J. Teal Band - Cooks. 1977 USA
CD reissue: 2012 Rockadrome
Cooks is another great moment-in-time album, perfectly representing the era from which it came: 1977 interior America. Not the effeminate sissy coasts, where the mainstream media resides. This is the part of America that same media flippantly refers to as "fly over country". Or what people here know as "the real America". Back in 1977, all the guys still had long hair, hated disco, chased chicks relentlessly, and of course had their own band - properly formed in a garage. And every one of them ended up with broken dreams. Unless you were willing to "sell out" for radio airplay - and even if you did that - odds were slim to none you would find stardom. And it was just too early for the arrival of the rebellious independent heavy metal movement that would lift the hopes of the authentic rocker. But dammit, that didn't stop anyone from playing hard night after night in dingy, smelly, smoky, and darkened roadhouses along the rural state highways that are now highly revered with rose colored glasses. But the reality was far different. The sad part is there were literally 1000's of bands like J Teal running around this fine nation. But the clueless major labels turned a deaf ear, and only a tiny fraction of these bands managed to privately release their own product. Which remained long forgotten until collectors started digging them up years later.
There is no one named J Teal in the band, who were based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Jonathan Teal was a gold prospector from the western hills of North Carolina, and yet another obscure historical figure was chosen as a band name - a very curious 70s tradition.
While ostensibly this album is labeled "Southern Rock", I would submit that is strictly because of its regional association, not its resemblance to bands more established in that genre. 'Country Girl', 'Lost Love', and 'The Cure' are brilliant hard rock numbers, with well crafted melodies, and just the right amount of jamming. Other than the rather mundane two short tracks with city-state names, the entire album is superb.
Essential piece of late 70s "real America". For fans of hard rock, this is a can't miss item.
The Rockadrome CD is taken from an old master tape. It's housed in a fine digi-pak with a short history. Originals are very scarce as to be expected.