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AFFINITY - AFFINITY (VERTIGO 1970) Jap mastering BLU-SPEC cd cardboard sleeve deluxe edition 2 cd set

AFFINITY - AFFINITY (VERTIGO 1970) Jap mastering BLU-SPEC cd cardboard sleeve deluxe edition 2 cd set

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Signed by Vertigo in 1970 on the crest of the jazz-rock wave, the short-lived Affinity released only one single and album before splitting. Comprised of young singer Linda Hoyle, bassist Mo Foster, guitarist Mike Jupp, keyboardist Lynton Naiff, and drummer Grant Serpell, a musical maturity was displayed, blending folk, jazz, soul, blues, and elements of contemporary psychedelia and progressive rock. Highly regarded by critics, who praised the young Hoyle's powerful vocals and Naiff's inherent organ skills, it looked as if the band were to have a healthy career. Derek Jewell of The Sunday Times wrote, "Naiff is already a virtuso, soul-style, and the whole group is probably the best new thing heard in the jazz-pop area this year." But although the seven-track album was well received, the band split soon after. To label their work under any one genre is a hard task, and the jazz-rock/blues-rock classification they are usually squeezed into is far from fitting. As with many other late-'60s progressive acts, Affinity was just getting their footing when they split.
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The self-titled album by the short-lived outfit Affinity displays a lot of potential, which if not wholly successful has an individuality separating them from their more jazzy and progressive peers. If Linda Hoyle's talent for fusing the vocal traits of Bessie Smith, Grace Slick, and Sandy Denny together semi-successfully is the defining point, then Lynton Naiff's pounding Hammond workouts fall somewhere between the exceptional and the overdone. With the addition of John Paul Jones' fine brass arrangements, which are to the fore throughout, a very soulful feel reminiscent of the latter work of Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll & the Trinity is created. And the album's variety of moods sustains interest throughout. "Coconut Grove" (the Lovin' Spoonful song) is given a similar slow treatment to Donovan's diversions into jazz on Sunshine Superman, notably "The Observation," while a heavier element is supplied by a few heavy Hammond numbers, with a take on Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" being the most impressive. Although over 11 minutes long, some complex progressive organ work similar to Caravan's David Sinclair is displayed, preventing it from becoming predictable. A forlorn baroque Harpsichord interpretation of the Everly Brothers' "I Wonder if I Care as Much" adds haunting quality to the set with Jones' string arrangements and Hoyle's vocals working hand in hand, and "Mr. Joy" allows the young singer to pay patronage to her heroine, Grace Slick, in which the Jefferson Airplane comparisons can really be heard. At times overambitious. And a plethora of cover versions given the progressive treatment instead of Affinity originals is a major letdown. But as an early work of post-'60s progression, this album is a pleasurable experience recalling the days when musicians and singers really worked hard at what they did.[allmusic]
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The album code is : ODI2164368

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