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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Mistress - 1979 Mistress
Mistress - 1979 Mistress

ARTIST: Mistress
ALBUM: Mistress
SERIAL: RS-1-3059
YEAR: 1979


LINEUP: Charlie Williams - lead vocals * Kenny Hopkins - rhythm & slide guitar, lead & backing vocals * Danny Chauncey - lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals * David Warner Brown - bass, backing vocals * Chris Paulsen - drums

Additional Musicians: Michael Utley - keyboards * Douglas Dillard - banjo * John McFee - pedal steel guitar * T.J.K - rhythm guitar, backing vocals * Rick Clark - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Situations * 02 High On The Ride * 03 Mistrusted Love * 04 Dixie Flyer * 05 China Lake * 06 Whose Side Are You On * 07 You Got The Love * 08 Tellin' Me Lies * 09 Cinnamon Girl * 10 Letter To California

A bit of a troubled history behind this San Francisco based band originally featuring ex- Idle Race, Savoy Brown and Fleetwood Mac vocalist Dave Walker who is un-credited on this, the sole Mistress album. Confused? As the story goes Walker after getting the boot from Fleetwood Mac, moved to San Francisco and joined up with the Quicksilver Messenger Service related band Raven. Legal issues plagued the group and Walker left with much of Raven in tow hitching up with Mistress, a band who had been around the Bay area since 1972. The revamped Mistress recorded a demo in 1976, but Walker didn't stick around long enough to see the project through due to even more legal problems which found him back in England with Black Sabbath for a short period. Replaced by vocalist Charlie Williams with the addition of bassist David Brown (Boz Scaggs, Cowboy) and future Billy Satellite/38. Special guitarist Danny Chauncey, from here the tale of Mistress becomes even more mysterious since it's not clear who recorded what on the album originally put to tape in 1977. According to those in the know, one track 'High On The Ride' features Walker's background vocals and is from the original demo, but finding out if the players listed on the sleeve played on the remaining album, or if other songs from the demo tapes were used is frustrating to say the least. Shelved by RSO Records until the lawyers sorted through whatever issues needed to be resolved, the album was finally released in mid-1979.

The Songs
There's a wealth of good material here, solid AOR with a Southern rock flavour and 'Situations', the albums opener burns it up with great hooks and tasty guitars which is followed by the David Walker track in question 'High On The Ride'. If this was the demo, it certainly is an eye opener blending perfectly with the rest of the album from a production standpoint, although the jewel of the record has to be the radio hit 'Mistrusted Love' which blends The Eagles with Little River Band and is one of the best singles of the year that should have placed higher on the charts than it actually did - the lower 50's on Billboard. Side ender 'China Lake' is a long winded, slightly progressive mid-tempo cut and reminds me of the ever influential Kansas in the vocal parts while side two offers up a cover of the Neil Young classic 'Cinnamon Girl'. A ballsy choice that still stands up as one of the better versions I've come across. Closing the set is the sublime 'Letter To California'. Strongly influenced by Poco and again The Eagles, it's as sweet tune, soft as a summer breeze with banjo accompaniment from Doug Dillard, formerly of country rock legends The Dillards.

In Summary
Sharing stages with Gamma, Todd Rundgren, Rush and Blue Oyster Cult, Mistress spent the better part of fall 1979 supporting the album, bolstered by 'Mistrusted Love' climbing the charts, but it wasn't to last and the band went their separate ways, according to some due to RSO's lack of support. I could very well be wrong and I've never been privy to the inner workings of the label, but I have to say I find that a little difficult to believe since I remember a lot of promotion for the album, in print and on radio with artistic kudos for the original embossed white sleeve. Later copies appeared with an easier to see red logo and obviously the album sold enough to warrant a repress, or perhaps the plain white sleeve was a limited run (see above). Who knows, but I do know Mistress has never been reissued on CD and the album is long overdue for the digital treatment don't you think?

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#1 | reyno-roxx on July 17 2009 06:57:28
According to Monty Byrom the band split due to his poaching of Chauncey for Billy Satellite, but I think they were pretty much done by that time (81) and Danny was working with Taxxi in any case.
#2 | Eric on July 17 2009 23:23:26
Further research reveals Gregg Douglass who was in the original Mistress and was part of the band with Walker in '76.

Apparently Mistress recorded an album in the early 70's, that was finally released a few years ago on a German label?
Douglass joined the Steve Miller Band and is responsible for the guitars on 'Jungle Love'.
#3 | rkbluez on July 18 2009 20:19:34
I remember this album...mine was all white with the raised lettering...I remember liking their version of Cinamon Girl...this one would be nice to do from vinyl if I can track it down...or even better some label doing it on CD...there's still so many good albums from the glory days that need a CD release.
#4 | Eric on July 18 2009 22:37:14
Agree RK- still plenty of overlooked AOR albums on major labels screaming for reissue- this being one of 'em. No more New England reissues please!o_O

The unreleased first Mistress album is available over at CDuniverse as Gregg Douglass and Mistress. I've not heard it yet...
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