Exposé Online banner

Box of Frogs — Box of Frogs / Strange Land
(Acadia ACA 8100, 1986/2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

Box of Frogs / Strange Land Cover art

The Box of Frogs project reunited 3/5 of the original Yardbirds: bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, and drummer Jim McCarty. They took as their model The Traveling Willburys, whereby the core trio would invite guests to record with them depending on what they felt the song called for. Both albums feature John Fiddler of Medicine Head on lead vocals, with additional guests taking turns at the microphone for Strange Land, notably Graham Parker, Ian Dury, and Roger Chapman. Naturally the lead guitar role was what everyone was most interested in. On the first album Jeff Beck makes several notable appearances, though Rory Gallagher is actually a more prominent contributor. The follow-up album stretched things out even further with lead guitar turns taken by Jimmy Page and Steve Hackett. In retrospect none of the songs on either album has aged very well, and most are merely competent examples of mid 80s pop-rock. The better ones, like "Back Where I Started" attempt to conjure up the Yardbirds' brand of English rave-up blues rock, though too often they lean on boom-bash drumming and pedestrian pop arrangements. Kudos to Acadia for making both albums (plus the bonus track "Nine Lives") available on one CD, but clearly no effort has been made to upgrade the vinyl mixes. You can't fault these guys for trying to cash in on their reputations, and perhaps they'll try it again without feeling the need to pander to the pop marketplace.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 34, 2006 releases, 1986 recordings

Related artist(s): Steve Hackett, Box of Frogs, Roger Chapman

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kilgore Trout - KGT – Kilgore Trout has been kicking around the Northwest for some years now, after relocating here from the Northeast. This migration to Seattle might be typical for a rock band, especially a really loud...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues