Jul 14, 2011
Poobah - Let Me In Reissue ...
These underground, obscure hard-rock and proto-metal bands of the 1970's didn't really come to my attention till the mid 80's when a local record store called Andromeda started stocking all these obscure names in their hard rock/metal section. For the next 10 years, I went nuts, searching for and collecting the most obscure albums I could lay my hands on. Sir Lord Baltimore, Captain Beyond, Armageddon, Wicked Lady, Leafhound and the now famous Pentagram were a few of the bands I discovered.
Another one was Poobah and I have been in love with them ever since. Poobah released this six-song album titled 'Let Me In' in 1972 and it quickly disappeared into obscurity despite being an exceptionally good album. In the years to follow it became impossibly rare with original vinyl copies changing hands for upwards of $600 ( I bought my old piece of vinyl for a measly $5 and it still has the piece-sticker on it to prove it). But now the album has been reissued and it deserves all the attention it is getting, better late than never I guess.
What you get now is the original 6 track album and an incredible 12 bonus tracks all lovingly remastered by Tony Reed from Stone Axe. Analyzing this album and comparing it to the more famous of the hairy hard rock of the early 70's is interesting because they share many similar traits with other of the lesser known bands of the day. For example; like Leafhound their music was rooted in the blues much more so than a Sabbath or Purple and they were also rawer with less polish, especially in the production but of course, they didn't have access to the money that Sabbath, Zeppelin and other big names had. The production was also really the only thing holding them back from sounding as 'heavy' as many other bands which is also the same story as many of the other obscure 70's hard-rock acts. The other element they had in common is they were ahead of their time, decades before the 'stoner-rock' tag was born, bands like Poobah were already doing it.
The album kicks off with 'Mr Destroyer' which for 1972 would have been like a bomb dropping into your living room. The track is real heavy for the time period and while it does sound dated compared with Black Sabbath it still can kick your ass these almost 40 years later. Poobah had a couple of exceptional musicians within their ranks, namely Jim Gustafson who had a giant, thick guitar sound for its day and Glenn Wiseman who was a maniac drummer in the mold of a Keith Moon. 'Mr Destroyer' rocks with the power of more punkish sabbath and the psychedelics of a Hawkwind and it still stands the test of time. The following 'Enjoy What You Have' takes the album off in a completely different stylistic direction as it is based around a spacey repeated guitar line that is much more mellow and psychedelic. 'Live to Work' takes the album back in a acid-drenced stoner rock direction before there ever was a stoner-rock direction with thick and fuzzy guitar and crazy drumming. One thing about this tune is I think Ted Nugent may have ripped off the guitar-solo, listen to it and see if you agree.
On 'Bowleen' the band deliver a track which could be Uriah Heep jamming with Pink Floyd. It has a mesmerizing hypnotic vibe which is pretty typical of the day but it still stands out as a great track. The shrieking vocals are very Heep-ish and the Eastern influenced guitar is truly unique for 1972. Rock ‘N’ Roll' is a track that is very stock-standard material for the time-period I must say. It is not a bad track but easily the weakest track from the original album. The original album ends with boogie in the form of the title track. Gustafson takes centre stage again with killer axe work while bassist Phil Jones works overtime providing the albums most memorable bass-lines. Obviously a 70's album wouldn't be complete without a drum solo and you get that too, Moby Dick or Rat Salad it's not but it still showcases Wiseman's very underrated drumming ability.
The bonus tracks you are treated to are alternative versions of 'Bowleen' and 'Mr Destroyer' and various studio and rehearsal outtakes such as the blues jam of 'Blooey Gooey' to the psychedelic metal of 'Make a Man Outta You.' 'Upside Down Highway' is 7 minutes or so of wild bass lines and guitar heroics while 'Walk of the Bug' is proto-metal in the vein of Blue Cheer. 'Going To Rock City' is pure boogie-rock and 'Smoke' is the kind of psychedelic blues that even Jimi Hendrix would have been proud of owning. 'Passion For Freedom' is more proto-metal that strangely sounds a little like 'Grand Funk Railroad' so all these extra tracks really make this album a worthwhile purchase and to be honest, I enjoy these bonus tracks more than the original album.
Ripple Music needs to be congratulated for this reissue on many levels from the great production of Tony Reed that has given the tunes a new lease of life without sacrificing the original vibe of the album and the packaging and the general layout is top-notch. It also comes with a booklet that includes lyrics to all the songs, plus black-and-white photos of the band in their hey-day. A must have for 70's aficionados but also for anyone that digs and respects classic hard rock.......9/10
Buy it @ Ripple Music or in the Doommantia Webstore