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19 Feb 2017

Wizard "Wizard “ 1979 US Private Hard Rock

Wizard  "Wizard “ 1979 US Private Hard Rock

I recently found this album after many years of searching it out. Wizard were a Rush inspired three-piece from Los Angeles. Now, depending on your musical taste, these guys will either be acquired or not. If you thought Geddy Lee's vocal pirouette's were special, then check the vocal histronics of one Bruffie Brigham, a bass player too, so the Rush thing is exemplified yet again (I wonder if he plays a Rickernbacker??). They leave the Ayn Rand sci-fi lyrics alone, and walk along the demons, dungeons and dragons pathway so lovingly applied by Ronnie James Dio, though I am sure the Wizard version of such topics will raise a few eyebrows, moving more toward the side of comical than anything else. For me personally, I love this album. In much the same way as a band like Cirith Ungol were unduly handed the prize of 'worst HM band in history', the Wizardeers were vilified in much the same way. However, I have since discovered that there are a whole heap of Wizard fans out there.. so I am not alone in the world on this subject.. phew! 
Their brand of hard rock though under-produced (some would say poorly produced) adds to the charm of the album. The songs though are kinda cool, and the feeling you get is if the album had a huge budget to play with, then the whole thing might've sounded a zillion times better. The strength is in the quality of the songs. The triumvirate of 'The Power Of Rock N Roll', 'So Glad To See You' and the wonderful 'Renaissance' could all do loop time on my portable mp3 player. The interspersing of quiet passages and rock out moments on 'To Walk The Night' gives us the contrast the band were obviously searching for. The guitar fury on the last track 'Castle Of Night' would give Frank Marino a run for his money. Yee-hah!
The band give us seven tracks, which equates to 40 minutes of music, on average we're looking at 6 minutes per track. If you see this lying around, then pick it up. The album is as rare 'as', and you would be doing well to find yourself a copy. Rush fans definitely check this out. ...............

Wizard were a Los Angeles based hard rock act which featured brothers Dave Walsh (guitar) and Brian Walsh (drums), as well as Bruffie Brigham (vocals, bass). It's not known when the band was established but their one and only album was self-financed & pressed under the guise of their own label, Future Track Records. The album circulated in nearby shops for awhile before disappearing completely. As the new decade approached, the band fizzled and Brigham moved on to Masque and later worked as a session player. The Walsh brothers activities are unknown.

This album has been fetching ridiculous prices at collector fairs and online auctions for a number of years now and I can't help but wonder why. Sure, the musicianship is decent enough and the songwriting isn't completely terrible by any means but methinks this is a clear case of hype over substance. The production here is half the problem, as the dynamics have all but been tossed out the window. What's left is a leaden and somewhat claustrophobic sounding mix that does no justice to the music at all. There have been many Rush comparisons made about Wizard and I just don't hear it at all. Am I missing something here? Overall, this LP is on the low end of "good", barely scraping by on the fact that there's exceptional musicianship happening here. Otherwise, unless you're a sucker for plodding lo-fi early 80's hard rock, you might want to bypass Wizard...............

Drums – Brian Walsh
Guitar, Vocals – Dave Walsh
Lead Vocals, Bass, Keyboards – Bruffie Brigham

A1 Intro - The Power Of Rock And Roll 7:01
A2 So Glad To See You 2:32
A3 Renaissance 4:50
B1 To Walk The Night 7:43
B2 You've Made Me So Happy 5:46
B3 Castle Of Night 5:29

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..