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Strapps - 1976 Strapps

ARTIST: Strapps
ALBUM: Strapps
LABEL: Harvest
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 2004, Cherry Red Records (UK), CSA 118


LINEUP: Mick Underwood - drums * Noel Scott - keyboards * Joe Read - bass * Ross Stagg - vocals, guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 School Girl Funk * 02 Dreaming * 03 Rock Critic * 04 Oh! The Night * 05 Sanctuary * 06 I Long To Tell You Too * 07 In Your Ear * 08 Suicide

Strapps keyboardist Mick Underwood seems to have spent a lifetime flying under the radar of fame and fortune. He was in The Outlaws with Ritchie Blackmore and later was the man who suggested Deep Purple who was in the market for a vocalist, needed to pay a visit with Ian Gillan. Not satisfied with a gig as a matchmaker, Underwood formed Quartermass a highly revered Atomic Rooster/ The Nice influenced band releasing one album in 1970 before splitting up. Dropping in and out of bands for a few years (including Peace with Paul Rodgers), Underwood formed Strapps in 1974 with their first album co-produced by Roger Glover. Strapps would release a handful of albums to moderate success in Japan, the UK and US (specifically Texas) before splitting up in 1979 when Underwood joined the Ian Gillan Band. It would appear the purple apple never fell far from the tree.

The Songs
Unlike the bands later albums which dived into straight hard rock, the Strapps debut was an unusual mixture of glam and progressive rock styles. It's a strange combination with Mott The Hoople influenced vocals and Yes styled keyboard work. Lyrically it's all teenage girls ('School Girl Funk') and the 1970's rock n' roll lifestyle ('Rock Critic') and as odd as it sounds with so many diverse styles coming into play, the music has a certain enduring charm. Mott The Hoople, Silverhead and New York Dolls fans will find much to enjoy here, but it's not for everyone and hard rock fans would be better advised to check out their 'Secret Damage' and 'Prisoner Of Your Love' albums for a better taste of what Strapps were really about.

In Summary
Kinky artwork by Mick Rock who was responsible for much of the early Queen visuals suits the album's sound and for the more adventurous rock listener looking for something different, Strapps debut will be money well spent. Recently reissued by Cherry Red there's nothing to hold you back!

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