l-r Donald Payne (bass) Kenneth Kosek (fiddle) Teddy Wender (keyboards) Joanne Vent (vocals) Thomas Jefferson Kaye (acoustic guitar and lead vocals) Richard Crooks (percussion)
A personal favourite, this album rocks me on a few levels. I got this on the same day as those Delaney Bramlett albums, this time from Recycled Records. Awesome place. This and Affectionately Melanie remind me of the buzz of buying records, both bought pretty much because of their sleeves (last.fm indulged me in a Melanie song one time, which helped...synchronicitally(?!), Soul Sister Annie, one of the best songs from that Melanie album, was written by White Cloud big man Kaye). White Cloud's sleeve put out a feeling of working friends and family; creating music with friends is one of the greatest things an animal can do, and I love it when a group puts that feeling out there (another shoutout for Delaney & Bonnie & Friends!).
I had no idea who these musicians were or what this album was about. Turns out bandleader Thomas Jefferson Kaye was a Big Man in the American music scene. Before that article came online, info about Kaye's career had to be cobbled together from dusty corners of the internet, but it sounds interesting. So he was a reputable producer, and White Cloud was the band he used in the studio. I see something of a resume in this, as well as a labour of love. It stands to reason if you're a damn good musician, songwriter and producer, and have a fine session band behind you, you oughta do your own damn album.
White Cloud's rock comes with a bit of an alt.country feel, courtesy of Kenneth Kosek's fiddle and Kaye's colourful accent. Whether or not he's hamming it up on All Cried Out and Collection Box, it makes a mark. Joanne Vent puts a powerful voice across most of the songs, leading the uptempo rock songs while Kaye leads the more languid, cynical ones. The band are as skilled as any good name from 1972 you'd care to drop, and crank it out in an Honourary Metal way on Hoe-Bus, Rocky Roads To Clear and...yeah, fukkit, Funky Bottomed Congregation. Mix those inamongst your favourite Blue Cheer/Budgie etcx100 songs.
I only know one other album with these guys on, Album III by Loudon Wainwright III. Which means these guys got to be anonymous chart musicians for a bit the following year. That surely can't be the only time they played on something that charted, huh. Anyway, White Cloud is awesome in every way you'd want a rock album to be, and severely recommended to everyone.