Chicken Shack - Imagination Lady (1972)
Imagination Lady is the fifth long-player for Stan Webb's Chicken Shack.
Much in the same tradition as the great British bluesmen Alexis Corner and John Mayall,
Webb's revolving-door personnel landed the band several notable members, including:
John Almond (tenor/alto sax), Hughie Flint (drums), and Christine Perfect
(keyboards/vocals). For this album, Webb (guitar/vocals) gathered a trio consisting
of himself, future Gods and Jethro Tull member John Glascock (bass), and Paul Hancox
(drums). Enthusiasts of the more traditional 40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed and Ready
to Serve and OK Ken albums have been quick to dismiss the latter-era band, often citing
the whole over amplified power metal trip as detracting from their blues origins.
While certainly valid assessments, the power trio featured on Imagination Lady brings
more than sheer volume to this release. As with the previous Chicken Shack long-players,
this disc features several Webb originals augmented with some well-chosen cover tunes.
The album opens with a ferocious cover of B.B. King's "Crying Won't Help You."
This version is highlighted by Glascock's thrashing bass lines and Webb's wah-wah
driven lead guitar and gin-soaked vocals. In a style akin to the Faces or even some
of the rowdier moments from the Peter Green-led Fleetwood Mac, this trio grinds out
the blues with a decidedly English edge. The folkie "If I Were a Carpenter" is speared
with searing electric guitar leads that rip throughout the likewise spirited contributions
from Glascock and Hancox. The tune is also afforded an unexpected sensitivity that
contrasts well between the all-out sonic onslaught of the chorus and the restrained
polyrhythms of the verses. In regards to original material, "Daughter of the Hillside"
is without a doubt Webb's most impressive contribution to the album. It is arguably
the strongest side on the disc. This straight-ahead rocker is an ideal trio effort
with equal contributions from all three recalling the intense instrumentality of Cream
or early Led Zeppelin. With so much potential, it's unfortunate that the 11-minute epic
"Telling Your Fortune" — which is nothing more than a 12-bar blues platform for solos
from Webb and Hancox — is so erratic. In an ironic contrast, the closing number
"The Loser" is upbeat and almost pop-oriented, again displaying the immense strength
of this short-lived incarnation of Chicken Shack.
(info by: CGR)
1. Crying Won't Help You Now (Whittaker) - 5:09
2. Daughter of the Hillside (Webb) - 3:52
3. If I Were a Carpenter (Hardin) - 6:33
4. Going Down (Nix) - 3:32
5. Poor Boy (Webb) - 5:09
6. Telling Your Fortune (Webb) - 11:09
7. The Loser (Webb) - 2:32
Size: 61 Mb
Bitrate: 224 mp3