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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Crack The Sky - 1978 Safety In Numbers
Crack The Sky - 1978 Safety In Numbers

ARTIST: Crack The Sky
ALBUM: Safety In Numbers
LABEL: Lifesong
SERIAL: JZ 35041
YEAR: 1978


LINEUP: John Palumbo - lead vocals * Gary Lee Chappell - lead & background vocals, acoustic guitar * Joey D'Amico - drums, lead & background vocals * Rick Witkowski - electric & acoustic guitars, mellotron, vocals * Jim Griffiths - electric & acoustic guitars, vocals * Rob Steven- piano, mini-moog, oberheim synthesizer * Joe Macre - electric & synthesized basses, moog pedals, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Nuclear Apathy * 02 Long Nights * 03 Flashlight * 04 Prelude To Safety In Numbers * 05 Lighten Up McGraw * 06 Give Myself To You * 07 A Night On The Town (With Snow White) * 08 Safety In Numbers


Weirton is a small city in the tip of West Virginia's northern panhandle sandwiched between Ohio to the west and Pennsylvania to the east. Coal mining country and not really the kind of area you would expect one of America's better progressive rock bands to spring from but that's where Crack The Sky called home and just one of many reasons I find the band's early work fascinating. Commercial success eluded the band and perhaps they were just a little too quirky for the masses to comprehend although it wasn't for a lack of trying. Tours with Supertramp, ELO, Yes, Rush, Be Bop Deluxe, Boston and even Frank Zappa didn't help much outside a small cult following although they retained pockets of popularity in Pittsburgh of course, Milwaukee, New Orleans and in particular Baltimore, Maryland where they had become full fledged headliner's and still receive airplay.

The Songs
'Safety in Numbers' was the group's third album and a transitional release. Group leader and driving force John Palumbo left the group during the recording citing the ever popular 'musical differences' and record label apathy, although three of his songs appear on the record, two with his lead vocals intact. His replacement Gary Lee Chappell, a former disc jockey does an admirable job on vocals and the material is superb, especially side one where Palumbo's songs dominate. 'Nuclear Apathy' opens the record as a prog rock tour de force. A fantastic bend of Barclay James Harvest and 'A Farewell To Kings' period Rush, the song is a clear message on the dangers of the world in the 1970's, but just as relevant in the 21st century. 'Flashlight', a sci-fi love song comes close to Starcastle both in the vocals and guitar parts with a powerful hi-tech feel. The quality on side two dips a little bit, but there's still some good stuff here including 'A Night On The Town (With Snow White') which is certainly the bands answer to Queen with 'bicycle built for two by the seaside' lyrics and a screeching Brian May influenced solo, but it's the title track 'Safety In Numbers' that knocks me out as another Crack The Sky progressive classic with soaring mellotron and a catchy chorus which is not something you expect from progressive rock, but it's just what made this band so special.

In Summary
Paired with the groups previous album 'Animal Notes' on CD, 'Safety In Numbers' is a no-brainer for fans of melodic progressive rock, although I will suggest avoiding their later material since It just doesn't have the same magic and sparkle as the initial albums, even after the return of Palumbo in 1980.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 14 2010 14:18:12
Expect to see a few more Crack The Sky reviews. this band have released a ton of albums in their time. Ditto for Barclay James Harvest and Wishbone Ash. I keep saying I'll get around to it.. lol! frustration
#2 | reyno-roxx on November 14 2010 15:17:49
Michael Kelly Smith of Britny Fox is a huge Crack The Sky fan. When I went to Philadelphia to interview Britny for the cover story 'Kerrang!' did on them in 88 a line-up of Crack The Sky was playing the night I flew in, but I was too jet lagged to attend (besides the weather being absolutely atrocious - blizzards).
#3 | reyno-roxx on January 29 2017 18:43:57
Anyone have a DL Link for this and especially the first two albums please? I can't believe how ridiculously expensive they are on CD these days. Especially the debut. To add to the story above, MKS kindly grabbed me a Crack The Sky shirt with that great logo on it from the gig. Still wear it to this day.
#4 | gdazegod on January 29 2017 22:42:29
Reyno, I'll sort something out in the next 24 hours. I have most of their catalogue, but I am just upgrading some of my older fileshares, because some of the newer reissues contain bonus tracks.
#5 | gdazegod on January 30 2017 08:10:41
Reyno, refer the Members DL area.
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