суббота, 30 ноября 2013 г.

Ratchell - Ratchell (1971) 

Artist: Ratchell
Album: Ratchell
Label: MCA/Decca
Catalog#: MAPS 5725, DL-75330
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Canada
Released: 1971
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock, Classic Rock
Duration: 00:37:43

Ratchell was an American rock band formed by former Steppenwolf guitarist Larry Byrom. Also in the band were bassist Howard Messer, guitarist Pat Couchois, and drummer Chris Couchois, who had previously performed with Byrom in T.I.M.E. The band released two albums for Decca Records: Ratchell in 1971 and Ratchell II in 1972. After the band's dissolution, Messer and the Couchois brothers went on to release an album on Warner Bros. Records in 1979 under the "Couchois" banner, while Byrom went on to work as a songwriter and session musician..

From that hotbed of rock n' roll Huntsville, Alabama let me introduce you to Ratchell. Never heard of them eh? Oh, I think you have. Any self respecting AOR fan that owns the two Couchois albums will recognize three names in this group's line-up. That's right; Chris and Pat Couchois and Howard Messer released two albums as Ratchell which was founded by former Steppenwolf and Huntsville native guitarist Larry Byrom. What happened between the last album 'Ratchell II' and the first Couchois record is a mystery, but both Ratchell albums in particular, the self-titled debut are worth checking out for fans of early 70's pop.
I am not going to start off by telling you this is the most original album I've ever heard because it's not, but it is very good. A product of its time, I hear bits and pieces of Three Dog Night, Bread, Blues Image, Grand Funk Railroad, Sugarloaf and more, but Ratchell put these obvious influences together in such a way that it's hard not to like the LP. Highlights include the opener 'Problems' and 'Julie My Woman' with their hard-to-miss Santana vibes and the Eric Clapton styled ballad 'And If I Will'. Special mention for drummer Chris Couchois whose percussion work here is very impressive throughout the record. The Mersey influenced 'My My' and the classical instrumental 'Saycus' which segues nicely into the Badfinger-ish 'Peace Of Mind' are the best of side two's offerings, but the album as a whole is a wonderful package worthy of any serious pop collection.
I'm not sure what happened to the Couchois brothers or Howard Messer, but Larry Byrom went on to a successful career as a Nashville session man. Like Couchois, I would be surprised if the Ratchell albums ever see the light of day on compact disc, but as we all know, there is always a chance...

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  Side One:
A1. Problems 03:38
A2. Lazy Lady 02:59
A3. Here On My Face 03:52
A4. And If I Will 03:29
A5. Julie My Woman 02:19
A6. Warm And Tender Love 02:48
  Side Two:
B1. Home 02:48
B2. My My 02:10
B3. Out Of Hand 03:47
B4. How Many Times 03:34
B5. Saycus 02:28
B6. Peace Of Mind 04:25

    Copyright © MCA Records, Inc.
    Manufactured By – MCA Records Canada
    Distributed By – MCA Records Canada
    Photography – Ed Caraeff
    Producer, Engineer – Larry Cox
    Producer, Written-By – Ratchell
    Design – Wayne Kimbell

Bass, Piano, Trumpet, Vocals – Howard Messer
Drums, Vocals, Congas, Percussion – Chris Couchois
Guitar, Piano, Organ, Trumpet, Mandolin, Vocals – Larry Byrom
Guitar, Piano, Organ, Vocals – Pat Couchois

-----  ☆☆☆ ----- 


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