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White Witch - 1972 White Witch



ARTIST: White Witch
ALBUM: White Witch
LABEL: Capricorn
SERIAL: CPN-0107
YEAR: 1972
CD REISSUE: 1999, Capricorn, 314 538 734-2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Ron Goedert - vocals * Buddy Richardson - guitars * Beau Fisher - bass * Buddy Pendergrass - organ * Bobby Shea - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Parabrahm Greeting- Dwellers Of The Threshold * 02 Help Me Lord * 03 Don't Close Your Mind * 04 You're The One * 05 Sleepwalk * 06 Home Grown Girl * 07 And I'm Leaving * 08 Illusion * 09 It's So Nice To Be Stoned * 10 Have You Ever Thought Of Changing Jackson Slade * 11 The Gift


Background
Somewhat of an underground legend are this Florida act who gained a certain amount of publicity in the early 70's with their vague glam image similar to the British acts of the time. The band was known as The Tropics before evolving into White Witch, some seeing the band as a riposte to the likes of Black Sabbath, with their more positive themed tracks, such as 'It's So Nice To Be Stoned'! The band was signed to the Capricorn label, home to legends like The Allman Brothers Band and The Marshall Tucker Band. Vocalist Goedert was the star of the band, with somewhat of a superstar presence according to various band members, even described as the next Roger Daltrey! The problem for White Witch was their label, home to mainly Southern rock acts, who had no idea how to market the psychedelic overtones of White Witch. This eventually led to their demise.


The Songs
This is not an overwhelmingly heavy affair, but the quality is even throughout. The bizarrely titled opening instrumental 'Parabrahm Greeting - Dwellers Of The Threshold' is a typical progressive jam, with all the hallmarks of Quatermass or early Colosseum leading into the Uriah Heep influenced 'Help Me Lord', heavy on organ riffs and swirling keyboards. 'Don't Close Your Mind' is an upbeat exercise in light rock, but exceptionally melodic, the same true of 'You're The One', a dreamy piece, floating in the best late 60's fashion. This style repeats itself on 'Sleepwalking' before a welcome piece of hard rock in 'Home Grown Girl', a good reply to T-Rex, Silverhead or The Faces for rock and roll swank. 'And I'm Leaving' was a minor hit and takes in Mott The Hoople along the way, but the essential track following this must be 'Illusion', where White Witch get to copy Deep Purple with tremendously energetic riffing and frenzied organ workouts which combined with Goedert's manic vocals combine for a near classic. The whimsical 'It's So Nice To Be Stoned' is a novelty track endorsing good old weed, but give me the sinister keyboards of 'The Gift' instead, far more in line with hard rock.


In Summary
Where this album falls is uncertain. Fluctuating between quaint progressive and hard rock, both directions are agreeable but according to reviews White Witch concentrated on the latter for 1974's 'A Spiritual Greeting'. With no promotion the album died quickly, as did the band. Goedert would record a solo album in 1979 titled 'Breaking All The Rules', which is notorious for Goedert's massive flared trousers on the artwork and something which has to be seen to be believed. Sadly Goedert died in 2000, followed by Pendergrass in 2003 from cancer. In their native Tampa the band is a legend and were inducted into the city's rock hall of fame. This was released on CD in 1999 and is easily available for those wanting to get in tune with the early 70's US rock scene before it changed overnight with the likes of Montrose and Kiss.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on May 29 2008 00:55:38
I worked with a guy many years ago who was a roadie for White Witch. Quite the party band from what he told me- typical rock band stuff- women, boozin' etc... They did a lot of shows with Black Oak Arkansas and small headline stuff in ballrooms and clubs all over the U.S, but in particular the South and Midwest- at least when he was working with the band.
#2 | jefflynnefan on May 29 2008 03:33:54
The band and album sound pretty interesting. I agree with you on the fact that Capricorn was a mismatch. How do you go from Eat A Peach to White Witch -lol . Warner Brothers would have been better. I've always liked Florida bands so thanks for the review!
#3 | vinyldinosaurus on May 29 2008 13:50:38
I love both White Witch albums and the Ron Goedert solo album. Ron had a great voice and very original singing style.
#4 | rkbluez on May 29 2008 23:13:23
Great band but the White Witch CD is OOP and can be really expensive...so it's not that easy to come by...Ron Goedert had a very original style...kinda like an American Bowie...I haven't heard his solo album in many years since I dumped all my vinyl but I remember it being pretty cool and having some great heavy tunes on it.
#5 | gdazegod on January 04 2010 02:54:14
White Witch and Ron Goedert were great favorites of UK legendary taper collector John Watson.. from what I recall.. good taste!
#6 | super80boy on October 16 2013 02:58:46
A real potpourri of genres (prog, glam, hard rock, psych) on display, but they pull it together for a quite enjoyable set. They opened for Alice Cooper and a bunch of others during their prime days.
 
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