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Drifted: In The Beginning & Beyond

Continental Drifters

Omnivore Recordings 2015

Review by David Bowling

 

The Continental Drifters were not your typical Indy band. They were very smooth, wonderfully creative, and a very tight group of multi-talented musicians. They formed in 1991 and for little over a decade produced music that blended pop, country, and Americana into a spicy mix. Now, about a decade after their demise, Drifted: In The Beginning & Beyond fills in a lot of gaps in their career with one disc of early original material and a second disc of live covers, unreleased material, and studio tracks.

The 15 tracks contained on the first disc are culled from three separate recording sessions. It is interesting to compare the early songs that do not include Peterson and Cowsill as their inclusion brought a different mix to the band both vocally and persona wise.

Ray Ganucheau, Gary Eaton, and Carlo Nuccio were the principle songwriters and vocalists. They were incisive composers and despite having voices that were dramatically different, they could harmonize on an intimate level that could both soar and purr. Songs such as “I Didn’t Want To Lie,” “The Mississippi,” “Made In Heaven,” and “No One Cares” have a wonderful complexity of instruments, voices, and words that merge into a creative whole.

The second disc has a more eclectic feel given its diverse nature. The live tracks are highlights. “Dedicated To The One O Love,” The obscure Beach Boys song “The Farmer’s Daughter,” and Sandy Denny’s “At The End Of The Day” are previously unreleased gems that present the band’s concert sound well.

Also included is their European only EP “Listen Listen,” which was a tribute to Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny Of Fairport Convention.

The 20 page booklet contains comments and memories by various band members.

The Continental Drifters were a band that had, and still has, a rabid fan base, but huge commercial success inexplicably eluded them. Drifted: In The Beginning & Beyond is a nice introduction to a band that produced creative and very listenable music during their existence.

 

Rating: ****

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