Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

323

The Flock: The Flock / Dinosaur Swamps

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Lasting only three years, Chicago's The Flock, might have ended up as nothing more than a footnote on the creative rock scene between 1965 and 1975. But this guitar trio with a horn section was the first sighting of violinist Jerry Goodman, who'd go on to greater fame as a member of fusion super-group Mahavishnu Orchestra. Mahavishnu fans might be interested in this double-disc reissue of the group's two albums solely on the strength of the violinist's involvement. Goodman is, unquestionably, the group's biggest calling card, but by no means the only one.

Guitarist/vocalist Fred Glickstein, along with saxophonist Rick Canoff, was one of the group's founding members. Perhaps not as immediately impressive as Terry Kath of Chicago Transit Authority (soon to be simply Chicago), who emerged around the same time, Glickstein was however, a loosely expressive singer and more versatile guitarist.

This may explain why The Flock never achieved the commercial success of other horn-sectioned bands of the time like CTA and Blood, Sweat and Tears. The eclecticism of The Flock meant that it was hard to pin down just what it wanted to be. Between the 1969 eponymous debut and 1971 follow-up, Dinosaur Swamps, there's a lot of territory covered, often within the confines of a single track.

"Introduction, from The Flock, moves from a jazz-centric duet between Glickstein and Goodman, (foreshadowing the violinist's later Mahavishnu work), to its energized gypsy-tinged finale. "Clown is a propulsive piece of funk that's driven by the horns but dissolves into a more abstract middle section, filled with rich horns voicings supported by a repeated bass figure and gentle but persistent groove.

"Truth, also from the first album, begins as a straightforward blues piece, with a potent a capella solo from Goodman leading into the jungle rhythms and sharp horn lines of its middle section. These might seem like odd non-sequiturs until the group brings things back to the blues again for the powerful ending to this 15-minute tour-de-force. The group also reinvents The Kinks' "Tired of Waiting, with a virtuosic solo intro from Goodman that leads into the most straightforward pop tune on either disc.

The Flock is ultimately more successful than Dinosaur Swamps, an recording that suffered from the "concept album bug that bit too many groups at the time—ultimately too ambitious and self-indulgent for its own good. And if The Flock was eclectic, Dinosaur Swamps was positively schizophrenic, with tinges of bluegrass/country, psychedelic musings with electronic treatments, flat-out funk, higher octane blues/rock and hints of Zappa-esque absurdity.

However, the writing, arrangements and performances are at worst intriguingly flawed, at best viscerally punchy and while unequivocally dated, the music is fun in a guilty kind of way. Goodman may be the drawing card, but this reissue rescues from obscurity a group that may not have achieved the commercial success of its contemporaries, but over the course of two albums produced a far more diverse and interesting body of work.


Track Listing: CD1 (The Flock): Introduction; Clown; I Am The Tall Tree; Tired of Waiting; Store Bought - Store Thought; Truth. CD2 (Dinosaur Swamps): Green Slice; Big Bird; Hornschmeyer

Personnel: Fred Glickstein: guitar, lead vocals, banjo (CD2), organ (CD2); Jerry Goldsmith: violin, vocals; Jerry Smith: bass, vocals; Ron Karpman: drums; Rick Canoff: tenor saxophone, vocals; Tom Webb: tenor saxophone, flute, harmonica; Frank Posa: trumpet.

Title: The Flock / Dinosaur Swamps | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: BGO Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Celebrating William Parker at 65 CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Eternal Life CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Mask Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Mask Dance
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Submerged" CD/LP/Track Review Submerged
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Serenade for Horace" CD/LP/Track Review Serenade for Horace
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!