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Lisa Torem finds that the Third Rail’s 1967 only album ‘ID Music’ is somewhat dated, yet a fine period piece for those with fond memories of an earlier time.
The Third Rail came to fame with the quirky, satirical and harmony-laden ‘Run Run Run,’ a veritable sign-of-the times in 1967, when politically-motivated songs were graciously applauded by the counter culture. The album, ‘ID Music’ was their sole recording. The band consisted of writers Artie Resnick and Joey Levine as well as Artie’s wife, Kris Resnick. Joey went on to write bubblegum for the Buddha label, which kept the Third Rail sort of on the grid. In the early ‘70s, ‘Run Run Run’ found new life when it appeared on the Lenny Kaye's 1972 psychedelic/garage rock compilation ‘Nuggets’.
The album has some shining moments — a strong lyric from ‘The Shape of Things to Come’, “rising up angry in the sky” influenced Chicago activists who would go on and publish an underground paper called ‘Rising Up Angry’. This track stuns with a rad organ solo, rough-hewn vocals, a psychedelic underbelly and youthful idealism.
There are other songs that pin their hopes and dreams on strident harmonies, such as ‘Boppa Do Down Down’. ‘Swinger’ and ‘Jack Rabbit’ are largely tongue-in-cheek themes whose fun lyrics call for an impromptu party. ‘The Ballad of General Humpty’ is better left to the before bedtime crowd.
The eighteen-track album repeats several songs in different formats: ‘No Return,’ ‘Invisible Man’ and ‘Run Run Run’ appear as a “single” and regular version. Honestly, there seems to be little difference in these variations.
The album is pretty much a trip back to what many might call a simpler time but there’s not a lot of writing or arranging here that really stands up, other than the few mentioned. Still, the Third Rail’s ‘ID Music’ is a one-of-a kind and may please a lot of boomers.
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