Exposé Online banner

Help — Help
(Relics RELCD2036, 1971/2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-11-07

Help Cover artIn the early weeks of 1971 the eponymous debut by California trio Help began showing up in record racks, a sparkling gem of west coast rock. A mix of period styles and outstanding songwriting filled with clever hooks, great musicianship and superb vocal harmonies, produced by Dave Hassinger, better known for his work with the Rolling Stones. Of course Decca didn’t provide much, if any support, it didn’t sell (nor the band’s even more obscure second album from later in '71), and before years’ end the album was easily found in the clearance bins. The band was guitarist Jack Merrill, Bob Rochan on bass, and drummer Chet McCracken, the latter who many years later would turn up in the Doobie Brothers in time for their One Step Closer album, with Merrill and Rochan sharing lead vocals and all three members sharing harmonies. The Doobie Brothers might be a good reference point as to the style Help was playing here, although it would be the vintage Doobies style of Toulouse Street or The Captain and Me, with a strong rock base, informed by folk and a touch of country, with some impressive guitar passages and a solid rhythm section supporting. The first side of the original LP contains five winners, starting with “For Sale,” building from a simple guitar figure into a full on rock tour-de-force with great harmonies, and closing with the catchy and instantly likeable “Run Away,” which was also the album’s only single. In between we have the folky and sensitive “I Tried Too Hard” and two other nuggets. As sometimes happens, the second side is not quite as strong as the first, but nonetheless filled with some great songs, closing with their funky version of the classic “Tennessee Waltz.” All said, this is one of those ‘too good to be forgotten’ albums from the early 70s, and it’s good to have it available again.

Filed under: Reissues, 2013 releases, 1971 recordings

Related artist(s): Help

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Attempt to Restore - Alpha Collection I – Most new German groups these days seem to have forgotten their musical ancestry from the high psychedelic days of the Ohr and Brain years. Practically all you see is bands like Chandelier, Bel Air,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues