Edgar Winter Group – They Only Come Out at Night (1972): On Second Thought

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By the time They Only Come Out at Night was released, Edgar Winter was already a favorite among hip music fans of the day.

The Texas-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s first solo album Entrance, as well as subsequent efforts with his White Trash band – Edgar Winter’s White Trash and the live Roadwork – were gold-plated gems, branded by a mastery for handling an assortment of styles.

Following the expiration of White Trash, Winter put together the Edgar Winter Group. A couple of former White Trash members – guitarist Rick Derringer and bassist Randy Jo Hobbs – were brought on board, along with Van Morrison alumni guitarist Ronnie Montrose, drummer Chuck Ruff (who a few years earlier played in a band with Montrose called Sawbuck), and multi-instrumentalist Dan Hartman from the Legends.

Given the fact the Edgar Winter Group contained a crew of such credible musicians, it was expected their debut album, They Only Come Out at Night (Epic Records) would be the winner that it was.

For starters, the album dispensed a pair of hit singles, beginning with “Frankenstein,” which sailed to No. 1 in the spring of 1973. A fast-paced instrumental, flashing forth with stabbing hooks and breaks, accompanied by space-age synthesizer fills, the adventurous cut pulsated with psycho-jazz capers. Next up was “Free Ride,” a funky little ditty equipped with a frisky chorus, a zippy synthesizer run and a dinging cowbell, that peaked at No. 14 in the late summer of 1973.

Framed in gruff vocals and gnawing guitars, “Hangin’ Around,” “Undercover Man,” “We All Had a Real Good Time” and “Rock ‘n Roll Boogie Woogie Blues” lock in as catchy blues rock pieces, where “Alta Mira” shimmies and shakes to a finger-clicking bossa nova beat. A softer side of They Only Come Out at Night materializes on the melancholic Bread-buttered balladry of “Autumn” and “Round & Round,” a harmonious swirl of Byrds-flavored country folk rock, sweetened by the sound of a mandolin.

Packed tight with memorable songs that encourage the listener to let loose and get their groove on, They Only Come Out at Night captures the Edgar Winter Group mining family-friendly pop possibilities while keeping their raw-edged integrity intact.


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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