Saturday, 7 March 2015

Chesapeake Juke Box Band - S/T (1972)

Chesapeake Juke Box Band were duo Rusty McFinn and Steve Sawyer, who appeared out of nowhere, released a single album of progressive pop and quickly disappeared. The self titled album was released on the independent Hollywood label, Greene Bottle Records and was recorded in 1971 at New York's Record Plant, at the same time and place that John Lennon was recording his classic Imagine album. Rumour has it that John Lennon borrowed Chesapeake's executive producer, John Frangipane's Mellotron for his own recording session!

McFinn & Sawyer
The album released in 1972 is loaded with Beatles references throughout from opening track "...Until We Meet Again" with it's repeated lyric "I love Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, I love Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" up to the album closer "The Door's Unlatched", "Martha My Dear, the door's unlatched for you". As I previously mentioned, this is pop, but of the progressive kind with Beatles sounds and psychedelic effects (way out of date by 1972) but with songs in the Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle or Beach Boys' Smile vein. Sure, it's choppy and un-jointed but it works. Another obvious comparison would have to be Klaatu, whose ultra Beatlesque debut, "3:45 EST" would take this style of music to the nth degree, even fooling some into believing that they WERE the Beatles. McFinn and Sawyer were clearly a talented pair which makes it all the more baffling that they don't appear on any other records before or after. Unless that is, that they are pseudonyms?!? If anyone knows, do let me know.

Album highlights include "Jennifer" which sounds like "On My Side" era Cowsills, "Fizbee's Tavern" is pure 1968 Bee Gees with John Lennon on vocals and "This Time" with it's driving Macca bassline and Penny Lane trumpets is a euphonic joy.

Despite it's scarcity, Chesapeake Juke Box Band is still reasonably cheap to get hold of, and it comes in a nice die-cut sleeve, of a jukebox, natch. Get a copy quick before they all dry up.

1 comment: