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Stepson - 1974 Stepson

ARTIST: Stepson
ALBUM: Stepson
LABEL: ABC Records
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: 2010, Flawed Gems (Sweden), GEM40 * 2013, Rock Candy Records, HRCANDY002


LINEUP: Jeff Hawks - lead vocals * Joey Newman - guitars * Bruce Hauser - bass, vocals * Len Fagan - drums

Guests: Don Gallucci - piano * Jimmy Greenspoon - organ * Jeff Simmons - harp, harmonica

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rule In The Book * 02 Lil' Bit * 03 Rude Attitude * 04 It's My Life * 05 I Apologize * 06 Suffer * 07 Back To Bama * 08 Man, I'm A Fool * 09 Turnpike * 10 Burnin' Hurt

Here's an oldie but goodie. The debut effort from Pacific Northwest band Stepson. Their membership is steeped in history, with past glories in other bands such Blue Mountain Eagle, Don And The Good Times and local area band Touch who released one very collectible album back in 1969 click here for details... Stepson run the gamut of fuzz-based hard rock (before decent guitar pedals were invented), and spent all of their time down in Los Angeles. They even had extended residencies at legendary hangouts such as The Whisky A-Go-Go and also Starwoods. The band secured a deal with ABC Records, and this 1974 LP became their calling card, though they disbanded not long after.

The Songs
All of the songs are typical of the era, crazy lyrics and smokin' hard rock/boogie to boot. Lead-off track 'Rule In The Book' sizzles with fuzz guitar and organ. It sounds more like a late 60's effort, though this is all about teenage rebellion. The fuzz onslaught continues with 'Lil' Bit', with Jeff Simmons guesting on mouth harp. 'Rude Attitude' is a mid-paced affair depicting a bloke who knows all about being a male chauvinist. 'It's My Life' is a cover of the 1965 hit from The Byrds, no doubt an back-hander to keep the record label happy. Stepson go into slow mode for 'I Apologize', a boy meets girl story with tongue-in-cheek humour that a guy like Charlie's Terry Thomas would appreciate.

Onto Side Two, and this boy-girl thing continues on 'Suffer'.. it's nice to know that relationship issues were as much of the past as they are now. 'Back To Bama' (as in Alabama) is a Chuck Berry/Little Richard cover, while 'Man I'm A Fool' is a slow bluesy number, and I'm hearing a bit of Johnny Winter in this one. 'Turnpike' gets things rollicking and a rolling. A bit of a free-standing 'let's get on the piss' type of song, the lyrics border on comical. The album ends with 'Burnin' Hurt'. On this one, Stepson switch the fuzzboxes back on for a powerful departure after entertaining us for near on 40 minutes.

In Summary
Most of the key players stayed in the music for a few years, but by the 80's they had exited the music industry. The Stepson history is not quite over, with Rockadrome Records working with the band members to release the 'Lost Tapes - 1972-1974' album (on vinyl, CD and mp3) during 2013. Also that same year, Rock Candy Records reissued the album on its Hard Rock Candy series. Both should be easy to obtain.

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