Even four albums in with ‘Mahogany Rush IV’, we can see Frank Marino’s style developing, infusing everything from fellow Canadian Pat Travers and British blues legend Robin Trower.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Mahogany Rush
ALBUM: Mahogany Rush IV
SERIAL: PC 34190
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada
LINEUP: Frank Marino – guitars, keyboards, vocals * Paul Harwood – acoustic & electric bass * Jimmy Ayoub – drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 I’m Going Away * 02 Man At The Back Door * 03 The Answer * 04 Jive Baby * 05 It’s Begun To Rain * 06 Dragonfly * 07 Little Sexy Annie * 08 Moonwalk * 09 IV (The Emperor)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
As part of my deep-tracing exercise of long lost and forgotten albums, my search has led me to the handful of albums from Frank Marino and his band Mahogany Rush. A fan favourite of the live arena circuit during the mid-late 70’s, Marino’s Hendrix like playing was a massive drawcard, and Mahogany Rush’s long association with CBS Records continued well into the 80’s.
Even four albums in with ‘Mahogany Rush IV’, we can see the style developing, infusing everything from fellow Canadian Pat Travers and British blues legend Robin Trower. I actually owned this LP way back in 1980 or thereabouts, but tossed it out because I unfairly compared it to Marino’s then recent LP ‘What’s Next’ which is one of my favourite albums of all time.
Unfair comparison I know (shame), so I’m doing Frank a favour and going back and reliving some of his older albums.. whether good or bad. I don’t care, so long as we get them published on this website.
‘I’m Going Away’ is a typical Mahogany Rush scene-setter, groovy heavy rock with some mild verses allowing for Marino to let loose at solo time. He really is good at that guitar solo thing. Did you know? lol! Gotta love the phat bass-slapping on ‘Man At The Back Door’. Overall though, the track has an aural inference to ‘Roadhouse Blues’, a track that Marino covered a few years later on 1980’s ‘What’s Next’.
‘The Answer’ glides along at a faster than usual clip; but all the Mahogany Rush trademarks are here, including Frank’s vocal shout-outs, and inspirational axe work. The trio keep this song at the upward end of intensity, it really is good. ‘Jive Baby’ slinks and slides it’s way around the studio floor. I’m sure Frank and the boys can’t decide what this song wants to be.. part funk, part disco (no!!), or all out jazz/prog fusion a la Medusa. Even the guitar solos are somewhere left of what is typical of Frank usual fare, very compressed in sound.
‘It’s Begun To Rain’ is a tune I’ve begun to appreciate over time; like a very smooth piece that would do the late Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy proud. Nice track. ‘Dragonfly’ is one of MR’s best remembered songs, and has a huge funky vibe going on. In fact, it takes on a Pat Travers presence in places.
‘Little Sexy Annie’ is a short three and half minute blitz, which sees the trio give merry hell. Ayoub tipping his drum-kit upside down to keep the metronome ahead of his guitar-hero leader. Check it out! Marino himself is flying all over the show with six-string madness the name of the game. ‘Moonwalk’ is a bit off-beat, unusual flavourings with a hint of funk and exotic middle-east patterns. I was going to say ‘slightly lunar’ but that would be taking it a bit too far huh?
‘IV (The Emperor)’ has a songtitle befitting the soundtrack of a movie, but no, it’s not the case. The overall sound is quite ethereal and mystic, it’s mostly instrumental too btw, and doesn’t allow Frank to let loose with an orgy of six-string madness. Instead, Frank tends toward creating soundscapes with acoustic guitar and lets in some orchestration to add to the mystical element surrounding this 7 minute track.
Alongside Rush, Pat Travers Band (pre Pat Thrall), Robin Trower, Truth And Janey, Mahogany Rush were one of the pre-eminent power trios of the 70’s bar none, and I’ll admit to finding and appreciating some of their earlier works. As I have all of Marino’s significant works, expect to see some more articles in the coming months.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)
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