Friday, November 4, 2016

Humble Pie 3: Humble Pie

Still trying to find their way by their third album, Humble Pie at least had a major label behind them. Their self-titled debut for A&M lands all over the place, but eventually coalesces.
To begin with, “Live With Me” is a slow slog over two chords, building from simple organ to glissandos and crashing drums, thankfully coming to life at the end of each “verse”, traded off between three of the guys. The other one, Jerry Shirley, proves why he didn’t sing much on “Only A Roach”, a country parody about weed. Then it’s back to the boogie on “One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba”, an obvious euphemism with more rotating vocals. Frampton’s “Earth And Water Song” offers some embarrassing metaphors as lyrics, but it builds on the acoustic promise of the earlier albums, adding enough crunch when called for.
The sound that sold tickets at the Fillmore appears at the top of side two, a powerful blast on Willie Dixon’s “I’m Ready”. In what seems an echo of side one, we have another country pastiche in “Theme From Skint (See You Later Liquidator)”, an industry lament heavy on inside references. The amps turn up again on “Red Light Mama, Red Hot!”, and just like on side one, go off again for “Sucking On The Sweet Vine”, an overly sensitive plaint from Greg Ridley. (Incidentally, pedal steel hotshot B.J. Cole is all over this album, when the quieter tunes call for him.)
The credits and content give the impression of a band trying to figure things out while the tape rolled, but despite a shaky start, Humble Pie redeems itself. If anything, it’s more simple than the first two, so it’s easier to absorb. But the first two are better.

Humble Pie Humble Pie (1970)—3

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