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Jiva - 1978 Still Life

ALBUM: Still Life
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: PD-1-6165
YEAR: 1978


LINEUP: Michael Scott Lanning - lead vocals, guitar, bass, percussion * Patric Pearsall - lead guitar, vocals, percussion * Thomas Walter Hilton - bass, vocals, guitar * Michael Randolph Reed - drums, percussion, vocals * Steven Halter - keyboards, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Face The Light * 02 Take My Love * 03 Let It Go * 04 Hangin' On To That Sand * 05 Just For You * 06 That Scene Again * 07 Remember * 08 You Belong To Me * 09 Love Is The Feeling

Originally signed to George Harrison's Dark Horse label, Jiva (Sanskrit meaning 'to breathe') was an American band living the rock and roll dream. Friends of Harrison's future wife Olivia, the Los Angeles based group were mingling with the high-end musicians of the day and touring with both Donovan and Fleetwood Mac but Dark Horse much like Apple Records before it, didn't run as a proper label and with limited promotion and just one single pushed, the groups first self-titled album fell well-short of expectations. Two years and a couple line-up changes later, Jiva's second album released on Polydor didn't fare much better, destined to fill dusty cut-out bins for years to come.

The Songs
Really, the band shouldn't have suffered such a fate and the addition of former Glider keyboardist Steven Halter to ranks made all the difference filling out the sound with ornate and intriguing mood shifts. The first couple tracks 'Face The Light' and the superb 'Take My Love' start the ball rolling with some killer-no filer radio friendly cuts that should have given The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan a run for their money. The jammy jazz of 'Hangin' On To That Sand' approaches Rare Earth's soulful intensity and its all good while the flip offers up the album's best and most AOR-ish tuneage on the album; 'That Scene Again' which dovetails into the early Toto sound and the lovely west coasty ballad 'Remember' that will surely please fans of all things pink and fluffy.

In Summary
Overall, 'Still Life' is a worthwhile and first class ride but not hard to see with its dark and astonishingly uninteresting cover art, how most record buyers passed over the album. Nothing eye-catching about it, but it's the music that matters and this is definitely one to own.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 01 2011 16:16:43
Sounds like a band many of us would be interested in..
#2 | gdazegod on April 12 2013 05:34:54
A big kudos and thanks goes to Dan Roth, who alerted me to his recent interview with Michael Lanning. If you wish to get the absolute low-down on Lanning and all things to do with Jiva, go to Dan's interview at: http://musicandar...nning.html

Thanks Dan!

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