Mahogany Rush - Strange Universe

Mahogany Rush – Strange Universe

82 / 100

This album represents the third installment of Canadians Mahogany Rush, and their last for Kot’ai Records before joining giants Columbia.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Mahogany Rush
ALBUM: Strange Universe
LABEL: Kot’ai
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Frank Marino – vocals, guitars * Paul Harwood – bass * Jim Ayoub – drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tales Of The Spanish Warrior * 02 The King Who Stole (…The Universe) * 03 Satisfy Your Soul * 04 Land Of 1000 Nights * 05 Moonlight Lady * 06 Dancing Lady * 07 Once Again * 08 Tryin’ Anyway * 09 Dear Music * 10 Strange Universe

WEBLINK: Site Link


‘Strange Universe’ was the third installment from the Montreal based Mahogany Rush featuring legendary guitarist Frank Marino, who at this stage was still only in his early 20’s. The power trio predated the likes of their countrymen Rush and Triumph by a few years and proved that bands from the Great White North could match it with their American counterparts.

Signed to the small Canadian label Kot’ai didn’t help their public relations cause any but the band also had a distribution deal into the USA with 20th Century Records (started in 1974) which increased their exposure across North America by putting records into local U.S record stores, which in turn made them arena rock drawcards well into the 70’s decade and early 80’s.

The Songs

The material on ‘Strange Universe’ is the precursor to the harder and heavier direction that would follow in the years to come. Here, the trio were still forging their sound. It’s mostly a merger of psychedelic and progressive rock with ample helpings of fiery guitar rhythms and soloing but overall I wouldn’t call it outright heavy metal as such.

My highlights include the mystical ‘Tales Of The Spanish Warrior’ with a typical sunburst guitar solo. ‘Satisfy Your Soul’ is a big arena rock outing, Frank goes into overdrive on this one. There are a lot of guitar twists and turns on ‘Land Of 1000 Nights’ which ends up being one overblown jam. All good by me!

‘Moonlight Lady’ goes down the mournful ballad path, while another lady – this time ‘Dancing Lady’ lands at the door of mid 70’s funk. Neither are particularly convincing, however. For something different check out the very jazzy ‘Once Again’ demonstrating Frank’s command of the guitar.

‘Tryin’ Anyway’ returns to MR’s stock and trade, wailing guitar work amid the prog/psych backdrop. Then there’s the midsection change to jazz which is very cool. The closer ‘Strange Universe’ is just a sonic bombast through the middle section. The synths are on red alert making this sound like Hawkwind on steroids!

In Summary

After this release, MR joined the big time by signing with Columbia/CBS for their next seven albums (1976-1982) which included two solo releases from Frank during 1981-1982. We’ll ensure that we fill in any gaps in MR and Frank’s solo history as we continue to backfill.


Satisfy Your Soul

Mahogany Rush: "Satisfy Your Soul" 1975

Strange Universe
MahoganyRush - Strange Universe

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