The Grass Roots - Leavin' It All Behind

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Artist Name:The Grass Roots
Tracks Length:11 Tracks
Record Company:Dunhill
Release Date:Feb 14, 1969
Genres:Sunshine Pop
Summary Of Leavin' It All Behind
by Joe Viglione"I'd Wait a Million Years" went Top 15 for the Grass Roots in August of 1969, and as they tracked the rest of this album in September, they had the luxury of knowing it would contain at least one hit. The session men aren't listed as they were on other albums by this usually formula group, and the disc, Leavin' It All Behind, actually feels like a cohesive album by a real band, no doubt an important goal for these men -- achieving their own identity. Guitarist Creed Bratton had made his exit by this point, so the guitar chores were left up to rhythm guitarist and future Quiet Riot manager Warren Entner, with Dennis Provisor joining the crew on piano and organ, maintaining the four-piece unit, at least on the surface. Dennis Provisor is given the lead vocal chores on his two songs, "Take Him While You Can" and "Walking Through the Country," and though he's proficient, he lacks Rob Grill's style . "Take Him While You Can" is a fine production job by Barri, but the song goes nowhere; ditto for "Walking Through the Country." Drummer Rick Coonce also gets to pen and sing a title himself, a countrified rip-off of the Beatles' "I'll Cry Instead," and it's rather odd, almost like the Beatles having Ringo do a track, though Coonce doesn't have the personality or vocal charm to pull it off. As stated, the Steve Barri production on this recording, especially on the two hits, is superb. The Price/Walsh composition "Heaven Knows" was a delightful follow-up to "Wait a Million Years," a Top 25 hit to close out the year. Rob Grill, of course, does the majority of the vocals, including the other Harvey Price/Dan Walsh composition that leads off side one, "I'm Livin' for You Girl." Though it is admirable to see the band writing more, it was Steve Barri's pen which meant so much to this group. He only co-writes one song, "Melinda Love," with Grill and Entner, while future producers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter contribute "Out of This World" for Entner and Grill to sing on. Kenny Nolan hit with "I Like Dreaming" in 1976. Seven years earlier, Rob Grill performed Nolan's "Back to Dreaming Again," a sentiment that sounds like a sequel to his hit from the future. Unlike their contemporaries the Guess Who, there was no dominant personality here like Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman to focus on, so the material became the primary force. "I'm Living for You" is pleasant enough, and the Kenny Nolan tune is actually bright pop and fun, not as maudlin as Nolan's own hits. The strings swell up behind the simple beach party lyrics, proving this band quite adept at interpreting outside material, something that was their strength. Perhaps it is that conflict, that they were so good at doing that Three Dog Night thing -- finding other people's songs, Albert Hammond and Richard Podolor adding another dimension to the 1967 Feelings album, just two examples -- that created a balancing act hard for a group with more serious aspirations to maintain. The Lambert/Potter tune had hit potential; it's the difference between Rick Coonce having fun on his country episode or the act getting down to business and crafting great pop music. Leavin' It All Behind is an interesting band album, but had they stayed on the track that labelmates Three Dog Night did so well with, they might've had success deep into the '70s. "Melinda Love" is more on target, but it has what the other band songs seem to be missing: the contributions of Steve Barri. The dichotomy here is that the act does a decent job holding their own writing and singing, but excel when given direction and songs that matter. It's all very interesting, but why bother when their "Greatest Hits" albums are what truly satisfy? An interesting lyric sheet is enclosed, including seven of the songs on the record, lyrics to a Warren Entner tune advertised on the back cover, but not on the vinyl, a tune called "Hold On to What You Got," as well as lyrics to four of their previous hits. Leavin' It All Behind include Back to Dreamin' Again, Something's Comin' Over Me, Melinda Love, I'm Livin' for You Girl, Don't Remind Me, Wait a Million Years, Heaven Knows, Out of This World, Take Him While You Can, Truck Drivin' Man, Walking Through the Country
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