The happy-go-lucky almost Mardi Gras feel of "We'll Make Love," the second track on this 1972 solo disc from the man behind the North East's legendary Wildweeds and their phenomenal Boston-area hit "No Good to Cry" (unfortunately, not on this disc, but an acoustic version might be a perfect addition to a future re-release), carries that distinctive almost gravel voice of Al Andersen. Though he would later join N.R.B.Q., this earthy folk/blues/country platter was recorded between June and September of 1972 and is a wonderful snapshot of an underrated artist at that point in time. "Ain't No Woman Finer" hasJeff Potter's wailing harp that plays off of Andersen's vocal sustain and snappy guitar work. The colorful and uniquely distorted cover photo of Andersen is almost psychedelic country, but there's none of that here. His vocal on "You're Just Laughing Inside" is reminiscent of early Elton John, say the "Amoreena" or "Burn Down the Mission" period. Hank Williams' "Honky Tonkin'" is the shortest track, but one of the liveliest. "Don't Hold the Line" explodes toward the end, and it is one of the few tunes on here that gets really raucous. "I Just Want to Have You Back Again" is a simple two-and-a-half-minute tune -- if Jim Croce were more laid-back, he'd probably have sounded like this, melodically it reminds one almost of early Paul McCartney solo -- maybe the first McCartney meets Ringo on his Sentimental Journey. The closing title, "I Haven't Got the Strength to Carry On" with Tom Staley's drums and Al Lepak's bass, form a nice framework for Andersen's blues-driven guitar. Also released in "Quadrophonic" in the early '70s, it remains a sincere work by a veteran American artist. AMG.
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