Thursday, November 19, 2020

Great Lost Guitar Solos of the 70s (An Occasional Series): Potliquor -- The Final Chapter

[I originally posted this in 2010. Cut to yesterday -- when I got an e-mail from the estimable Alvin Wallace that pretty much cleared up a question the piece raised. Have I mentioned that some days I really love my phony baloney job? In any case -- enjoy. -- S.S.]

From 1973 and the largely overlooked album Louisiana Rock & Roll, please enjoy Potliquor and "H." Their (I think tremendously haunting) ode to...I'm not exactly sure what.

I mean, given the title I have my suspicions, but I've never quite figured it out, despite repeated, even obsessive, listenings.

Anyway, the absolutely perfect not-a-superfluous-note guitar solo at the finale is by the song's author (and singer), Les Wallace. And it's as close to vintage Mick Taylor with The Rolling Stones as anything I've ever heard, I'll tell you that for free.

Amazing production on that, as well; I particularly like the way it's all but impossible to discern where the guitar ends and the clavinet begins. Seriously -- I can't think of another American hard rock band of the same vintage whose records sound as good as that.

Potliquor (I've been a fan since back in the day, thanks to being on a lot of record company mailing lists in college) were an interesting bunch, actually, and definitely worth reappraisal. Their three albums (released between 1969-73) were wildy uneven, but the good stuff was out of this world and there were times they got really close to the sort of mutant blues/metal soundscapes normally associated with Brits like The Move.

I've tried to track these guys down over the years. Don't know where the aforementioned Les Wallace is, but drummer Jerry Amoroso is on Facebook and has threatened to get in touch with me (hi, Jerry!). Auxiliary bassist and friend of the band Leon Medica (that's him on "H") believes they're all alive and well, and has been in touch with keyboardist (turned Christian singer/songwriter) George Ratzlaff from time to time.

In any case, you can legally download all three original Potliquor LPs over at Amazon HERE.

And if Les Wallace is out there -- dude, give me a holler. I really want to know what the song is about.

POSTSCRIPT: So as I suggested upstairs, the following appeared in my e-mail yesterday, and -- in the immortal words of Cristina Applegate on Married With Children -- you could have knocked me over with the weather.

Hi, sorry its been ten years since you inquired of my older brother, Les. Ran across your post while checking out Van Broussard's obit. Les is alive, doing well at a remote cabin in SW Missouri NE of Springfield. Doesn't get out much these days because of the Covid, and doesn't live in a phone service area. Was still playing in local area around Branson and traveled to annual farm fest in Iowa for two weeks until earlier this year. Has done some great work over the last 40+ yrs, but has never recorded any except what family and friends have been fortunate enough to capture. Shame the greed of the music mafia has negated the work of so many great musicians. Some OD'd, some committed suicide, some spaced out to never return, but most, like Les, quit making people rich but never quit playing. Thanks for asking. -- Alvin Wallace

To which I can only respond a) wow and b) thank you, Alvin.


Al Weissman said...

Wonderful entree. So glad you and he made contact. Keep up the good work. Great tone on the guitar, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Really good track. For some reason the guitar solo made me think of Randy Bachman during his Guess Who days.

Captain Al

Jai Guru Dave said...

“Where are they now?” posts are always favorites of mine.

I’m right here, by the way; although nobody’s asking.

daudder said...

Man, the 70's were something. Great find.

pete said...

great band, GREAT production

cthulhu said...

Pretty good stuff. For guitar-driven blues-based rock, there’s just nothing for me that beats that classic ’70s production.

Billy B said...

Wow. Real good there, Stevie.

I agree with cthulhu on the 70s production.

I hear a bit of Joe Walsh from around the same time in the solo.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Nice! And you’re right about the Mick Taylor comparison. I hear a definite Jiving Sister Fanny vibe in the solo.