Columbus, Ohio was home to Strongbow, whose life began in the middle of 1973. Initially a four piece, the band expanded to a quintet after a few months of gigging and soon landed a contract with Southwind Records. Over a year of touring, building a fan base and writing ensued before their self-titled debut was issued in 1975. Southwind, a tiny subsidiary of Buddah Records, failed to give the band and album any considerable promotional push and soon the album was lying in cutout bins across the country.
At a time when image conscious artists like David Bowie, Alice Cooper and Kiss were peaking, it appears that Strongbow were just simply overlooked. The band fought onward, attempting to write and record a followup album, but management and the label were deadlocked in contractual disputes causing the band to finally give up the ghost in early 1978. Members went on to continue working the local scene, though the majority of them have long since retired from the business.
"Strongbow" is a fairly decent album, though it does tend to be a bit faceless. Certainly a talented bunch, the performances here are stellar but the bland vocals hinder much of the proceedings. The opening track, "One Armed Bandit" is a standout which balances light progressive flourishes with classic 70's rock to great effect. "Move Over Gloom" packs a great groove, but is somewhat diminished by vapid lyrics. "Wine Eyes" is an edgier track here and is also effective and well written. The rest is a bit questionable, sounding a little like a poor man's Nektar (Magic Is a Child lineup).
Despite being short on stellar material, Strongbow's sole effort is worthy of attention here simply due to its rarity. Whether mid 70's neo prog is your thing or not, this interesting midwestern quintet is worthy of a second look...even if only for a brief moment. Enjoy!
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