Boomerang – Boomerang (1971)
When Vanilla Fudge split in 1970, two bands emerged. Bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice formed the moderately successful hard rock band “Cactus”, while organist Mark Stein formed the dismally unsuccessful hard rock band “Boomerang”.
The album is foiled by its utter lack of creativity. Stein has been quoted as saying that he never much liked Cactus, but he copied their style (albeit with a lesser emphasis on blues), and their one word name, and even signed them to the same management company.
Stein should have accepted Ahmet Ertegun’s offer to wax a solo disc for Atlantic, but instead recruited a teenage guitarist, and two Vanilla Fudge fans with no previous (or for that matter, future) musical experience worth noting, and signed to a company (RCA) that they were guaranteed to get lost in. Stein might have thought that surrounding himself with novices would make things easier to control, but if that was his plan, it backfired. Or, should I say, it boomeranged.
The band had been together for at least a year before the release of the album, but still lacked material. The album is painfully short, even with it’s clumsy cover of Charles and Inez Fox’s dreadful “Mockingbird”. In fact, their best moment is the non-LP “Montreal Jail”, in which Stein pounds the keyboards like the old Fudge days. It works because…well, truthfully, it works ’cause it sounds like Vanilla Fudge.
Give the newbies credit for trying. Bassist Jo Casmir handles a greater percentage of the vocals than one would expect, while guitarist Rick Ramirez gets his (literally) fifteen seconds of fame with a nice backwards guitar solo on “Hard Times”, but the album is made up of mostly undifferentiated, unspectacular hard rock. The one out of character moment comes when Stein ditches the other guys on the orchestrated “Brother’s Comin’ Home”.
Stein had enough clout after the success of Vanilla Fudge to choose almost anyone he wanted for his new band, but chose people who added nothing substantial to the mix. When they’re not around on this track, you don’t miss them. Despite the other guys getting writing and production credits (the latter being dubious at best), this might as well have been the solo album that Stein didn’t want to make in the first place.
As lackluster as the album was, the live gigs were worse. Stein remembers that the novices tended to freeze up in front of live audiences, which kinda killed the whole “let’s be a rock band” idea. A completed second album still hasn’t seen release, and likely never will. Murphy’s Law being what it is, that one’s probably superlative. (ochsfan RYM)
- Juke It
- Hard Times
- Cynthia Fever
- Brother’s Comin’ Home
- The Peddler