Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Review: Vinyl Reissue of Hokus Poke's 'Earth Harmony'

Not to be confused with the prog yodelers of similar name, Hokus Poke owed a great deal to James Gang, with their split heavy-blues-rock/rustic-country-folk personality. Hokus Poke didn't have Joe Walsh's songwriting skills, but they knew their way around a wiry guitar riff, and their acoustic numbers have atmosphere galore. Plus drummer Johnnie Miles's lyrics for the pseudo-Satanic "Hag Rag" are hilariously evil enough to mistake for one of Ozzy's early odes.  

Hokus Poke released only a single LP, but Earth Harmony remains a good snapshot of the long-haired ethos of 1972, at times sounding like James Gang, at others Jethro Tull or The Pretty Things, though without much of what made those bands truly unique. Spain's Guerssen is now bringing Earth Harmony back to vinyl for the first time since '72. The package reproduces the original's die-cut gatefold design, while extensive liner notes are included in a four-page insert. The vinyl I received had a bit of a wave, though that may be a consequence of the overseas trip rather than pressing or packaging issues--slight warps are sometimes an unfortunate side-effect of international record orders. However, it had little effect on the music, and the spindle hole is well centered and the sound clear and clean. 

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