Friday, March 7, 2014

A Foot In Cold Water - All Around Us

Toronto, ON - 1970: Keyboardist Bob Horne, guitarist Paul Naumann, and drummer Danny Taylor of the struggling progressive rock band Nucleus find themselves down two members. The remainder of the band had bolted to California for a new beginning. They merged with singer Alex Machin and bassist/vocalist Hughie Leggat of another struggling band, Island, to form a fresh new five piece band. They quickly landed a record deal with Daffodil Records where owner Frank Davies gave them the name A Foot in Cold Water

Their 1972 debut self-titled album landed on the Canadian top 25 charts in the same year with their single (Make Me Do) Anything You Want (also later covered by Canadian metal band Helix).Trying to keep the momentum going, a few more singles followed and then they released their second LP The Second Foot in Coldwater in 1973. This album never went too far for them, but they did continue to release singles, trying to relive the success of (Make me Do) Anything You Want. This third album, All Around Us, did relive this success….. through the exact same song. They rerecorded a shorter version and released it as a single. Actually, this album contains five new versions of songs that appeared on their prior two albums. It almost seems like a cheap approach, but it worked with, (Make Me Do) Anything You Want charting even higher for the second time.

In my opinion, that single is actually the weakest song on this album, which goes to show that the rest of it is great. All Around Us is filled with ten hard hitting progressive songs loaded with powerful vocals, precision guitar solos, and killer keyboards. Regardless if these songs are making their second appearance, they work on this album.

While All Around Us did help keep them in the spotlight, Daffodil Records ran into financial trouble and went bankrupt in 1974 leaving A Foot In Cold Water with no label. It took them a year to find a new home with Anthem Records. While searching, they lost Bob Horne from their lineup. As a four piece they released their fourth album Breaking Through on Anthem Records in 1977. The album failed to do much for them, probably because Anthem’s focus was elsewhere, concentrating on their big money makers Rush. This lack of success, along with internal conflicts resulted in them breaking up later that year.

I’m very happy to add this LP to my collection. It’s a great, strong early 70’s progressive rock album. A Foot in Cold Water really were ahead of their time and left their small footprint in the music industry. While mainstream success was short-lived, their influence sure is long lasting.

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