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Locust - 1976 Playgue

ARTIST: Locust
ALBUM: Playgue
LABEL: Annuit Coeptis
YEAR: 1976


LINEUP: Keith Brown - guitar, special effects, backing vocals * Dean Davis - drums, percussion * Court Hawley - bass, lead and backing vocals * Randy Rosenberry - keyboards, lead and backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hesitation * 02 Let's Just Say Goodbye * 03 You'll Never Know * 04 Madonna * 05 All For You/Turn Around Lady * 06 You Should Have Just Cried * 07 Outside Chance * 08 Hold On To America * 09 Blood In The Hand

The state of Iowa never gets respect. Yes, it's a very rural state, Corn is king and here in Minnesota (where I live) there are hundreds of jokes about our bordering neighbor to the South, but the reality is Iowa does have a place in rock history. It's where 50's rocker Buddy Holly died in a plane crash and where many classic rock bands first started drawing audiences, including REO Speedwagon and Kansas, the latter spending a week playing the Iowa State Fair long before they were signed. In the 1980's bands like Litterer, Lynn Allen and power pop wonder boys The Hawks made an impression on melodic rock fans here in the states and abroad. Enter Locust. These guys released just one album that I'm aware of, but took a step further than most independent bands of the day by placing advertisements for 'Playgue' in several national rock magazines including 'Circus' and 'Creem'. Pretty impressive I'd say. If it actually translated into record sales who knows? For many years I would find copies in local record shops so it appears they had some decent distribution, but I am not sure if they toured extensively to follow it up.

The Songs
Listening to this album, I think they should have spent a little more time and money on songs rather than high profile promotion. The opening track 'Hesitation' sounds like a laid back version of Starcastle in the vocals and guitar solo. 'Let's Just Say Goodbye' and 'Hold On To America' has a early Wooden Nickel era- Styx vibe with some nifty and yes, 'pompy' keyboard work. Despite these moments of near brilliance nothing on 'Playgue' really stands out for me, seriously lacking 'hooks' unlike Styx who were dripping in melodic quality.

In Summary
'Playgue' is a curiosity at best. Of course collectors of obscure pomp and 'Ameriprog' will want this in their collections and if you enjoy the 70's sounds of Gypsy, Baby, Hush and Strongbow by all means seek out a copy. For the rest of you, I suggest sitting this one out.

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#1 | KurtmanJP on January 16 2009 03:10:53
Not a very strong album but the song Hold On To America is awesome.
#2 | MNWild87 on April 17 2013 02:33:04
Hesitation is a really good song. I really enjoy this album
#3 | super80boy on February 22 2014 19:31:43
This obscure independent band was able to assemble an intriguing set of songs that show flashes of brilliance, but just don't quite meet the mark in the end. Unfortunately they sound limited due to a lack of production quality that comes through on this private pressing. These guys definitely had the chops to create something pretty spectacular if more time, effort and $$$ had been invested. That's not to say this album isn't worthy of investigation, it absolutely is for the private press AOR collectors. A good entry for the GDM website!

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