STREAM/PURCHASE – https://ridingeasy.ffm.to/southernsteel.OYD
1. San Francisco Man
2. 24 Hours A Day
3. Me And You
4. Where’s The Country Gone
5. One Up For Listening
6. There’s Just You
7. Days End
8. The Feeling
9. Don’t Deny It
SOUTHERN STEEL “Get On Through” out of Miami, Florida in 1974 firmly resides in the upper realms of rare early ’70s southern rock LPs and the brilliant guitar interplay, vibrant vocals and finely crafted songs will seriously grab late ’60s westcoast rock ears as well. It’s really accessible stuff, heartfelt country inflected vocals with appealing vivid guitar textures and rhythms that fly. Echoes of Buffalo Springfield, Flying Burrito Brothers, Byrds, more on the rock than the country side but genuine about both. It’s southern but it’s also eastcoast-westcoast. In fact the opening track titled “San Francisco Man” is loaded with searing guitar licks and propulsive rhythmic action hitting pleasure points similar to the first Moby Grape LP. “Get On Through” contains thoughtful song oriented outdoors rock with little in the way of “south’s gonna rise again” attitude, bluesy grit, bad women, whiskey, or hard livin’ roadhouse action. These guys genuinely sound turned on to life, everyday regular dude seeker post ’60s style and it is contagious. You can really feel it when the sweet southern fried dual guitar leads cascade out at just the right moment.
Southern Steel’s primary songwriter, vocalist, electric 12 string, and bassist was Jim Goodman. The other members all did time in previous local bands with names like Heat Machine, Willy Bogg, The Force, and Dakota. Spike Warner on lead / slide guitar and vocals , Ed Ocean Olszewski on lead guitar, bass and vocals, and Greg Orsini on percussion all play tight together with an assured energetic vibe that only comes from experience. Recorded quickly in two days at Criteria Studios with producer Craig Leon ((produced the Ramones and Blondie’s first records) at the helm, this LP exists because two rich Floridian lawyers Bill Blanton and Bill Barragan saw Don Kirshner’s In Concert rock series on TV, decided to get into the music biz, formed a label named Earth Records, put an ad in the paper and found Southern Steel, ready to rake in massive rock and roll dollars. That didn’t happen but fortunately nearly 50 years later we do have this uplifting slice of life. Hard to imagine a band this pure and sincere could exist nowadays with no taint of irony and no corny posing. Real people. In other words… this is a vintage blast of humanity with mesmerizing guitar magic you can really fly high with. Every track has hooks and staying power, the sort of album that feels fresher each time you spin it but somehow also seemed familiar the first time you heard it.
After this LP was issued the band got serious interest from major labels, they certainly had the terrific songs and sonic mojo needed to go up the charts… but it all fizzled out over the next year. If you are into early ’70s southern rock with country flavor and leftover ’60s westcoast flashes, more turned on than traditional in approach you should give this album a chance get stuck in your mind.
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