All Together Now
Released: July 1972
Chart Peak: #23
Weeks Charted: 23
The Zombies/Argent relationship is very close, much like that of the Small Faces/Humble Pie or the Yardbirds/Led Zeppelin. In each case a group splits due to musical stagnation, and the key member carries on in a similar vein with a few improvements and embellishments. Argent is led by Zombie keyboard man Rod Argent, who receives first-class help from musical aces Russ Ballard (lead guitar), Robert Henrit (drums), and Jim Rodford (bass guitar). Chris White (former bassist with the Zombies) acts as co-producer/co-writer with his longtime musical ally from "She's Not There" days, and is as much a member of Argent as Felix Pappalardi was of Cream.
Argent's sound is unusual, as it uses organ as a key instrument, but not as a bizarro solo vehicle à la Emerson -- it's closer to a Winwood sound, but no one's really used a Hammond the way Rod Argent does here. He's a phenomenal keyboard man, but doesn't feel the need to constantly wave his talent in your face with extended classical solos. Rod Argent's solos always have a distinct pattern of building up to a climax and then winding up tastefully, as opposed to senseless babble.
I first heard "Hold Your Head Up" on American Bandstand, on which it received an extremely poor rating as a new record, but what do these American teens know anyway? In England it reached the Top of the Charts, and it certainly is one gorgeous and infectious, full-sounding delight. "Keep On Rollin'" is a simple, piano-shuffling "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" progression that works gracefully, and if it wasn't for the vocals it might be mistaken for the Faces. "Tragedy" is one of two Russ Ballard tunes, and it differs greatly from the typical Argent sound as the guitar is featured more prominently (damn funky, too, I might add). "I Am the Dance of Ages" closes out side one, and it's a weak, boring number that we could have done without.
The disc ends with a 13-minute suite, "Pure Love," which has some worthy grits but alas, too much filler. Part one is "Fantasia" and that's a tedious organ improvisation which you can save for Sunday mornings at St. Roderick's; "Prelude" brings the rest of the group into the picture, but the whole picture doesn't swing into action until the main body of the bit, "Pure Love," a bluesy segment with Jack Bruce-Cream influence imbedded within, and Ballard just wails away on that Stratocaster of his; they should end there, but instead they have a short organ sequence at the end, quite unnecessary.
Rod Argent has surrounded himself with exceptional musicians, and together they have a fairly consistent album of grade A quality cleverly packaged. With the aid of their up-and-coming United States tour (with Colin Blunstone, former Zombies' lead singer as supporting act) this album could easily be the sleeper of 1972.
- Jon Tiven, Rolling Stone, 7/20/72.
Quite assuredly one of the best rock albums of the year, Argent, will confound, delight and enchant. Any group that has as its nucleus Rod Argent and Chris White would have to be very good indeed. With guitarist Russ Ballard, drummer Robert Henrit and Jim Rodford's incredible bass work, you come up with an invincible combination. Note cuts "Pure Love," "Tragedy" and the hit single "Hold Your Head Up."
- Billboard, 1972.
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