RABBITT - Croak & Grunt in the Night

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This is a Japanese reissue from the mid-00s. It comes with the full art work, liner notes in Japanese, obi strips but the discs are professional CD-rs for the press that they did. 1977 album from Trevor Rabin's first band in South Africa. VERY RARE, going for $100, my loss, your gain if you resell on Ebay or Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Croak-Grunt-Night-RABBITT/dp/B01G66KKEW/ref=ntt_mus_ep_dpi_2

"The title 'TC Rabin in D minor', the opening Brian May-like instrumental track, conveys the supreme confidence of Trevor and this band - and when you hear Rabin's powerful multi-layered guitar you realise this is indeed special as it segues into the ballad with strings and the plaintiff singing of "I sleep alone". Then the drums kick in and the title track punches in. You are aware of slick 70's production and expressive guitar which ends with an extensive wah-wah inflected solo over Rabin's characteristic use of a full studio of strings.

'Everybody's cheating' an emotional ballad begins, with big vocal harmonies, piano and catchy tune - the influence at best is Beatles but I do think of the Carpenters as well. The listener is then catapulted into a Neil Cloud drum extravaganza couched in another Rabin glam rock track. It must be remembered that this is Rabin in his early 20's playing in a heart-throb pretty-boy band and so tracks like 'Searching' do sound like typical glam rock ballads with all the syrupy strings and gushing vocals. Yet in spite of this, there is strong melody, world class guitaring plus subtle twists and rich harmonies that are up there by 1977 standards internationally let alone in the politically and culturally secluded South Africa of that time.

The heaviest track "Working for the people", the only all band composition, pounds away with bass, menacing strings, reverb extreme, multi-layered guitar interludes plus an oblique reference to what was happening with riot torn SA of 1976. If it was a statement, it was a subtle pushing the boundaries that had more in keeping with rebel boy rock and the risqué cover of Rabin naked behind a guitar than a political statement.

Although the CD does not refer to sides I refer to the original vinyl as this explains why we have the beautiful 'Schumann' multi-layered guitar instrumental introduction at the 'start of side 2'. (Listen to both the opening track and 'Schumann' as these are played in their entirety in the Amazon sampler.) "Hold on to love" is emotion drenched track that clearly Rabin thought stood the test of time as he included a different version on his solo album 'Can't look away'. This is then followed by the "Dingley's bookshop" that forever enshrines the name 'Pietmaritzburg' in a pop song. What is of interest is that this was written as a jingle for an SATV sitcom which does put the lyrics in context and the Beatles like ending.

For that time period, what was significant was having Margaret Singana forcefully singing 'Tribal fence' that pointed to a new South Africa in the distant future. By choosing her as the only guest artist on their long awaited album, Rabbitt were aligning themselves with more progressive elements in South Africa. Listen to the tone of Rabin's guitar in the short solo for a glimpse of what was still to come on 90125 [Expanded] with their number one hit, 'Owner of a lonely heart'.

Fusion rock and instrumental prowess is on display in "Never Gonna Ruin my Life" and "Take it easy". This was certainly bold for South African pop in the 70's and I remember thinking back then that Rabbitt could break into the international rock market. As we know this never happened but instead Rabin went on to join and influence the mighty progressive rock group, Yes; Neil Cloud toured with Peter Frampton and Duncan Faure joined the Bay City Rollers - all international recognition and huge achievement for four friends from Joburg.

Happily listening to this old album again for the umpteenth time, I still enjoy and listen to all the tracks." - AMAZON