So, I’m digging deep here in my collection of “Gray Beard Metal.” Poobah was once a great band playing opening gigs for those larger bands in the 1970’s. But, in the decades since then, this very important band fell to the wayside. They were funky, bluesy, progressive, psychedelic and ahead of their time. “U.S. Rock” was released in 1976. The band consisted of Ken Smetzer on vocals and keyboard, guitarist Jim Gustafson, drummer Gene Procoio and Phil Jones on bass.
Musically, Poobah followed in the same path of bands like ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Their sound was more of a mixing pot where they threw in every influence and style and what emerged was Poobah. Song structures are sometimes weird, wild and out there. The tempo is very upbeat and the songs themselves are a bit complex and psychedelic. The sound can be heavy, bluesy and jazzy. There’s lots of beefy melodies and plenty of harmony.
The musicianship and instrumentation are top notch. This record here is so full of guitar. Jim Gustafson is probably one of the best guitarists that you never heard of. He produces lots of ass kicking riffs and some kick ass leads. His sound has some what of a gritty and heavy sound to it. His guitar just wails on this record. There’s not a bad song on here with regards to Jim’s style on the guitar.
Gene Procoio’s style on the drums is really good. He throws out a lot of good tempos and good beats. “Out of You” is a fantastic song with plenty of Gene’s drumming. Then you have Phil Jones who bass guitar work is pretty decent, but the guitar can sometimes drown his sound out. The only song on here I do not like is the ballad “Right Out Of The Night.” The music was slow and made me want to fast forward to the end of the record.
Vocally, you have three lead vocalists on this record. Ken Smetzer, Jim Gustafson and Phil Jones. The verses of the songs are really good with the guys singing individually. The chorus however, is very very beefy with lot’s of vocal work. You go from a high pitched style singing to a whiskey drenched style vocalist. In between the two styles there is a happy medium. I did not like the vocal style on “Right Out Of The Night.” It just didn’t sound right to me. Everything else, is pure rock fury and guitar slinging action.
1. Flesh Fantasies
2. Pulling Me Down
3. Watch Me
4. Coast to Coast
5. Let’s Rock
6. Thru These Eyes
8. Keep on Rollin’
9. Right Out of the Night
10. Out of You