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18 Mar 2017

Jericho "Jericho" 1971 Canada Psych Blues Rock







Jericho  "Jericho" 1971 Canada Psych Blues Rock
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This is a fantastic LP full of great hard rockin' R&B by this little known Canadian band. Produce by Todd Rundgren in 1971, it seemed to go virtually unnoticed for the most part. Though fans of the late 60's/early 70's Toronto music scene are sure to recognize one name within the line up, and that's Denny Gerrard...ex bass player extraordinaire of the famed late 60's Toronto Folk/Psychedelic Rock band 'The Paupers'. The other members have played with the likes of Ronnie Hawkins, Albert & BB King, Otis Redding, Jesse Winchester, David Clayton Thomas, and several other well known artists. 
The music is best described as sounding sort of like a cross between two other notable Toronto bands from this era, 'Crowbar' and 'Bush'. Let it be known that 'Jericho' play with just as much intensity, and rip it up all over this LP. The great guitar leads supplied by Fred Keeler, superb Hammond organ playing by Gord Flemming, Denny Gerrard's pounding bass, and Frank De Flice's solid drumming make this album what it is...a truly fantastic hard rockin' blues inflected funkified record from side to side! ...........

Has classic rock radio made a bad name for itself because the music doesn’t wear well with age, or is it because they keep playing the same old shit? In a perfect world, classic rock gems like Jericho would no longer be neglected by the airwaves and listeners would abound in new sounds from a previous era. Just imagine your local classic rock station slipped in one cut off this record, in place of the usual barrage of Zep and Skynyrd repeats; there could easily be a demand for this sweet sounding, authentic-as-it-gets, yet unissued and unplayed recording.

Jericho members Frank DiFelice, Denny Gerrard, Fred Keeler, Gordon Fleming hailed from Canada and recorded this one-off at the famous Bearsville studio in Woodstock, with engineering and production by Todd Rundgren. These guys were a part of the same scene as Jesse Winchester and The Band, sharing Rundgren as producer and art director Bob Cato between this and Stage Fright, and the music falls right in line, albeit with a harder edge.

They bust down the door with “True Fine Girl,” sounding like the Band on steroids with overdriven organ and screeching guitars notching a next-level sound. “SS #4” even sounds a little like hard rock “Cripple Creek,” but the key here isn’t loud guitar rippin but a loose knit down-home groove. There are nasty prog moves and killer Clavinet shredding on “Cheater Man;” Gordon Fleming really steals the show on keys, often overshadowing the guitar leads (a rare feat for keyboardists). “Baby’s Gone Again” is a blues that shuffles harder than Cream and “Backtrack” is a killer Edgar Winter style instrumental with gnarly parts played thru Garth Hudson’s own Leslie speaker and Clav. I’m a sucker for “Goin’ To The Country,” a goofy, stoned country groover with wowy Moog bass replacing the “jug” line. The vocalist shines on this little number (vocals are really great all the way through, actually) that definitely stands out from the rest.

One track, “Make It Better,” would score a minor hit, but Jericho would be largely forgotten, unissued since its original release. I do find that this record tends to push a little too hard; it’s kind of relentlessly hard-rockin. But it deserved much more than it got....Rising Storm. review........


Jericho was formed in 1970 by former Paupers bassist Denny Gerrard. Fred Keeler (formerly with David Clayton Thomas's band The Shays) wrote this Toronto band's only hit record -- the Bearsville/Ampex released "Make It Better" which charted for 3 weeks in June 1971. The song reached #26 on Canada's CHUM Chart.....canadian pop engyclopedia...........

The playing, if not the singing, is seldom short of outstanding, and the work on one track, "Can't Seem To Make It Happen", is absolutely astounding - it still takes my breath away after 25 years.
-- Bill Munson on Jericho

The Canadian group Jericho was formed in Toronto in 1970, with members Frank DiFelice, from Brantford, Ontario, on drums, Denny Gerrard on bass, lead guitarist and singer Fred Keeler from David Clayton Thomas' first group, the Shays, and keyboard/accordion player and singer Gordon Fleming. The cover photo shows, left to right, Gerrard, Fleming, DiFelice (sitting), and Keeler.

Gord Fleming also worked with John Hammond, David Clayton Thomas, Jesse Winchester, Ian & Sylvia, Cat Stevens, and the wonderful Kate and Anna McGarrigle. He later stopped playing, and was working as an art restorer in Toronto when he died in February 1996. Gord and his twin brother Paul Fleming, a musician, lawyer, and artist, both played in Ronnie Hawkins' band after the breakup with Levon and the Hawks.
Denny Gerrard, who played with many Canadian groups, including the Paupers, and also recorded with Richie Havens and Peter, Paul & Mary, is still playing in Toronto, in Mike McKenna and Slidewinder. At the time of Jericho, Gerrard was considered one of the rock world's best, his extended solo at Monterey with the Paupers is cited in a number of books as the first highlight of the festival.

Peter Traynor, who got a thank-you on Jericho, played bass with Robbie Robertson in his early groups the Suedes and Robbie and the Robots, and was Thumper in Thumper and the Trambones (or Trombones). Traynor's role on Jericho was probably as technical wiz and/or builder of amps. Another early band-mate of Robbie, Scott Cushnie, who also played in the Suedes, took Gordon Fleming's place in a second version of Jericho, formed around DiFelice to take advantage of the name and the hit single; neither Gerrard nor Keeler was in that version. Keeler was not only the guitarist of the Shays, he was one of the two local young turks in Toronto who got so good at playing like Robbie that Robbie was challenged to get even better (which he of course did!)

Jericho released their self-titled Bearsville album in 1971 and split soon after. They had one hit record with "Make It Better" in 1971, on Bearsville Records, distributed by Ampex Records in Canada and the United States. "Make It Better" and its flipside, "Cheater Man", were written by Fred Keeler.

Produced by Todd Rundgren, the music on Jericho is really nice, strongly reminiscent of The Band circa Stage Fright (Rundgren also did production/mix work on Stage Fright. The cover design for both Jericho and Stage Fright was done by Bob Cato.) The extensive liner notes say: "The Story goes that Jericho came down to Shady from Toronto...They compliment The Band and talk strongly about Albert and BB King, Big Mama Thornton, Red Garland, Otis Redding....".) Some of the tracks really rock, some are ballads. All songs were composed by Keeler and/or Fleming, except a cover of Mose Allison's "Fool Killer".

Garth Hudson is credited on the Jericho album, he did not play but was thanked for letting Gordon Fleming use his clavinette and Leslie organ speaker on the recording......... distributed by Ampex.......................

Frank de Felice
Denny Gerrard (bass)
Gord Fleming
Fred Keeler (guitar)

Tracklist
A1 True Fine Girl 2:43
A2 The Road I Never Took 3:17
A3 Lonely As Me 2:35
A4 Cheater Man 2:20
A5 Baby’s Gone Again 3:01
A6 Goin’ To The Country 3:25
A7 Fool Killer 3:49
A8 Intro: Into My Blue Heaven 0:28
B1 Backtrack 4:02
B2 Make It Better 3:21
B3 S.S. # 4 3:47
B4 Do You Want Me 3:22
B5 Can’t Seem To Make It Happen 5:36 

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