Speed the Plough – Shine

January 01, 1970





On the scene for
over two decades, New Jersey’s Speed the
Plough (or S.T.P. as they are called) [Er,
you sure you don’t mean Stone Temple
Pilots? -grunge Ed.]
led by enigmatic songwriter John Baumgartner and have had more than a few
Feelies in its ranks at one time or another (Feelies’ bassist, Brenda Sauter,
contributes vocals on a few songs here). 
This record is more of a family affair as John and Toni Baumgartner’s
son Mike plays guitar on Shine while
other guitarist Marc Francia, has his two sons, Daniel and Ian, on bass and
drums respectively.


The record
itself it bit uneven, opening cut “In My Book has some wiry, jittery guitar
mixed with straighter vocals giving it an off-kilter feel (and not in a good
way) while the lovely piano ballad, “Inbetween Dreams”  (with vocals by Sauter) is exquisite. The
Feelies-ish “Madeleine” goes on for too long but they tackle a Lee Hazelwood
cover, “Pour Man”, and handle it perfectly, turning it into a classic pub
singalong.  The sultrier “Honey Be” adds
some cool trumpet to an otherwise bland song but “Lucky You” is one of the best
songs on the record: a near perfect driving pop tune with Toni’s swirling
woodwinds out in front and “(Love Is) the Best Revenge”  sounds like something New Zealand’s Flying
Nun label might have released a few decades ago.


While Shine isn’t S.T.P.’s best record,
sounding a bit clunky in parts, there are some quality songs on it that could
definitely make a best-of CD whenever that may be.


DOWNLOAD: “Inbetween Dreams”, “Pour Man”, “Lucky
You”, “(Love Is) the Best Revenge.” TIM HINELY


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