4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album was originally released in Canada in 1975 and then it was released two years later in the U.S. and elsewhere with a different cover and a different album title, " Max Webster/ Hangover ". I had the U.S. version on vinyl for years before finally buying this on CD, which has the original album title, " Max Webster " and the the original cover. My LP version had a lyric sheet, while the CD does not....at least the version I BOUGHT doesn't have it.
ANYHOW.....in either format, I still think this is the best album that Max Webster had ever done. It may not be their most mature album from a musical or lyrical standpoint, but it IS their most hard rocking. Of the nine tracks here, I don't think there is even one dud....I like or love all of these songs! The album gets off to a whiz banger of a start with '" Hangover ", which begins with Kim Mitchell making some intentionally headache inducing noises on his electric guitar, after which the drums come in and Kim lays into a mighty catchy guitar riff (which I taught myself how to play). A terrific song with many good things going for it, particularly Pye Dubois' lyrics, which do an unusual, but accurate job in describing a typical hangover, especially the lines " cold morning and the drums, blue eyes and the window sun ", " double vision when the bars close down " and " I can't feel you but I know you're around, I can feel you cuz I feel the sound ". This wonderful song is followed by another good hard rocker , " Here Among The Cats", on which Mitchell gets in some mighty fast lead guitar work.
Terry Watkinson's sole writing contribution, " Blowing The Blues Away ", is a laid back and catchy hard rock number which contains, like many other songs here, a very singalongable refrain. It also showed that Watkinson was a very capable lyric writer himself. " Summer Turning Blue " is the most mellow song here...very pretty and melodic, with a surprisingly sensitive vocal from Mitchell. This is followed by....
......" Toronto Tontos ", which is my favorite Max Webster song of all time and one of the funniest tunes I have ever heard. I love everything about this song, from the silly voices that sing the opening line " Bonjour aux amis des malheur, nous sommes fous " (which translates into something like ' Good day my friends of misfortune, we are foolish '....or at least that's what my high school French teacher thought it said), to the mock dangerous guitar riff, to the drumming, to Watkinson's organ playing, to Mitchell's bass/baritone vocal, to the silly tin whistle and percussion that comes before the verses, to the delivery of the lines " I got no fire on me...no cigarettes, no matches ", etc.... I do not know WHAT this song is about and I don't think I want to know. What I DO know is that Max Webster never did anything remotely like it again..and that's a shame.
The second half is mighty good as well (though not as strong as the first half ) and starts off with two very satisfying hard rockers in a row, " Coming Off The Moon " and " Only Your Nose Knows ". Both of them feature outstanding playing from all four band members, though once again, Mitchell's lead guitar playing particularly shines on " Only Your Nose Knows ". I think I may have heard that tune on the radio a few times.
" Summers Up " is an odd little piece. It's a bit mellow, with some cocktail jazz like piano playing from Watkinson. Mitchell hits some very LOW, LOW notes during one part. A weird, but enjoyable song. The album ends on an unexpected serious note with the seven and a half minute progressive rock number " Lily ". The musical star of this one is Watkinson. Several different musical sections,some complicated time signatures, not a very heavy song. Though it may be my least favorite tune here, it does get better after a few listens.
Some very good albums would come afterwards, but overall, I would have to say this album is the best one Max Webster did. Terry Brown helped produce it and the album really sounds great, especially when played VERY LOUD! I really think you should buy this album...really!