"Great line-up, great album. A very unique blend of progressive and spacey rock. Catchy guitar riffs on the part of Pat Thrall. If I were rating the album I would give it 5 stars. However, I'm rating the release and sound quality of this CD, which is very disappointing. NO MASTER TAPES used here folks! Another long anticpated release met with nice packaging but album-type sound quality transfered onto CD. Seems to be a growing trend these days. Unacceptable by any means, unless you know upfront what you're getting. My advice is if you already own a copy of this LP and it's in VG condition, save your money and listen to your vinyl. The CD is actually a downgrade in quality compared to my Automatic Man LP."
Where's " Visitors" ?
Armando M. Mesa | Chandler, AZ | 08/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Think Santana (early 70's output) without the Latin sound or deep mysticism.Afterall, Automatic Man drummer Michael Shrieve did some drum work for Santana on Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock. Think Average White Band without the horns. Not as funky as Wild Cherry or soft like Player and Pablo Cruise. I , too, can hear some influence by Hendrix and even Sly and the Family Stone.There are strong elements of early prog rock in there but not as deep as Pink Floyd and not as commercialized as The Alan Parsons Project (though APP to some is not really considered prog rock). Automatic Man has more elements of funk-rock. Add in some trippy synthesizer space sounds and a bit of wah-wah guitar (the title track Automatic Man is loaded with it) and that 70's keyboard/synth work and your transported back in the day.There's enough riffs and good 'ol real instruments used (there's even a disclaimer on the lp jacket I own that says "No synthesizers have been used on the guitars"). That's how organic and real the music was back in the 70's still. At times lead singer Bayete's vocals bring to mind Phil Bailey from Earth,Wind and Fire. Pat Thrall, the other member who takes leads on some tracks, is slightly reminiscent of Darryl Hall from Hall and Oates...
However, make no mistake, Automatic Man was no rip off band or hacks...their sound and lyrics were very distinct. You will hear modern artists such as Lenny Kravitz and wonder if he was influenced by this group's work as well.How this band from the 70's went under the radar unnoticed is beyond me. This is some really great stuff ! Their next release was "Visitors" which still carried over the space-theme, but the element was geared more towards funk(and gasp, almost a very faint disco feel heard on the first couple of tracks) and not so much rock. Visitors sounded very much like an Earth Wind and Fire production. I can even swear on a stack of bibles that lead singer Bayete sounds like Phil Bailey... I would give my left n....nostril to see this particular title released on cd (re-mastered the right way)!
As for discrepancies between the vinyl and cd release as far as sound quality, like I've told many a friend who have tossed out their lp's,some titles will ALWAYS sound better than the digital format (particularly when the cd mastering is poorly handled by a record company) !"
Another shoddy job by Lemon
redmax | UK | 08/04/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"How Cherry Red allow such releases to be part of their roster (albeit under the Lemon subsidiary) is beyond me. I've heard several Lemon CDs now, and they've all clearly betrayed their vinyl origins with audible surface noise. In one case they've even ripped it from a scratched LP
This time around they've done a better job, but check out the fade from track 4. It's all gone quiet, then suddenly the needle jumps and you get the last few seconds of music all over again
Far from being furtive about this, they routinely trumpet their releases as "remasters", and have made several false and misleading claims about albums being available on CD for the first time
I don't know if Amazon will accept this review, but hope for the sake of honesty and fairness they will. Emails to Lemon about the poor quality of their CDs get no response. With so many reissue labels out there doing a fine job, this company should be ashamed of themselves"
A. Dutkiewicz | Norwood, South Australia Australia | 07/19/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Automatic Man was a spin-off from the Go project, which included a bevy of musicians such as Stomu Yamash'ta, Steve Winwood, Al Demiola, Klaus Schulze and Michael Shrieve, who is the drummer/percussionist here.
The album has its moments, and what was side two of the original vinyl disc is better, as side one seems aimed at a late teen/youthful market with slightly naff lyrics.
But the musicianship is good, and really takes off with Right Back Down and culminating in the synth and guitar extravanganza of the title track, which also has a superb bass line.
The album has elements of Mahavishnu Orchestra circa Inner Worlds, Santana 3 and Return to Forever circa No Mystery.
Guitarist Pat Thrall seems to model much of his sound on Jimi Hendrix while keyboardist Bayete lifts elements of space prog and jazz-rock to give texture to this predominantly space-rock adventure.
Although uneven, there are some real highlights on this worth visiting. I'd rate it 3.5 stars."
RKL | Asheville, NC | 07/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There has been a lot of discussion about this disc being mastered from vinyl, if that is true it was a very clean lp. Any surface lp noise will be masked by the music itself. There are not a lot of quiet moments on this disc. If Lemon records licensed this title from Universal/Island, it seems highly unlikely that they told Lemon 'no master tapes' exist and to use a clean lp. The disc sounds quite good with a broad range in low/mid/high freqencies, it has also been normalised so the volume level is consistent throughout. There are full lyrics/a forward discussion of the band and the disc resembles a 45 record. There are no credits/original or otherwise. I give the packaging/disc manufacturing quality 5 stars. As for the disc itself, 4 stars since the band wanders a bit in styles. The Hendrix influence is here in the trippy lyrics, but that's fine with me. My favourite tracks are Coming' Through, Right Back Down, Automatic Man. This title has been on my wish list for years and I am happy to have it finally. 11 tracks/48.00. If you liked this title in the 70's you'll want to have it."