Monday, September 29, 2014
Topper At Last Scott Records 1977
Man, Rudy Passonno is quickly becoming a legend in my book. As a producer, everything I he touched out of his small recording studio in Liberty, Missouri sounds professional and is worth searching out (at least, everything I've heard). Second, his keyboard work is phenomenal. He just swirls around tunes and jumps in at the right moments with bringing absolute absurdity and brilliance.
This album usually gets classified as prog, likely for the previously mentioned Passonno keyboard flourishes all over it. However, it isn't like an unheard version of the band Kansas. Topper isn't challenging the Brits, they just have moments that fit in the genre. It's just as rooted in jazz, blues, and rock n' roll as anything else you'd hear from the same era.
Telling you though, just when you think the band is going all standard bar-band, there's some insane out of place Mellotron moment that finds it's way in and makes the track. I mean, the lyrics are awful and again, most things with the exception of few stand alone moments are pretty typical, but the keyboards come in and just kick everyone's ass.
At one time, the album was bringing high dollars in the collectors market. It's tapered down in the last few years, the music is out there on YouTube and traded mixes. The people who really want the LP have it, the ones who still do can now grab it for a reasonable price. Either way, it's worth checking out, worth buying jsut for the craziness of "Phaze 1" and "Phaze 2" on the second side...you'll also love the lifting of "Stairway to Heaven" on Topper's "Smile for the Clown"...and hey, don't crap on Topper for lifting the Zep; Page was the just as great of thief as he was a guitarist.
Smile for the Clown
HYPE THE CD!