- Album name: Moby Grape
- Group name: Moby Grape
- Year: 1967
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Columbia Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Distinguishing characteristics: “GESSNER” written inside album cover and on LP, indicating that my father owned it
- Buy it on Amazon: $145.00
Level of familiarity before listening
I have no recollection of ever hearing the name “Moby Grape” before, but my father groaned when I said that I would be listening to it, described it as “60s hard rock,” and said that I might recognize some of the songs.
What I expected
1967 seems like it might have been slightly early for 60s hard rock, but not that early: this record was released a couple of days after the famous Jimi Hendrix hard rock rendition of Sgt. Pepper in London. So I’ll guess some psychedelic rock and some hard rock.
What it was actually like
This was a really interesting record because I definitely liked it and thought it was very good, but no songs really stood out.
They were clearly great at writing and recording parts of songs – guitar parts, intros, bridges, riffs, vocals, solos, bass lines – but I’m utterly baffled at how un-catchy these songs all were. That said, most of the songs were lively, trippy, and kind of reminded me of the MC5, with a strong proto-punk sound (that would only have made sense in the context of punk coalescing after a decade).
Was it hard rock? Not by Hendrix standards or Led Zeppelin standards, but it was definitely a lot harder than most of the music from that part of the 1960s.
The fastest and most punk-like song was Omaha, but others were also quite up tempo, like Come in the Morning.
My favorite was Ain’t No Use, which almost had a bluegrass sound, except done with rock instruments (as far as I could hear), which was very cool.
There were no bad songs, but Someday was less electric and sounded kind of confused, and Naked, If I Want To was less than a minute long and sounded kind of pointless, as if they came up with a bit of an idea for a song but were not quite able to work it into a whole song. One thing that really stood out from watching the Beatles’ Get Back documentary was the extent to which they would keep messing with their material over and over and over again, and still leave it off the record if they didn’t feel like it belonged.
4/5: would listen again