On their self-titled debut album, the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation flashed a British blues-rock approach that was rather similar to that of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers circa 1967.
That was unsurprising considering that leader and drummer Dunbar had played on the Bluesbreakers' 1967 A Hard Road album, and that bassist Alex Dmochowski would later play with Mayall himself.
Although everyone in the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation was a skilled player, the record ultimately comes off as rather second-division late-'60s British blues, though in a little heavier and darker a style than Mayall's.
That's not to say it's mediocre, but the material (mostly original) is only average, and not quite up to the level of the musicians' instrumental proficiency.
Too, Victor Brox isn't the greatest singer, though he's OK, and while Jon Morshead plays guitar well, his style sometimes seems quite influenced by Peter Green (listen especially to his work on the cover of Percy Mayfield's "Memory of Pain").
Additionally, some of the original material wasn't all that original; the work song-style "Watch 'N' Chain" certainly bears similarities to the tune that Donovan popularized under the title "Hey Gyp" (itself similar to a song that Lonnie Young, Ed Young, and Lonnie Young, Jr. had recorded under the title "Chevrolet" on Atlantic's 1960 Roots of the Blues LP of Alan Lomax field recordings).
It's not a bad record overall, however, with the players getting a chance to take extended solos on the instrumentals "Sage of Sidney Street" and "Mutiny."
Their third LP, To Mum, From Aynsley and the Boys, was truly the final proper full-length release by the original group.
Dunbar had expressed some interest in moving further afield from the blues-rock format around the time the record was done, and the addition of keyboardist Tommy Eyre (from the Grease Band) to the lineup was one step in that direction.
The enlistment of John Mayall as producer was perhaps another step in attempting to refine their sound.
Still, much of To Mum, From Aynsley and the Boys is pretty standard late-'60s British blues-rock, in line with the previous two albums by the band.
Eyre does inject some of the arrangements with a jazzy, more R&B feel, particularly on "Leaving Right Away" and the instrumental "Unheard," the latter of which sounds like a rock band trying to do modern jazz and finding themselves a bit out of their depth.
You also hear the quintet trying to stretch boundaries a little with the eerie, trumpet-overlaid intro to "Don't Take the Power Away," which has the downcast ambience typical of quite a bit of the Victor Brox-sung Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation material.
There's also some exceptionally funereal organ in the march-plodding instrumental "Journey's End." Otherwise, though, much of this is rather-run-of-the-mill, if always well played, British blues-rock.
My Whiskey Head Woman:
The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation:
01. Watch 'N' Chain
02. My Whiskey Head Woman
03. Trouble No More
04. Double Lovin'
05. See See Baby
06. Roamin' And Ramblin'
07. Sage Of Sidney Street
08. Memory Of Pain
To Mum, From Aynsley And The Boys:
10. Don't Take The Power Away
11. Run You Off The Hill
12. Let It Ride
13. Journey's End
14. Down, Down And Down
16. Sugar On The Line
17. Leaving Right Away
*Alex Dmochochshi - Bass
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums
*John Moorshead - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Victor Brox - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Horns
*Tommy Eyre - Keyboards (OnTo Mum, From Aynsley And The Boys)
[ Rip and Scans by LARRY ]
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