-= 7-FLOOR =-

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dust - Selftitled & Hard Attack (1971-72)

First Album: The first album from Dust is interesting on many levels. The rhythm section featured drummer Marc Bell, who would later join New York punk rockers Richard Hell & the Voidoids, while bassist Kenny Aaronson would sign on with labelmate Stories on the group's third album, as Ian Lloyd moved from bass/vocals to complete frontman. The songwriting team of producer Kenny Kerner and singer/guitarist Richie Wise would go on to produce the third Stories album, making this Dust debut and its follow-up an important piece of the Stories puzzle.

Wise's lead vocals on Dust were decent enough to complement his very competent guitar playing; Wise would eventually get hired as A&R man at Scotti Brothers Records. This record is not only the document of a record executive/producer as recording artist, but of musicians who would go on to do more substantial work in the industry. "Stone Woman," with its shimmering slide guitar work from Aaronson, would've fit perfectly on a Leslie West record.

What Dust was all about is kind of difficult to get a handle on. A hard rock band for sure, and certainly spirited; the listener has to wonder if the group is successful when progressive, or if things might be better served by staying on the straight and narrow. "Chasin' Ladies" sports a real cool riff and pretty eerie vocal by Wise, while the one song contributed by Aaronson, "Loose Goose," becomes an endless jam. Wise emulates Greg Lake of ELP and, despite the good try, had Dust kept to the poppy influences all these musicians had in them, the group might have had a better chance at success. Kama Sutra, after all, had the Lovin' Spoonful and Sopwith Camel, artists who charted with pop music on the Top 40. For their image, Dust used a photo from the catacombs on the front cover and a camel in the desert on the back.

It's an amalgam of hard rock and progressive sounds from co-producer Kerner, who would go on to produce hits for Gladys Knight and edit The Music Connection magazine. Interesting stuff worth hearing at least once.

Second Album: Hard Attack by Dust is an improvement over the acceptable performance of the self-titled debut from the year before. The team of producer Kenny Kerner and vocalist/guitarist/producer Richie Wise do just what the title suggests, bringing a harder attack to songs like "Pull Away/So Many Times" and "Ivory," the latter an instrumental with emphasis on guitar riffs and cymbal work. It's an all-out assault from the trio and pretty interesting, though the album as a whole works better when Thog's Fred Singer adds piano and organ. "How Many Horses" benefits from keyboard presence, and brings the group back to the Leslie West/Mountain flavors so obvious on the group's 1971 debut. That song definitely sounds like Dust was intent on remaking the Jack Bruce/Mountain classic "Theme From an Imaginary Western," one of that group's highlights. That the quieter moments, the elegant "Walk in the Soft Rain" and "How Many Horses," work better than the brutally hard "Suicide" hints at the adult contemporary leanings of Kerner and Wise.

That they would merge this group with their labelmates in the band Stories for 1973's Traveling Underground is more evidence of what musical style they were more comfortable with. Unlike the commercial happy style of Stories, this album is obsessed with death — perhaps a marketing tool to the hard rock audience with that theme running through the disc. It's no secret why Stories lead singer Ian Lloyd ended up on Scotti Brothers Records in 1979 and 1980: Producer Wise, the lead singer of Dust, was A&R man at that label. The two Dust albums provide evidence that there were some music business execs who actually had talent. The wonderful Frank Frazetta artwork on the front of the album also shows good taste. Frazetta did many a cover drawing for Creepy and Eerie magazines. It's a well-known fact that Gene Simmons from Kiss came from the world of fanzines and fantasy, and it should be no surprise that Wise and Kerner went on to produce the debut from Kiss in 1974 on Neil Bogart's Casablanca imprint. They also did the follow-up, Hotter Than Hell. You see, Bogart was VP of Kama Sutra's Buddah imprint as far back as 1967, and these Dust albums are truly the prototype to what became Kiss, at least in terms of sound. How could it not be so?

The two men who made the first Kiss albums made these two albums a couple of years before Simmons and crew made their debut. All Music Guide writer Greg Prato calls Kiss (their debut album) "one of hard rock's all-time classic studio recordings." It was a product of the people who made Dust. Interesting that Buddah hasn't considered combining the first two Dust and third Stories album on a double CD to show the roots of Kiss; it would certainly be a neat marketing ploy. There's a pretty 19-second bonus 11th song/tenth track entitled "Entrance," which concludes the dark poetry of the Hard Attack album, an album that is one of the forgotten soldiers in rock histor.

(info by: CGR)

01.Stone Woman
02.Chasin' Ladies
03.Goin' Easy
04.Love Me Hard
05.From a Dry Camel
06.Often Shadows Felt
07.Loose Goose
08.Pull Away / So Many Times
09.Walk in the Soft Rain
10.Thusly Spoken
11.Learning to Die
12.All in All
13.I Been Thinkin
15.How Many Horses
16.Suicide 17.Entrances

Size: 142 Mb
Bitrate: 256 mp3
Artwork Included


At 4:04 PM, Blogger Fran Solo said...

Hi 7-Floor:
Excellent post and excellent blog.
Fran Solo

At 7:50 PM, Blogger M said...

Dust 1 is a Hard rock classic, way cool wild slide action.

Got LP of it.

At 3:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch for re-uploading "Head Over Heels." Been looking for that one for a long time.


At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good :-)

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please could you re-post the Dust and The Electric Toilet's links?, because them had been deleted.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger 7-Floor said...

O.K. I'm bussy to re-upload all the deleted posts in my Blog and this one is included.

Greetings 7-Floor

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a new link for Dust

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great post

At 6:07 PM, Blogger BIG STANKY said...

great post, two classics in one file, excellent !!!!

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