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Argent - 1975 Counterpoints

ARTIST: Argent
ALBUM: Counterpoints
SERIAL: RS 1020 (UK), LPL 1-5108 (USA)
YEAR: 1975


LINEUP: Rod Argent - keyboards, vocals * Jim Rodford - bass, vocals * Robert Henrit - drums, percussion * John Grimaldi - guitars, lap steel guitar * John Verity - vocals, guitar * Phil Collins - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 On My Feet Again * 02 I Can't Remember, But Yes * 03 Yes * 04 Waiting For The Yellow One * 05 It's Falling Off * 06 Be Strong * 07 Rock N Roll Show * 08 Butterfly * 09 Road Back Home

I've always been a huge fan of Rod Argent's keyboard work going all the way back to The Zombies, but those first two Argent albums were exceptional and after 'Ring Of Hands' I lost interest quick. Yes, Russ Ballard continued to write some good songs and the Rod Argent/Chris White penned 'Hold Your Head Up' is still hard to resist, but records like 'All Together Now' and 'Nexus' were never as consistent and what was the attraction of 'God Gave Rock and Roll To You' and why has it been covered so many times? Very odd, but whatever your feelings on Argent, their popularity was short-lived following the departure of Ballard in 1973, something John Verity and John Grimaldi couldn't fix but isn't wasn't because of a lack of trying with Argent releasing two studio albums in 1975 'Circus' and later 'Counterpoints'. A steady stream of live dates during the year including in the U.S prime slots supporting Queen and Rainbow as well as some not so hot bookings appearing under the incredibly mediocre Jo Jo Gunne and other forgettable bands Argent should have been able to mop up on stage no questions asked.

The Songs
As the story goes drummer Rob Henrit was taken ill during the 'Counterpoint' sessions, replaced by Phil Collins. Couldn't tell you which cuts he appears on since I've never been a big drummer guy, but I'm guessing he was plopped behind the kit for 'On My Feet Again' which moves in a noticeable fusion direction much like Brand X. So far, so good and I'm impressed with the curiously titled 'I Can't Remember, But Yes' with it's jazzy funk influence sounding like a proggier weird-o-rama version of Parliament although I'm not all that thrilled with 'Waiting For The Yellow One' which feels like a third rate Genesis or the frenzied instrumental work-out 'It's Fallin' Off' coming across like Return To Forever on uppers. Since I'm not a big fusion fan it's a painful listen to say the least. Time to flip the platter over and not a moment too soon! 'Be Strong' is another wonkish track with slight Supertramp touches and from here 'Counterpoints' gets even worse if that's possible with the truly awful-as-the-title 'Rock 'N Roll Show'. Honest to god, why bother? This is as pedestrian as can be and a true embarrassment while 'Butterfly' and the closing 'Road Back Home' sounds like George Harrison having a bad dream! I want the last thirty five minutes of my life back.

In Summary
Why someone of Argent's caliber put his name to this aural mess is a mystery and who gave him the jazz fusion bug? I want names, but its ancient history and a few months after a moderately successful headlining tour of the UK supported by Dirty Tricks, Argent as a band would call it a day and just in the nick of time with punk rock just around the corner. Avoid 'Counterpoints'; pick up their first two classics 'Argent' and 'Ring Of Hands' and prepare to be impressed.

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