The Growl sound is very much in the gritty, down and dirty boogie of ZZ Top hobbled together with Humble Pie’s riff-heavy blues.
Written by: Eric
LABEL: Discreet Records
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Dennis Rodriguez – lead vocals * Harry Brender – guitars, vocals * Mick Small – guitars * Geno Lucero – bass * Danny McBride – drums * Richard Manuputi – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Shake Your Money Maker * 02 Young And Crazy * 03 I Wonder * 04 Working Man * 05 Sadie * 06 Hound Dog * 07 Take My Life * 08 Things Ain’t Better * 09 Who’s This Man * 10 I Just Want To Make Love To You
Fans of late ’60s hard rock are probably familiar with Utopia, a west coast group that released one highly revered album that’s often compared to Blue Cheer.
Haven’t heard the LP myself, but it’s reputed to be from those in the know as one of the better albums of this style. I’ll take their word for it. Fast forward five or six years and it seems Utopia were a going concern, this time working under the unbelievably ridiculous moniker – Growl.
If that were not enough, it appears bad taste and poor choices were in plentiful supply at the record label that in a moment of unfettered inspiration Ok’d an album cover with the band member’s heads served on a silver plate dripping in blood.. Anyone thinking ‘Spinal Tap’? Me too, and yet surprisingly Growl lasted for just one album. Go figure.
Split between tunes that originally appeared on the Utopia album and early rock covers, the Growl sound is very much in the gritty, down and dirty boogie of ZZ Top hobbled together with Humble Pie riff-heavy blues.
The vocals of Dennis Rodriguez, who looks like a young Freddie Mercury on the back cover, are rough and tumble of the bar room and chicken wire variety while the playing is loose and lazy almost as if it was recorded after a whiskey soaked all-nighter with everyone half in the bag.
Their cover of ‘Hound Dog’ is driven down to a slow crawl and I’ll take Foghat‘s live version of ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’ over Growl’s uninspired take anytime day or night while the originals howl by with little or no staying power and are little more than boogie work-outs in need of a producer.
Growl rests near the top of my ‘worst record ever’ category although apparently the LP has a following among collectors of early ’70s heavy sounds. I found my copy for $3.25 a few months ago at a local shop and if anyone’s interested, I’ll mail it out free of charge just to get it out of my house.
Entire Album (Non Select Tracks)