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

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rosebud - Rosebud – Ten songs give almost as many stylistic snapshots. The sound of a love-in, with a keyboard, in Latin America; no trace of Carlos anywhere. A moody testament with sultry vocals grazing...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues