Raw ‘N Alive At The Cellar, Chicago – 1966
Sundazed Music, 1992
REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/15/2008
There were thousands of psychedelic bands during the mid-to-late 1960s. Their musicianship was primitive and the sound was raw. What these bands lacked in skill, however, they made up for in enthusiasm and energy, though 98 percent of these groups would disappear without recording a note.
Every once in awhile one of these psych bands would, intentionally or by accident, cross over into a pop sound and have a hit record. They would achieve sudden and fleeting fame and then quickly slip back into their original non-commercial sound, leaving their one brilliant shining moment behind.
The Shadows Of Knight would have been just another short-lived sixties band if not for the song “Gloria.” The Shadows Of Knight took this Van Morrison and Them song and polished it, adding a guitar rock beat and constructing one of the classic songs of the mid-sixties. Rock fans forty years later still recognize the Shadows Of Knight singing G L O R I A, Gloria.
Raw ‘N Alive At The Cellar,
The Shadows Of Knight, like many bar bands, turned to old rhythm and blues standards to fill out their sets. “I Got My Mojo Working” combines a turned-up, thumping bass, Joe Kelley’s whining lead guitar and Jim Sohns vocals, all played at a frenetic pace. If you can’t play a song well, play fast and play loud is the motto of the Shadows Of Knight here: the old Chuck Berry song “Let It Rock” is played fast, faster, fastest, and even the old warhorse “Hey Joe” is sped up until it is almost unrecognizable.
Still, when the Shadows Of Knight slow down, they are better off. “Oh Yeah” is a strong song with constant rhythm change and a screaming vocal. “Got To Get You Off My Mind” is actually fairly mellow and provides a good break from the rest of the set. The Wilson Picket song, Don’t Fight It,” is given a rock treatment that works.
The disc ends with a six minute version of “Gloria.” The length is probably a little to long but “Gloria” is just so much better than the rest of the set’s material that it shows very clearly how inspired they were this one time in their career.Raw ‘N Alive At The Cellar,