ToeFat - 1971 Two

ToeFat - 1971 Two  [Progrock]edition 1994 + 2 bonus
Having represented the first half of their curious moniker on the cover of album number one, Toe Fat proceeded to address the second on album number two, the imaginatively named Toe Fat II, with what appears to be a battle scene, pitting some species of alien lard against assorted roast chicken parts and a helpless bunch of grapes. Oh, and if you think that makes no sense, little else about the group's sophomore slump, which was released by Motown's rock imprint Rare Earth (Parlophone in the U.K.) does, either. For starters: recent lineup changes had seen founding members Ken Hensley and drummer Lee Kerslake depart for greater riches with a nascent Uriah Heep, and be replaced by Alan Kendall and Brian Glascock, respectively; bassist John Glascock was still being credited under the surname of Konas, for some mysterious reason; and aging frontman Cliff Bennett -- a pre-British Invasion relic, famous for having fronted the Rebel Rousers -- still seemed a bit unsure about this newfangled, heavy rock thing. As a result, confusion had also set in on the musical front, even though bluesy hard rock still predominated, thanks to the forceful riffs, hot licks, and weeping wah-wah provided by new six-stringer Kendall, which fueled engaging foot-stompers like "Since You've Been Gone" and "Midnight Sun," as well as ominous post-psych maulers such as "Idol" and "Three Tie Loser." The band was decidedly less focused on the album's remaining material, though, beginning with opener "Stick Heat" -- a sprawling heavy rocker showing tentative doom tendencies, which, for some unfathomable reason, was prefaced by lonely banjo strums; proceeding with "There'll Be Changes" -- a straight-up blues number, featuring an uncredited Peter Green cameo, and rather fitting harmonica work from band associate Moxy; and culminating in tentative flirtations with prog rock eclecticism on the atmospheric interlude "Indian Summer," and the half dainty/half rocking flower power anthem, "A New Way." In sum, Toe Fat's shtick was starting to smell a bit gamey, and there was little cause for surprise when it was revealed that the group had decided to cash in their chips even before the album's release in early 1971. Along with its superior predecessor, Toe Fat II would go on to collect dust in cut-out bins throughout the '70s before gaining newfound respect -- as such albums do -- when reappraised by hard rock enthusiasts decades later.


1 Stick Heat 6:08
2 Indian Summer 2:10
3 Idol 3:29
4 There'll Be Changes 6:49
5 A New Way 7:54
6 Since You've Been Gone 4:46
7 Three Time Loser 4:30
8 Midnight Sun 4:42

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