SHARKS (Andy Fraser) – First Water (1973) [Digitally Remastered] *HQ*

SHARKS (Andy Fraser) - First Water (1973) [Digitally Remastered] *HQ* lossless - full

This one is for fans of good, ole ’70s Hard / Classic Rock; the digitally remastered edition of British rockers SHARKS and their 1973’s album “First Water“.
The fact that today, Sharks’ debut album is rarely spoken of as anything more than a footnote to the plethora of hard rock bands spawned by the British scene of the early 70s, is a rock and roll crime of the highest order.
Formed by bass player Andy Fraser upon his departure from FREE, and including Chris Spedding – one of the UK’s most versatile session guitarists, who had a long career on two continents that saw him tackle nearly every style of rock and roll – they were signed to Island Records, and highly rated by critics.
Sharks only managed to release two proper albums during their brief existence, but the ability they show on this debut LP is that of a truly remarkable rock and roll band.
And indeed it’s a smokin’ album with a whisky-soaked singer, Fraser providing fat bass & keys, and Spedding rippin’ wet riffs / solos, all with a sound at places reminiscent of early THIN LIZZY, BAD COMPANY, and of course, FREE.
This remaster by UK label Talking Elephant Records is excellent, respecting the ‘analog vibe’, clear, and reveals subtleties in the instrumentation and vocals that make the music much more dynamic.

The record starts with “World Park Junkies”, featuring a strut-like groove anchored by Spedding’s deep-in-the-pocket riff, and offset by American drummer Marty Simon’s nearly unbound approach to the kit.
This magical combination is what gives Sharks their charm as an unapologetic rock act. When half the band is unified and tight, the other half are just barely with them, and eligible of falling off the wagon at any moment. This is in no way due to a lack of musicianship on the band’s part, it stands rather, as proof of just how capable they were.
Finding the groove just behind the back beat is no walk in the park, but Sharks had that ability in spades, and the nine cuts on their debut album stand as living proof.

Though the bulk of the material on ”First Water” is penned by Andy Fraser, it’s singer Steve ‘Snips’ Parsons that shows the most promise as a tunesmith. He clearly knew how to write with his voice in mind, as he delivers a bone chilling performance on “Ol’ Jelly Roll”, moving from a near-ballad delivery to a gut-churning growl by song’s end.
His “Snakes And Swallowtails” stands as the album’s highlight, with a hook that could have garnered the band a hit single, had anyone been paying attention at the time. “Walking With a Mountain” has certain Mott the Hoople feel, “Driving Sideways” is light hard rock, while “Steal Away” adds more blues to the proceedings.

By all accounts, a band less than a year in to their existence shouldn’t sound this unified or capable. Sharks had all the parts in place to become a truly great rock and roll band, but for one reason or another, they couldn’t keep it together.
By the time of their second record, ‘Jab It In Your Eye’, Fraser had left and been replaced by Busta Cherry Jones, and though it has its moments of enchantment, it falls short of the power portrayed on ‘First Water’.
This music sure passed the test of time… this is quality timeless Classic Rock.
Highly Recommended


01 – World Park Junkies
02 – Follow Me
03 – Ol’ Jelly Roll
04 – Brown-eyed Boy
05 – Snakes And Swallowtails
06 – Driving Sideways
07 – Steal Away
08 – Doctor Love
09 – Broke A Feeling

Steve ‘Snips’ Parsons – vocals
Andy Fraser – bass, keyboards, vocals
Marty Simon – drums
Chris Spedding – guitars



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