Friday, October 30, 2009

Shadows of Knight: Garageband Pioneers

Originally posted on January 11, 2008

There were prototypical garage bands in the sixties that, through their popularity, legitimized the raw sound of cranked (with tube distortion, of course) relatively low-watt guitar amps, raucous vocals and loud drumming. There were for example the Seeds, the Velvets, Stooges, Castaways, and Chicagoland’s the Shadows of Knight.

The latter band hit the big time by doing a cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria” in 1966. Their first album was a classic in the genre, covering blues standards and semi-psychedelic originals with equal distinction.

Unfortunately the small local label Dunwich, to which they signed, came and went. Other labels took them on, not always fortuitously. The two (?) albums that followed did not quite capture that raw power, although there were cuts that came close. The CD at hand is from a date they did toward the end of their initial existence. It is The Shadows of Knight Live in Rockford, Il. 1972 (Performance CD). Although it only runs thirty-some-odd minutes, it gives you an idea of the band’s continued generation of excitement, albeit in an evolved form that brought them closer to the sounds of Cream and Blue Cheer. It is a nice little set. Check it out if you are so inclined.

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