Poobah – Burning In The Rain ; An Anthology Review

Poobah's Legacy: A Retrospective Journey of Rock and Roll...

Heavy Rock/Proto Metal

Ripple Music

Release Date – June 7th 2024

 

Line Up:

Jim Gustafson – Guitar/Vocals

Plus any of the following..

Phil Jones – Bass

Glenn Wiseman – Drums

Steve Schwelling – Bass

Nick Glingor – Bass

Gene Procopio – Drums

Ken Smetzer – Keyboards

Pat O’Horo – Guitar

Mike Fortino – Drums

Kevin McIlvaine – Bass

Dan Tharp – Bass

 

Tracklist:

1 – Burning In The Rain

2 – C’mon Let It Go

3 – Maximum Pleasure

4 – My Name Is Mud

5 – Try It

6 – It Out

7 – Fear

8 – Underground

9 – Jump Through The Golden Ring

10 – 2 Faced Liar

11 – Keep On Rollin’

12 – You Give Me So Much Pleasure

13 – Mr Destroyer

14 – I Want Peace

15 – Thru These Eyes

16 – Dirty

17 – Destination Or Debris

 

Poobah? Never heard of them. Me neither, but they’ve had quite the career. Lead man Jim Gustafson started playing in bands at the tail end of the ’60s and knocked out a couple of singles as a teenager until he formed Poobah in 1972 with two school friends (Jones and Wiseman). They set about touring the USA extensively as support to the likes of Foghat, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, and Ted Nugent. The output has been somewhat sporadic, but their last release was in 2020.

In my experience, these compilations/anthologies usually start with the earliest tracks, but this one starts with the latest. A big, greasy wah-wah driven riff kicks off “Burning Rain” before they settle into a doomy/psych groove. Then the proto-metal of “C’mon Let It Go” drives along on Gustafson’s simple riff. “Maximum Pleasure” throbs along before the utterly fantastic “My Name Is Mud” brings some soupy blues ala ZZ Top. “Try It” is a huge slice of sludgy stoner blues, then “It Out” (?) brings the ‘wah-wah’ out again and continues the blues/stoner thing, reminding me of Frank Marino – a big riff, wonderful fills, and a rocking rhythm. Things get psychy again on “Fear”, which has some spidery riffage over a steady beat, then “Underground” stays in the psych lane before we’re back to the proto-metal on “Jump Through The Golden Ring”. Gustafson really does show his chops with this, coming from the same team as Hendrix or Cream. “2 Faced Liar” has a gentle start before some wild soloing, and they settle into another groovy rocker. “Keep On Rockin’” brings the Hammond, and we get a Deep Purple/Uriah Heep/Alice Cooper hybrid before the steady rock ‘n’ roll of “You Give Me Such Pleasure” eases back a bit. “Mr. Destroyer”, recently covered by the mighty Monster Magnet and you can see why. This ticks all the psych/stoner boxes even down to the reverb-drenched vocals. Then the simple chug of “I Want Peace” leads to Kiss-like “Dirty”. Final cut “Destination Or Debris” is slow and heavy and oozes along on some psych guitar lines from Gustafson.

I love discovering this sort of stuff. I don’t know if these tracks have been remixed or remastered, but they sound superb considering some were recorded between the early ’70s and late ’80s. Gustafson certainly knows his way around a fretboard and his riffs are the equal of any of those players from around the same time. His vocals can leave a bit to be desired at times, but for me, that just shows honesty and the refusal to use auto-tune. Keep it real, I say. If you like those big, thick sounding grooves from the ’70s – the feel of cheesecloth, the smell of ‘Old Spice’, and a Watneys Party Seven, then this needs to go with it.

 

Written by: Smudge

Ratings: 8/10

 

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