Oddly referred to a jazz rock or fusion band, Forest Green’s full-range sound was really much more than that, fusing a smokin’ blend of pop and prog rock.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Forest Green
ALBUM: Forest Green
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Ray Barrett – vocals, organ, electric piano, clavinet, recorder * Arthur Cohen – piano * Donald Hettinger – flute, sax, electric bassoon, percussion * Tim Jordan – vocals, electric & acoustic guitars * Robert Mast – flute, sax * Lon Polland – drums, bongos * Syd Silverstein – vocals, bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 Never Found A Way * 02 I’ve Been This Way Before * 03 What It’s About * 04 Black Shepard * 05 Beggar Man * 06 Scream Fear * 07 The Ballad Of Widow Jenkins And Rita * 08 Movin’ To The Country * 09 Boundless Sky * 10 Mountain
This charming record comes to us from the city of brotherly love, better known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As it turns out this was Forest Green’s only album but it features a couple notable names. Keyboardist Ray Barrett appeared in an early version of Fortune while guitarist Tim Jordan can be found handling six-string duties on The Ladder‘s 1986 classic AOR album.
Forest Green toured up and down the East Coast while picking up opening act slots with Hall & Oates, Todd Rundgren, Bruce Springsteen and a huge show with Roy Buchanan and NRBQ in New York’s Central Park.
Oddly referred to as a jazz rock or fusion band, Forest Green’s full-range sound was really much more than that. In fact I would place them more in line with Lee Michaels, Sugarloaf and the first Shadowfax album in a smokin’ blend of pop and progressive rock moves.
‘Never Found A Way’ is a rock solid opener with cool organ and scatter-shot flute with a medieval undercurrent while ‘I’ve Been This Way Before’ has a softer touch but no-less dramatic.
A warm vibe permeates the album with lots of woodwind and splashy, but well-placed jazzy brass. ‘What It’s All About’ has single written all over it while the instrumental ‘Black Shepard’ has a soft Celtic, swashed in flute sound similar to Gentle Giant at their least complex.
The busy ‘The Ballad Of Widow Jenkins And Rita’ includes a swipe from Alfred Hitchcock’s theme song and is too cute for its own good although the spacious gradually building ‘Boundless Sky’ and the albums most aggressive and bluesy track ‘Mountain’ leaves a clean after taste as one of the more enjoyable albums of the period.
It would be really nice to have this on CD at some point, and I’d give anything to have seen Forest Green live back in the day, but the LP will have to do and bonus – it’s still easy to find.
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