Masters Of Reality – Pine/Cross Dover

January 01, 1970


(Cool Green)



It’s been a long damn time since we last had a Masters of
Reality record – six years, in fact, and Give
Us Barrabas
, the previous platter, was constructed out of spare parts in
any case. But Pine/Cross Dover is
worth the wait, the most creatively engaged album MoR leader Chris Goss has
made since 1992’s Sunrise On the Sufferbus – maybe since the 1988 debut.


Goss, his drummer/partner John Leamy and their buds create a
sort of precise looseness on cuts like “Always” and “Dreamtime Stomp,” taking
the band’s creamy psychedelic hard rock and straining it through a
mantra-minded, almost Krautrock-like haze. Repetitious rhythmic thrust is
nothing new in the Masters camp, but the consistent drive given these tunes
puts them in a new class than the band’s previous work. Combined with Goss’s
usual trick bag of classic rock licks, stream-of-consciousness lyrics and
impossibly smooth vocals, the push results in supple powerhouses like “Up In It,”
“The Whore of New Orleans” and “King Richard TLH,” the latter the hit single
the band’s been missing since “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On).”


The band also indulges in a couple of jazzy instrumental
jams that sound like a stripped-down Mahavishnu Orchestra (who Goss has pointed
to as an influence on this record) – the epic-length “Alfalfa” is also dusted
with traces of the Grateful Dead. With strong songwriting, masterful
performances and new creative twists, Pine/Cross
becomes one of the jewels in the Masters of Reality catalog.


Richard TLH,” “Testify,” “Up In It” MICHAEL TOLAND

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