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Marcus - 1976 Marcus

ARTIST: Marcus
ALBUM: Marcus
LABEL: United Artists
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 2000, Zoom Club (UK), ZCRCD44 * 2016, Rock Candy Records, CANDY314


LINEUP: Marcus Malone - vocals * Gene Bloch - guitars * Randall David - guitars * Jack Weber - guitars * Terry Jones, Tim Bogart - bass * Dandy Holmes - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Black Magic * 02 Salmon Ball * 03 Kelly * 04 Gypsy Fever * 05 Pillow Stars * 06 Highschool Ladies Streetcorner Babies * 07 Dream Wheel * 08 Rise Unto Falcon


An interesting outfit, if not for the sheer talent on display, and for the fact this album missed its intended audience much like Bill Gates appearing at a Linux Users Convention!! Marcus Malone, a black performer in the rock industry, was in the same category as Mothers Finest. Originally from Detroit, Marcus found a home in L.A, and went on to carve a niche for himself in the hard rock scene, rather than the perceived genres of disco, funk, and soul, a la Rick James. By the time his album came out, it was already being pigeon-holed in the R&B sections, but the fact that Marcus had three guitarists playing with him seemed not to make a difference to the general ignorant populace. The album cover probably didn't help much either, as it appeared to be a Rick James cast-off. The music however is a different kettle of fish. It has been described as one of the most obscure, yet incredible hard rock releases of 1976, and yet, only the hardened trainspotters have any idea as to its existence. Yesteryear rags such as Sounds and Kerrang (when it was worth reading.. lol) rated the Marcus album as an out and out 70's hard rock classic, and I ain't gonna complain when it's coming from highly paid scribes such as those guys.

The Songs
The album takes a dig at Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and the bluesy 70's raunch of Aerosmith. Having three guitarists onboard certainly adds weight to precedings, while the Prince like vocal delivery of Malone takes his version of hard rock in a different direction to most. You certainly can't complain when you hear wonders such as 'Pillow Stars', an absolute rebel rouser (already a guaranteed 5K klassik from the pens of Kerrang), the Queen or Touch like spiralling of 'Dream Wheel', or the 6 minute undulation of 'Salmon Ball'. The latter track is stylistically similar to the band Ozz, featuring black guitarist Greg Parker, who appeared a few years later on Epic Records with their great LP 'No Prisoners'. One of the tracks ('Black Magic') ended up on the Striktly For Konnoisseurs Double LP in 1984 by the Music For Nations label, though by this time, it was more of a memorial, as the band hadn't been together for many years. Life after this album proved lucrative for some of the band members. Gene Bloch went on to a career playing in Holly Knight's band Device under the name Gene Black, plus he was one half of the hi-tech duo Scarlett And Black. Dandy Holmes later became a member of Paul Sabu's band.

In Summary
Marcus himself is still out there, though now ploughing the blues circuit, both in Europe and in North America. I am sure he is highly amused by all the myth, mystique and dirth regarding that one-off album from 1976. To see what Marcus is up to now, check his website URL below. A must have album for all 70's hard rock fans. Good news, the album was released on CD in 2000 by Zoom Club Records, so should be relatively easy to track down now. Go to it.

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#1 | sabace on March 15 2006 14:08:52
#2 | sabace on March 03 2008 14:34:44
I had the the pleasure of communicating with Marcus and he was a real gent!
#3 | rkbluez on June 16 2012 03:22:47
Another great album that needs a top notch remastering and re release.
#4 | gdazegod on November 08 2015 06:55:24
Another contender for Rock Candy perhaps?
#5 | reyno-roxx on November 08 2015 10:33:18
Gene Black wasn't involved in Scarlett and Black, who were former Doctor and The Medics backing vocalists Robin Hild (who does look uncannily like Gene on the cover of their self titled album) and Sue West.
#6 | gdazegod on September 03 2016 06:47:12
Coming soon to Rock Candy Records, Sept 30, 2016. Thanks Dave.
#7 | dangerzone on September 29 2016 15:42:41
Great album, but 'Black Magic' is such a rip off of Sabbath's 'War Pigs' I'm surprised Ozzy and co didn't get a credit.
#8 | super80boy on March 05 2017 17:23:23
Love this album and I don't spin it as much as I should and it so deserves. I really dig the elements of Prog and Funk that work their way into the overall proceedings, like the keyboard wizardry found in opener 'Black Magic' and the progressive slanted 'Dream Wheel'. There's also well constructed quieter interludes and slow patches, check out album closer 'Rise Unto Falcon' and 'Kelly'. Having an experienced trio of talented guitar players on board makes the multi-layered guitar work all the better. 'Pillow Stars' and 'Salmon Ball' are scorchers.
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