Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
If they only had a singer....alas!
Timothy R. Gerard | Haslett, Michigan United States | 12/30/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Oh, what SRC conjures up in my memory! The "scream" in the middle of the Hall of the Mountain King/Beck's Bolero, live at Daniel's Den, in Saginaw Michigan. It was exciting. It was great. It was Scott Richardson's best vocal ever. These guys were good! Even with Ray Goodman in for Gary Quackenbush (out for a year with a broken limb from a cycle mishap) on lead guitar, (listen to his licks at the end of "Never Before Now"). The rhythm section cooks, epsically on the uptempo "Diana", with a driving bass line, and E.G. Clawson's pulsating beat. Glen Quackenbush's swirling Hammond organ never sounded better. The songs weren't the problem here (w/ the exception of "the Offering". An ambitious lemon! Were the orchestrations an attempt to cover Richardson's vocal?). Richardson is the flattest sounding lead ever. And that's saying alot. On every song, on every SRC record he's off pitch. When I think of how this group might have succeeded with someone like the Rational's Scott Morgan on lead vocals. Of course, Morgan turned down a chance to sing lead with Blood Sweat & Tears after Al Kooper got the boot. (I'm sure David Clayton Thomas thanks Scott to this day). This record, "A Traveller's Tale", had some decent pop songs. The aforementioned "Diana" is a stand out number. It demostrates Glen's chops on piano against a driving tempo. "By Way of You" has a nifty little change of rhythm for Ray's solo (trying to sound like Gary, and doing a decent job of it). A real pop gem, "Never Before Now", is a song that begs a better fate. Even Richardson's doubled vocal if off here. Despite these shortcomings, I like this lp. If fairness to Richardson, he was a decent live performer, he had stage presence, and he cowrote most of the SRC material. The guys he was competing with at the time weren't great singers either, (w/ the exception of Scott Morgan).
The Amboy Dukes, beside Ted Nugent, went through at least two lead vocalists. Bob Seger had a distictive, but not great voice. Question Mark (of "96 Tears" fame) wasn't a great lead by any means. But they were all better than Scott Richardson, and they all scored top 20 hits nationally. Musically, SRC was as good or better than any of those bands. Too bad, I would have loved to see them make it."
SRC fades away with psychedelic era
running_man | 07/16/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As the psychedelic era faded away at the dawn of the '70s, SRC was a band without a sound. Traveler's Tale, their third album, was not quite psychedelic, not quite progressive, not quite commercial...it's a tepid album in search of a musical personality. It also suffers from the absence of Gary Quackenbush on lead guitar, who left after two albums and was replaced by less-talented guitarist Ray Goodman.The album was also poorly produced, with a muddy sound further clouding the murky musical waters. This was their final shot on a major label (Capitol). Their two previous albums (SRC and Milestones) are much preferred over this one."
running_man | Chesterfield Twp., MI | 12/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I guess it's no surprise that the reviews for this disc are all over the place. "Top album for 1970" (reviewer 'Fossil Wood' says)? Well, tough to rank it over Simon and Garfunkle's 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters', or Neil Young's 'After the Goldrush'. "SRC fades away with the psychedelic era" (reviewer 'a music fan' says)? Well, they certainly did fade away, touting only an unreleased fourth album ('Lost Masters', finally released in 1993) after this one, but their connections to the psychedelic era were somewhat tenuous, save their far out album covers and Edwardian stage apparel. The band was more into mainstream rock with a hint of the blues than anything else, their biggest hit being a cover of Skip James' 'I'm So Glad'. They generally featured tight arrangements, but this disc seems to find them searching for a sound, and the progressive-rock feel they are apparently aspiring to was simply a poor fit.
The strength of SRC was always the intense guitar work of one Gary Quackenbush, but due to a motorcycle accident, Quackenbush was replaced by Ray Goodman for this outing. Goodman is a talented player, and his performance is one of the appeals on 'Traveler's Tale'. Quackenbush may have been missed, but the lead guitar runs on this disc are nothing to sneeze at. Goodman is supported by the swirling organ sounds characteristic of late 1960's/early 1970's rock, and a driving rhythm section. As always, lead vocalist Scott Richardson delivers smooth, almost too precisely enunciated lyrics... but on the up-side with SRC, you will seldom find yourself hunting for a lyrics sheet.
There are several epic tracks on the disc, and one is the opener, 'A New Crusader', a high energy number running over seven minutes. It's a good tune, but not a blockbuster. It's also perhaps the finest composition on the disc, which doesn't portend well. 'Street Without a Name' follows, a mid-tempo blues-rock track with a psychedelic twist, and appealing fuzzy guitar leads. 'Midnight Fever' is one part organ, one part lead guitar, each with its own channel, and served on the rocks. 'Never Before Now' is a rock ballad, with more quality guitar, but relegated to the coda. 'By Way of You' takes the award for best riff in the nine song set, adding a catchy chorus and a diverging bridge to the mix. 'Diana' features a tribal rhythm along with razor-sharp organ and piano runs in tribute to, of course, Diana. Tracks seven and eight get back to the prog-rock epic mode. 'Across the Land of Light' is an instrumental that gives way at the three minute mark to a low-key bridge, before returning to a guitar driven finish. 'The Offering' is a six minute, vocal centered excursion with orchestral backing. Even though the vocals gain the emphasis, they are fairly pedestrian ("Please accept my offering, for you I would do anything"), a frequent weakness in SRC compositions. Winding up the set is a barroom blues romp, 'My Fortunes Coming True', built on some paunchy, nasty guitar lines.
It's fairly easy to see why SRC didn't have much success beyond the exitement generated by their first album and early singles. Their compositions are generic, seemingly constructed as much to not offend as they are to please their audience. Certainly one or two break-out numbers would have gone a long way in propping up the band, which gained a widespread local following in metropolitan Detroit before disintegrating under the weight of national anonymity. 'Traveler's Tale' is an interesting listen, but won't warrant many repeat visits to the CD changer. And don't let the mind-boggling price mislead you... it's expensive not due to demand, but due to lack of demand."