Quicksilver – The Hermit (2010)

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Even the average rock fan knows San Francisco, California, was a hotbed of musical activity in the 1960s. One of the most popular bands born in the City by the Bay during the historic flower power era was Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Upon their formation, the band concentrated on performing folk material, but ultimately switched gears and turned into a storming acid rock outfit. Initially comprised of vocalist and guitarist Gary Duncan, guitarist John Cippolina, vocalist and harmonica player Jim Murray, and drummer Greg Elmore, Quicksilver Messenger Service jammed good and hard. The band’s improvisational skills were dangerously daring, as they poked, probed, pushed and pulled their way through mind-altering mazes of genre-hopping ecstasy.

Over the years, the band has reunited off and on, and the current incarnation includes original member Gary Duncan on guitar, vocals, bass and keyboards, along with John Bird on guitar, Jimmy Guyette on bass, Tony Menjiuar on percussion, and former Sly and the Family Stone drummer Greg Errico. Slimming their name down to simply Quicksilver, the band still does the jam thing and they do it mighty well. Their latest album The Hermit, released last December by Global Recording Artists, contains strictly instrumentals — eight to be exact — with each piece bearing its own distinct personality.

Tuned to a funky frequency, “Boo-Hooin” shudders and shakes with style and substance, where tracks like “Nica’s Dream” and “Samba Triste/Green Dolphin Street” swing and swagger with jiving jazz rhythms. Strumming a wicked acoustic guitar, Jorge Santana stages a guest appearance on the blissful, breezy Latin fragranced “Cancion Para Dios,” while “Selling Miss Murphy,” in certain parts, particularly in the beginning and in the middle of the cut, pinches notions from the kind of creepy, crawly moody measures occasionally practiced by Led Zeppelin.

Ablaze with nimble fretwork, stimulating keyboard passages, and dynamic drum patterns, The Hermit exhibits how incredibly intact and incisive Quicksilver’s chops are. The band trades and shares tasty licks with effortless ease, their timing is impeccable, and the energy is positive. Bluesy undercurrents collide in harmony with jazzy arrangements and rocking beats, culminating in a marvelous melting pot of various sonic accessories.

Groovy and inspired, The Hermit is not only a must have for fans of the legendary San Francisco band, but those partial to instrumentals will find much to praise about this great album as well. Oodles of kudos to Greg Duncan for keeping the band’s vision alive and kicking …

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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