Cargo - s/t. 1972 Netherlands

I think the key to totally appreciating the sole album by Cargo is to start with the last track, an absolute barnstormer of a song: The 15+ minute ‘Summerfair’. It’s just relentless, like the very best of the Allman Brothers, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush rolled into one. I’m not sure exactly why this track works so much better than others in the genre, though I suspect it has something to do with the soft vocals, hyperactive drumming and blazing wah-wah rhythm guitar. And, of course, the lead guitar leaves me in a sweat every time. By itself, this composition is absolutely perfect. Working backwards, there’s ‘Finding Out’, which starts out in ‘Tobacco Road’ territory before busting out of the gates for yet another intense jam. Then it’s on to track number 2, the fascinating ‘Cross Talking’, which is a neat instrumental concept of wah-wah guitars “talking” back and forth with a cool funky rhythm. And finally, we hit the opener, ‘Sail Away’. The first 4 to 5 minutes are fairly off-putting straight ahead rock and roll, before it too finds its sea legs and gets the album going in the right direction. The bonus tracks demonstrate that the pre-Cargo group September were a simpler and more straightforward rock group.

Cargo is one of my all-time favorite albums. Certainly in my Top 150 ever.

Personal collection
CD: 1993 Pseudonym
LP: 1999 Pseudonym

This was one of the very first albums I learned of stratospheric prices for my (then) newly chosen hobby. Even in the late 1980s this album was a multi-hundred dollar rarity in the catalogs of the day. As such, I never had a chance to hear it until the Pseudonym CD came along a few years later. Pseudonym is a great label, and they do an excellent job with discography details and bonus tracks (no liner notes on this version though). Most of the bonus tracks were from an earlier incarnation when they were known as September. Later in the decade, I dutifully picked up the LP reissue (an exact replica with the Pseudonym logo replacing Harvest), because I had an irrational desire to own it on vinyl ever since I knew of the exorbitant price of the original. Cargo has recently resurfaced on the market again via the Pseudonym imprint. The CD version adds demo versions of the original Cargo album plus many of the same bonus tracks as found on the '93 issue - as well as extensive liner notes this time around. I doubt it's worth upgrading for - though if you don't have it - I must say the album is essential to own! Vinyl hounds will be happy to know that another LP is on the market as well - with some demos added for the second LP of the set.

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