Last month we ran an interview with George Napolitano and Joe Sirico of the 60's rock band Ox-Bow Incident, and a few weeks ago I received their CD in the mail, "Band from Brooklyn." It contains 6 cuts that were released back in the 60's and 4 demos, all digitally remastered. Although the styles are dated (this stuff was recorded over 40 years ago) the recordings and songs are great and take me back to the days when bands like The Vanilla Fudge and The Young Rascals were all over the radio.
Cut One: Harmonica Man
The opening is reminisant of The Rascals version of "Mickey's Monkey" . . . "A cat named Eddie." The Rascals' Eddie could dance . . . Ox-Bow's Eddie is the harmonica man. This is a Brooklyn-flavored version of a Jr. Walker and The All Stars' "Shotgun" kind of riff. It's blue-eyed blues that takes me back to The Action House on Long Island and all those funky little bars where the Hammond organ groups ruled in the late sixties. It's a funky, funky . . . take a pause for the cause . . . groove.
Cut Two: Reach Out
Here's the group's tribute to the Fudge who scored with the slowed-down version of "You Keep Me Hangin' On," so this Ox-Bow cut is obvious. It's the great, powerful, Four Tops tune, and the uniqueness here is the lead vocalist Billy Sheehan, who was 40 years ahead of his time. He has the Pantera-type, heavy metal vocal style that is so popular today. It's a great, passionate tune with that greasy organ style from the 60's. A rock/soul crusher!
Cut Three: She's Gone
Doesn't matter what decade it is the 60's or the 2000's every guy who ever lived can identify with the theme of the girl who is gone. This time it comes as a psychedelic- Fudge meets the Electric Prunes deal. Great bass line and power-passion riff from start to finish. It's haunting and heavy.
Cut Four: You Can't Make Love By Yourself
Shades of the late-60's band Rhinoceros, and another great break song. Bill Deal & The Rhondells . . . The Swingin' Medallions . . . vocal gang style of singing over a needling guitar and bass riff . . . funky instrumental break. This cut is an exciting and energized frat party tune that would have been a smash at The Animal House fraternity.
Cut Five: Love, Sweet Love
Total change of pace from the Rascals/Fudge-type band to a group who turns into the American Breed or one of those other Mid-Western 60's combos with a little Left Banke thrown in. It still follows tradition . . . The Rascals went from Good Lovin' to It's Wonderful . . . and like the lyric says, what a lovely way to go.
Cut Six: I'll Stumble And Fall
This must be a mistake. Someone must have mixed up the tapes. Somehow an outtake from The Turtles got on here. Seriously, this sounds just like Flo & Eddie's old band a real trip back in time. Terrific vocal and organ work.
Cut Seven: Willie Daydreamer
A Fats Domino piano style opening kicks off the tune which morphs into a Kinks-like blues riff. The lyrics are also in the style of Ray Davies, but once again it sounds like an old 60's album cut from The Turtles. The shuffle beat and honky tonk piano add to the fun. The synchronized hand clapping adds to the infectious hook.
Cut Eight: Get On My Train
Anybody remember Count V's garage classic, Psychotic Reaction? This cut starts off like that before it settles into a Blues Project/Butterfield Blues Band kind of groove. Don't know if Ox-Bow ever played the Café Au Go Go on Bleeker Street, but if they did I'm sure they played this one. This is early 60's Chicago blues. Excellent.
Cut Nine: I've Paid My Dues
Starts off with the opening riff from I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone, but George tells me Ox- Bow did it first. This is another great 60's band cut, a classic kind of tune that could have been a hit for The Monkees, Paul Revere & The Raiders or The McCoys . . . or even Ox-Bow.
Cut Ten: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
I'm told this is the first tune Ox-Bow ever recorded. Of course, it was an early hit for The Animals, so we can see where Ox-Bow's musical influences came from.
Overall, this is a groovy time capsule that captures the spirit and the sound of the 60's. It's sensational that 4 decades later it is preserved and still exists.
To hear some samples of the music go to myspace.com/oxbowincident