Friday, January 6, 2017

Next - "Dusty Shoes" LP 1971

From Winnipeg, Canada, Next were an offshoot band of regional heroes, The Fifth. After a fairly successful run of singles in Canada, The Fifth split in 1970 with several members defecting to other acts in the region. One such product of the split was Next. The band were quickly to secure a contract with Warners and by late '71, Dusty Shoes was released. With somewhat limited exposure and very poor distribution, the album sank without a trace and Next were history by 1973. Members would turn up later in The Guess Who, Harlequin, and The Litter.

"Dusty Shoes" is very much typical of the era from which it sprang. Overall, it's tastefully arranged organ/guitar driven pseudo hard rock that recalls Grand Funk Railroad quite a bit in places. With the soulfully gritty lead vocals of George Belanger, everything here has an edge which makes it sound a lot harder than it actually is. That subtle dynamic is what carries this album and makes it a satisfying listen.

George Belanger: Lead Vocals
Ralph Watts: Lead Guitar
James Grabowski: Organ
Al Johnson: Drums
Brian Seller: Bass

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