The Master’s Apprentices – Choice Cuts (1999)

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Huge in their mother land of Australia, but virtually unknown elsewhere, the Master’s Apprentices simply lacked the promotion muscle to obtain the universal visibility they so richly deserved.

Founded in 1965, the band began life playing bluesy beat music in the vein of the Rolling Stones, the Animals and the Pretty Things. Then flower power happened, and the Master’s Apprentices turned into a brass-tacks psychedelic pop act. As the decade winded down, the music changed once again, and as always the band was wise to what was hot and what was not. Setting their sights on a hard rock finish, the Master’s Apprentices witnessed to be a natural fit for the genre. In fact, the band excelled at every type of music they performed. No wonder they were so successful, and the proof of their talent and flexibility sits securely in the grooves of their dynamic songs.

At one point, shortly before breaking up, the Master’s Apprentices migrated to England where they waxed the appropriately titled Choice Cuts. Recorded at Abbey Road, the album was originally released in 1971 on the EMI banner. Surrounded by so many positive factors, not to neglect the band’s own special gifts firing on all cylinders, it was only expected the disc would grant them the worldwide exposure they were aiming for. Although global domination was not to be, Choice Cuts (Ascension Records) collected critical acclaim and represents how remarkably tight and focused the Master’s Apprentices were.

Engulfed in fiery flames of rushing rhythms, throbbing power chords, crazed congas and stadium-sized vocals, “Rio De Camero” kicks the album off with a super sonic bang, drawing the listener in right away with its steamy, heated urgency. Stark acoustic guitars morph into an electrifying mass of driving rock sounds on “Michael,” while “Easy To Lie” shrieks and screams with stabbing, slashing riffs. Similar elements also materialize on the angry-pitched “Death Of A King,” an ode to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the blues laced “I’m Your Satisfier” bounces to and fro to the wailing howl of a harp.

Heavy but roaring forth with strapping melodies and weighty harmonies, Choice Cuts prospers with accessibility. Imagine Led Zeppelin jamming with Free, and that’s sort of the vision pursued on the album. Loud, exciting and explosive, “Choice Cuts” is a stone cold classic of its ilk.

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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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