.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/9583514098b01fe8be58a2116cd359446da22499.jpg Moby Grape

Moby Grape

Moby Grape

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 5 0
January 12, 1999

They had the looks, the songs, the guitars (three of 'em) and the singing (five drop-dead, blues-angel voices) — everything they needed to be America's Beatles and Rolling Stones combined. Everything except the luck. Six monthsafter releasing their first LP, Moby Grape, in June 1967, bassist Bob Mosley, drummer Don Stevenson, and guitarists Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis and Skip Spence were a mess and a half, struggling to make music amid legal crises, Columbia's misguided hype (issuing five singles at once) and Spence's descent into drug-fueled psychosis. It would be a classic rock-biz tale offucking up, except for two things: (a) The Grape never gave up (they still gig with the electricity of yore) and (b) Moby Grape. Cut in three weeks for $11,000, Moby Grape is one of rock's truly perfect debut albums anda pivotal document of Sixties rock in radiant mid mutation. Funky country, folk rock, acid punk, frat-band R&B: They're all here, whipped into a thirteen-song fireball of wide-screen vocals and meticulous guitar sizzle.

Made by a band with deep experience (Miller Toured with Bobby Fuller; Spence was an early member of Jefferson Airplane), Moby Grape is high in drama, broad in dynamics: the lusty, Beatle-ized gallop of "Hey Grandma"; the hyper-Byrds blast of "Fall on You"; the genteel melancholy of "8:05"; the eccentric tension of the tempo and key changes on "Indifference." Mosley was a powerhouse singer who could do Otis Redding and Brian Wilson in a single measure; Lewis' finger-picking guitar was a rich backdrop for Miller's roadhouse-honed leads. Spence was the Grape's visionary imp, a man of great melodic gift and playful, if prophetic, madness. "Omaha" is just two and ahalf minutes long, but the Grape turned Spence's song into a thing of power and beauty, full of medieval-choir luster and high-gear guitars.

"Omaha" is also Moby Grape in microcosm, the glory of a mighty band atan early but untouchable peak. Moby Grape never became stars, but with Moby Grape, their legend is secure.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com