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Now here is an interesting project! Though it does have a little experimental fare the innovative flair such is the slick pickin’ you can’t help but be driven by the work of Skip. The one-time member of The Byrds, 1969-1973 has Roland White, Al Perkins, Chris Ethridge, Byron Berline, Alan Munde, Bob Beeman, Mike Bowden and Herb Pedersen aid his lead vocals and piano. Originally, scheduled for release in 1973, the album was withdrawn due to a vinyl shortage and lay dormant for years.


The album is made up of material written with Kim Fowley partnered by covers of the bluegrass tunes ‘Salty Dog Blues’ and ‘Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms 1 & 2’ plus, AP Carter’s ‘Foggy Mountain Top’ and the wacky, 1959 dance number ‘Hully Gully’.  


Battin, apart from his work with the Byrds and when he has helped out others is someone I don’t know all that well but on hearing his work on this thoughtful set of creative work I have been missing out! For the record isn’t your stereotype country rock album, it is a whole lot more as he draws on a load of influences. At times they are so subtle as he leads the listener into the likes of ‘Don’t Go Down The Drain’ (that would also sound great if done by say, Dylan or The Band) and the slightly, quirky pedal steel drenched ‘Bolts Of Blue’ and with banjo and pedal steel jangling ‘Stoned Sober’ lends a neat touch of humour as lyrics of the time hit home.


The dreamy ‘Willow In The Wind’ also has some fine lyrics and a feel that near crosses over to a pop as does ‘China Moon’. The album is an intriguing set of work that comes with two video tunes ‘Searchin’ and ‘She Acts Like We Never Have Met’ (a variation on Bob Dylan’s ‘I Don’t Believe You’) taken from a 1965 TV show.


If the album had gained its 1973 release, Gram Parsons not died and Clarence White been killed by a drunk driver then Skip and Gene Parsons and Country Gazette who, also had new records would have gone on tour together. What a line-up!    


                                                            Maurice Hope     

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