Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Album review: Larry's Rebels, A Study in Black / Madrigal

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Despite the name there wasn't much rebellion in the Auckland quintet who became national pop heroes in the late 60s after early hits like I Feel Good and Painter Man.

Their 1967 debut LP - here reissued with Madrigal, the band's second album recorded after the departure of frontman Morris for a solo career - shows them torn between Saturday night cabaret and garage grit. That divide makes for a uneven set, lurching between likes of girl group anthem Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, a beatpop take on Scots folk tune of Skye Boat Song, soul covers like Dancing in the Street and Midnight Hour, and the band's own fuzzy bluesy psychedelic creations like Speak My Mind and Flying Scotsman.

With Morris replaced by Glyn Mason, 1968's Madrigal delivered Joe Cockeresque takes on Beatles (Good Day Sunshine, Ticket to Ride) and Bee Gees (To Love Somebody) as well as memorable originals like My Son John and the Who-like Passing You By helping make it a little more cohesive.

Though you suspect that finale track Rhubarb was just the band padding the end of side two a bit. Not an essential collection but certainly one for Kiwi rock history completists.

Stars: 3/5
Click here to buy A Study in Black / Madrigal.

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