YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #187
SINGLES: Raise the Level of Your Conscious Mind, I’m Reaching Out on All Sides
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None
LINEUP: JW Hodkinson, Dick Morrissey, Dave Quincy, Terry Smith, John Mealing, Jim Richardson, Dennis Elliott
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: UK jazz rockers are more jazzing than rocking.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Formed in 1969, the band If fit right in with Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Soft Machine and others who were mining the combination of jazz and rock. If was more of a purer jazz band than Chicago and BST, and were musically adept.
Yet the issue with If, at least on the first album, was creating hooks and melodies that were going to stick with the regular rock and pop audience. They, like the Soft Machine, emphasized the musicianship and the chops, but If forgot some of the basics of rock songwriting 101. Even the boho progressive bands of the time had some hooks in there.
It’s nice kinda jazz kinda rock. Not the fusion that the jazz world was experimenting with, though. This stuff falls into a crack where it’s OK but not challenging for a jazz enthusiast and not song-oriented enough for a pop fan.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Their 1970 tour saw them at the Fillmore East with Black Sabbath and Faces. One of these things is not like the other.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Two bonus cuts, the cut down versions of the singles..
GRADE: B-. Jazz rock people may like it, because they’re better than the BST album cuts (and the later stuff by them) and they play pretty well. Still, the songs don’t quite work as songs.