20071105

Yesterday and Today - Struck Down (1978)

A legendary live band that arguably never managed to translate its electric on-stage intensity into its studio albums, Y&T stood within reach of the Grail of rock & roll stardom many times in their long career -- but through a series of mistakes, bad timing, and sheer bad luck, the ultimate prize always seemed to elude them in the end. Taking their name from a Beatles song, the group was originally formed as Yesterday & Today in San Francisco, around 1973, by vocalist and lead guitarist Dave Meniketti, bassist Phil Kennemore, and drummer Leonard Haze. After stealing rhythm guitarist Joey Alves from a rival band, the group began to gig constantly around the Bay Area, opening for such heavyweights as Journey and the Doobie Brothers, while building a strong local following. They were eventually signed to a contract by London Records, which released their eponymous debut in 1976 and its follow-up, Struck Down, two years later, but dropped the foursome when neither album delivered any hits.

Struck Down was Yesterday & Today's second long-player, and their last release prior to changing their name to Y&T in the early '80s. And though not as consistent as the band's rock-solid debut two years earlier, it too collects a wealth of enjoyable material performed by an already very confident and mature band. Most noticeable of all, Struck Down is astoundingly heavy for its time, with high-energy cuts like the title track, "Road," and "Dreams of Egypt" packing loads of guts and swagger and evincing a bite which aptly captures the band's legendary live power onto vinyl. A few pedestrian moments, including the cheesy shuffle "Nasty Sadie," the rather one-dimensional "I'm Lost," and the psychedelic anachronism "Stargazer" keep this from being a fully satisfactory set, but they certainly could have done a lot worse. (allmusic) (BUY IT, GODDAMMIT!)

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2 comments:

Danny said...

Excellent record!!!

I don't really agree with the review though. I like 'Nasty Sadie and certainly 'Stargazer' a lot, 'I'm lost' goes a bit muffled in the production. (You can't hear the guitarsolo very well) But all in all, their best effort after Earthshaker for me!

Grtz,
Danny, Belgium

Stuart Shea said...

I'm wondering whether the reviewer meant to say that Y&T were named from a Beatles ALBUM, not a single...