Saturday, September 15, 2012

Reg King - Reg King (1971)



b. England. King pursued a brief and largely unsuccessful solo career in the early 70s after having earlier sung in the mid-60s R&B group the Action. He left that group prior to their evolution into Mighty Baby. However, several members of the Action/Mighty Baby contributed to his sole, self-titled album, released in 1971. This collection included ‘Little Boy’, which was originally intended to be the Action’s final a-side. Despite the presence of King’s winning vocals, among the best the UK R&B movement had ever offered, the album failed to sell and King disappeared from the music industry thereafter.


Ex-Action lead singer Reg King's early-'70s solo album was, like many endeavors of the day, stuffed with assistance from many friends famous and not-so-famous. Not only were there expected contributions from members of the Action and Mighty Baby, but also appearances by Mick Taylor, Steve Winwood, Doris Troy, Brian Auger, and less-known but talented fellows like several members of the Blossom Toes and ex-Animals drummer Barry Jenkins. And like many such deals, the sum ended up being far less than the parts. There was a morning-after-the-'60s hangover feel to the music, like a band trying to sound like Traffic but with the colors faded and the ideals intact, but the energy ebbing. King's white soul vocals are strong, but the recording doesn't do them full justice, submerging them more than they should be given that this was his solo showcase. The big problem, though, was that the songs just weren't there. This casual blues-rock-soul sounded more like riffs and lyrical ideas -- and not particularly interesting ones -- being jammed upon than they did completed ideas. Though there's a pleasant, somewhat stoned buzz to the material, with some vague "do your own thing" and "let's get it together" messages floating about, in the end it seems undercooked and is ultimately forgettable.

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