DI takes its role as edutainers seriously, and in that spirit we’re spotlighting great albums and choice cuts from 1970-1999 to edify our readers’ musical breadth of knowledge. Each week will focus on a single year and some of the sweetmeat it produced.
“I’m a citizen of nowhere/ The sky’s above my head/ I wonder where the grass grows/ Looking through the sunshine/ ‘Til my judgment day.”
Medusa might be the best 70s hard rock album you’ve never heard. The second release from the newly minted Trapeze in 1970, listening to Medusa today loudly affirms its prescient vision, which mixes up the haymaker wallop of peers Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath with psych-tinged R&B reminiscent of The Sons of Champlin and Small Faces.
The trio of Glenn Hughes (bass, piano, vocals), Dave Holland (drums) and Mel Galley (guitar, vocals) are a seamless rush of tasty chops, dramatic singing, and sharp songwriting. Their take on heavy rock is largely fat free despite at least one track stretching past eight minutes, and the melodies as memorable and voluptuously appealing as anything Page & Plant mustered on their 1970 offering Led Zeppelin III. The vocals are downright sexy, right in line with what Paul Rodgers was doing in Free or Steve Marriott was up to in Humble Pie, and the production has presence and pop.
When Hughes started working with Black Country Communion a few years back it seemed like he’d finally gotten around to the unfinished business of Trapeze, which only lasted a few years (and a brief reunion in 90s) with this classic lineup. Swing, strut and substance is what Trapeze, particularly on Medusa, is all about, and if you’ve never experienced this under-heralded winner you’re in for a major revelation, children.