Not long ago, a number of bands tried following in the Allman Bros. footprints but fucked up pretty badly, Allgood coming to mind immediately. It was a worthy notion, but you either have to have the lofty finesse of The Trio (Duane & Greg Allman, Dickey Betts—a very tall order) or try another approach. Marshall Tucker understood this from the git. However, even if you decode the formula and adapt it, it remains a tricky proposition.
Seven Mile Ride seems to have taken the challenge and succeeded to varying degrees. Better than Allgood, who made it to the Capricorn label, they nonetheless don't have things completely wired yet…despite a huskily muscular presence in Randy Shemwell's guitar work harkening back to Cactus and other period ensembles. The rock element is strong, along with a bit of boogie and the aforementioned Southern shadings, but any number of clichés enter in and begin to sabotage things. The recording is on the thin side, and some of the breaks are clumsy, not to mention Shane Rushton's voice, which oscillates between a throatily sinewy shout and unconfident straight lines, the former impressive, the latter not.
Time and again, Shemwell's work sparks the listener's interest, especially the screaming intro to Chase the Past Away, strongly reminiscent of Adrian Gurvitz's Three Man Army days, and the basic band orientation is good—capable drumming and bass work anchor the sound—but, as a whole, this just isn't going to make it beyond the present bar band status. I'd suggest very strong outside production ears and turning the compositional process over to Shemwell. Failing that, the guy needs to seek new pastures, 'cause he's dynamite.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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