 in England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A minor but interesting late-'60s British rock singer, Terry Reid could have been a lot more famous if he had been able to accept the slot of lead singer for the New Yardbirds in 1968. That slot, of course, went to Robert Plant, and the New Yardbirds became Led Zeppelin. Unlike Plant, Reid was also a guitarist, and the opportunity to head his own group no doubt played a part in his decision to gun for a solo career. Leading a guitar-organ-drums power trio, he recorded a couple of respectable, though...
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River, Terry Reid
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