Stillwater – Stillwater (1977)

Stillwater_14 out of 5 Stars!

From Georgia, Stillwater released its debut album back in 1977 and instantly showed great promise, especially due to the catchiness of the hard-rockin’ material and the excellent fretwork on tracks such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll Loser,” “Out on a Limb,” “Fantasy Park,” “Universal Fool,” and the excellent “Mindbender,” with its “talk box” chorus, that actually made a minor dent in the single’s charts.

On the majority of these songs, with Stillwater’s triple guitar team front and center over some light electric piano, organ, or synth accompaniment, the group sounded similar in many respects to James Gang (Tommy Bolin-era), REO Speedwagon, or Peter Frampton’s solo material with more than a touch of Southern Rock added to the overall style, but a commercialized, sparser version of the latter, similar to groups such as 38 Special or Hydra. But when it came to songs “fully drenched in Southern charm” in the tradition of The Allman Brothers Band or Lynryd Skynyrd, look no further than “Sunshine Blues” and the blazing slide guitar extravaganza “Sam’s Jam,” where the lengthy end section seems almost a tribute to “Free Bird.”

After only two albums, however, Stillwater disappeared, only to pop up again several decades later with a slightly revised lineup to release an additional album (less “Southern” overall) to little fanfare. Sadly, the band remains horribly obscure.

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