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Paris - 1976 Paris

ALBUM: Paris
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-11464
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 2001, Zoom Club (UK), ZCRCD56 * 2012, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY152


LINEUP: Bob Welch - guitar, vocals * Glenn Cornick - bass, keyboards * Thom Mooney - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Black Book * 02 Religion * 03 Starcage * 04 Beautiful Youth * 05 Nazarene * 06 Narrow Gate (La Porte Etroite) * 07 Solitaire * 08 Breathless * 09 Rock Of Ages * 10 Red Rain


Here we step into the realms of an album being overrated to the point of overblown. While 'Paris' isn't a bad album by any means it is far from the classic it is purported to be and descriptions of the band as one 'of the most devastating power trios ever' are somewhat laughable. Paris were formed by ex Fleetwood Mac member Welch and Cornick, who had played with Jethro Tull and Wild Turkey. Welch had aspirations of moving in a hard rock direction and with his profile as a former Fleetwood Mac mainstay he had no trouble obtaining a major label deal for his new band, this album being released in January 1976. More than thirty years later I'm not sure the album has aged well, and to be brutally honest, compared to the likes of The Who this is remarkably tame. In that regard it probably isn't the bands fault this fails to live up to expectation, more so the rock journalists who blew it up to heights it could never reach.

The Songs
This is far from a bad outing however, and 'Religion' is a powerful Led Zeppelin influenced start, with the same Jimmy Page stop-start riffing of 'Back Dog', with Paris adding their own take successfully to the stale classic. Welch was heavily into religion which explains some mysterious and esoteric lyrics along the way, but it doesn't get in the way of basic seventies hard rock like 'Black Book' or the heavily keyboard flavoured 'Starcage' and its myriad use of assorted beeps and bizarre space noises. 'Nazarene' sounds like something Rush attempted in their early years and 'Narrow Gate (La Porte Etroit)' uses some drifting and haunting atmospherics, gaining heaviness along the way and losing effect as it does. Tracks like 'Solitaire' lack variety and simply plod and it's impossible to escape further Led Zeppelin comparisons for 'Rock Of Ages' which unlike 'Religion' comes off as a clone. 'Red Rain' isn't dissimilar, and for me there isn't enough escapism in the music as some of their peers from that era, just a bludgeoning riff without any rhythm section explosions adding to the guitar work.

In Summary
For seventies rock enthusiasts this is a must own and is probably owned by many who either were present at the time or heard of its reputation as I did years later. My main problem with the legend afforded 'Paris' is that other acts had done it so more powerfully and with more innovation years before. The Who without Roger Daltrey were a power trio and the noise they made is something Paris could never match, even in a studio setting. For the mid seventies there is some worth in what Paris were trying to do, but the overwhelming notion that they were second tier is the inescapable truth. Paris released one more album, 'Big Towne 2061' which was released eight months later in August 1976, and then they folded, with Welch releasing several solo albums in the coming years. I recommend 'Paris', but expect to be letdown.

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#1 | vinyldinosaurus on February 01 2008 21:14:59
I have this album (and Big Towne 2061 - which is very different but still good) and was not let down at all. Except for mabye one song ('Starcage'), this album kicks ass!
#2 | rostoned on June 01 2008 14:02:35
Reissued on CD in Japan by EMI in the early 90s and later in the UK by Zoom Club, not sure if easy or hard to find in this form these daze! Very good, solid hardrock, frankly quite derivative in a lot of places (but more adventurous and peculiar in a few others). Not an all-time classic but a very enjoyable obscurity.
#3 | reyno-roxx on June 01 2008 20:45:54
Still available on CD through Amazon's marketplace at relatively cheap prices. As is the second album.
#4 | rostoned on June 01 2008 22:16:20
yeah but...just 1 copy left of each there at reasonable prices, as we speak! So hurry up CD freaks and move yer bloody, dirty and hairy claws on the keyboard if ya wanna grab those (I can safely live w/vinyl copy of the second and have CDs of s/t)
#5 | tompa on January 01 2010 14:32:32
Like this a lot, mostly because of the fantastic start of the album. First three songs, yes even the synthesizer-flavoured 'Starcage', puts you in the right mood.
#6 | MUSCLE on August 01 2011 23:15:13
all praise to bob welch for conjuring up this absolute classic scuzzed out freak rock album. one of the unsung rock heroes of the 70's. worthy
#7 | rkbluez on August 05 2011 02:25:25
Love this album...this is all the things that make 70's hard rock my favorite type of music bare none...quite derivative...I don't think so and what about Bob's unique voice...there really isn't anybody that sounds like him an in my opinion the Paris album is a bonafide classic...the second album is different but still very fact I learned to like it more now then when it came out.Thumbs Up
#8 | super80boy on April 14 2013 01:33:57
Definitely can hear the Led Zeppelin influences and sound alikes throughout this one. 'Starcage' is a quirky but interesting song with great synths.
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