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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Small Wonder - 1977 Growin'
 
Small Wonder - 1977 Growin'



ARTIST: Small Wonder
ALBUM: Growin'
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: AL 34425
YEAR: 1977

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Henry Small - vocals, electric violin, mandolin * Jimmy Phillips - vocals, piano, moog, electric piano, organ, mellotron, acoustic clavinet, harpsichord * Jerry Morin - vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, violin

Additional Musicians: Ed Greene - drums, percussion * Scotty Edwards - bass * Joe Maggio - percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Will You Be A Part Of Me * 02 Run Run Around * 03 Good Morning Daybreak * 04 Rollin' On * 05 Who Am I * 06 Whatever It Will Be * 07 Nowhere Left To Turn * 08 Right Side Of The Bed * 09 Oh! Hoedown


Background
This is the second and last Small Wonder album prior to vocalist Henry Small joining Burton Cummings touring band and eventually the ever popular Prism. Details on how Small Wonder formed after the break-up of Scrubbaloe Caine are sparse, but they definitely had it going on with Mr. Small signing a three year publishing deal as well as high profile support slots in Toronto with Jeff Beck and Roxy Music, all before the release of their first album. That album released in 1976 didn't set Canada or for that matter America on fire, but it was a nice set with both AOR and pop influences. A year later and none the richer, drummer Billy King was gone replaced by seasoned session man Ed Greene best known for his work with Robert Palmer, Shawn Phillips and Steely Dan.


The Songs
'Will You Be Part Of Me' could only have come out of 1977 with its lush disco influenced strings and prog rock moves. The same can be said for the free and easy, good time feeling country rock of 'Good Morning Daybreak' which oddly features a patch of mellotron. Indeed, 'Growin' is very much an album of its time although stylistically it might have been a bit too clever for its own good. For example, the funky jive of 'Rollin' On' sounds very much like The Osmonds 'Crazy Horses' period after which we're treated to a Crosby Stills & Nash meets Leo Sayer tear jerker 'Who Am I'. Lyrically it's just a little too sappy for my tastes, but damn if it isn't catchy and almost near perfect orchestrated pop. On the flip 'Whatever You Will Be' is a good vehicle for Small's vocal gymnastics and the flute solo on 'Nowhere Left To Turn' happily reminds me of the Fotomaker debut. Sadly from here the music goes south quickly with both 'Right Side Of The Bed' and the Charlie Daniels influenced 'Oh! Hoedown' taking a very unpleasant turn towards straight country music that for the life of me I'll never understand and never hope to.


In Summary
Like its predecessor, 'Growin' didn't sell very well, despite some Canadian air play and a prize appearance on the American television show 'Midnight Special' as well as a smattering of concert dates, including a support slot with Starcastle in Los Angeles. A largely forgotten band, both Small Wonder albums despite their glaring inconsistencies are very much worth tracking down for their place in Canadian AOR history and are nice additions to any serious collection.


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Comments
#1 | TheMurf on October 21 2010 07:53:58
So if Henry Small was born in Beacon, New York and Small Wonder recorded in L.A. with session musicians I'm thinking that the U.S. flag should be up on Small Wonder not the Canadian. I know as a Canadian music fan they weren't on my radar in the late 70's.
TheMurf
#2 | Eric on October 21 2010 19:45:16
That doesn't make any sense Murf. Toronto's Holly Woods was from North Carolina...
#3 | gdazegod on October 22 2010 00:08:05
Well, I put Canada in because of the pre (Scrubbaloe Caine) and post (Burton Cummings, Prism) connections.
#4 | imprimateur on March 11 2017 09:35:12
I'm thinking on the cover, the bloke in question is standing on a box.
#5 | Nick C on March 11 2017 18:16:30
Will You be a Part of Me and Run Run Around


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