Not to be confused with Australia's Bandit, this act sprang from the Pacific Northwest in late 1974 and featured Joey Newman on guitar and keyboards. Newman was quite a figure on the scene, having been a member of Don & the Good Times, Blue Mountain Eagle, Touch and the infamous, Stepson. Bringing his own experience to the fold was drummer Dan Gorman, who had previously played with Los Angeles superstars, The Yellow Payges. Rounding out the lineup were guitarist Davis Della Rosa, bassist Kevin Barnhill and vocalist Tommy Eaton. It's safe to assume that Newman's association with ABC Records during sessions for Stepson's sole release, is at least partly responsible for the formation of Bandit and their self-titled debut, which they issued in 1975.
Taking cues from Stepson, as well as other heavy soul influenced acts like Crow and Mother's Finest, the band's sound was a bit out of sync with much of what was popular in the mid 70's and ultimately this direction was their undoing. The band began imploding at the end of a short tour supporting numerous larger acts and by 1976, ABC chose to drop the band, signalling their death the same year. Little is known about the subsequent activities of the members, though Newman did work with the Osmonds and Shaun Cassidy in later years.
"Bandit" is a fine slab of soul driven hard rock that effortlessly shifts from grit to subtlety. At times, the band goes straight for the Motown sound with total abandon, while at other times they can be heard at full steam, complete with Eddie Hazel inspired guitars and a smoking rhythm section. Eaton's smoldering vocals morph from Gaye smoothness to Cocker bravado all in the span of a single track. The soulful female backup singers provide the proverbial icing on the cake. There's very little not to absolutely love about this well assembled album. Simply awesome. Need proof? Check out this flawless vinyl transfer, brought to you by reader 'mamedia' and get the goods while they're hot...
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