Have Some More Gypsy!

Originally posted January 14, 2008

Almost a year ago, I wrote about Gypsy, the band from Minnesota that started in the mid-1960s as the Underbeats and then went to Los Angeles, changed its name and got a recording contract. With that post, I shared two of the group’s albums, the two-LP debut, Gypsy, and the follow-up, In The Garden.

Since then, I’ve had sitting in my pile of LPs two other albums by Gypsy: Antithesis from 1972 and Unlock the Gates from 1973. I finally got around to recording and ripping the first of those this morning. I have to admit that I don’t know it as well as I know the first two albums, but Antithesis seems of a type – lots of early 1970s guitar, with the organ sometimes providing a base and at least once being in the foreground. Add one piano ballad, and you’ve got what almost adds up to a formula, as the approach that was so fresh on Gypsy doesn’t sound quite as new three years later. That’s especially true since the material – all original, with guitarist Enrico Rosenbaum getting the bulk of the writing credits – isn’t quite as strong as the material on the earlier albums.

Still, the group was made up of fine musicians, and there’s plenty of good playing on the record. This was the first of two albums the group recorded for RCA (a third, from 1978, would be credited to the James Walsh Gypsy Band) after two on the smaller Metromedia label. As I noted last February, the first album earned good reviews and some FM airplay around the country, but promotion was spotty and there were a lot of groups recording and trying to be the next big thing. As a result, Gypsy never quite broke through, although the group’s debut remains – to my ears, anyway – a classic album.

Antithesis isn’t quite that good, and – if anything – the competition for radio play and sales had gotten tougher as radio formats began to get tighter (though still nowhere near as constricted as they are today) and the sheer volume of music in the marketplace continued to grow. From what I can tell, RCA didn’t release a single from Antithesis, although the songs were generally shorter and more concise than most of the tracks on the first two albums were. Nevertheless, some tracks from Antithesis – “Day After Day,” “Young Gypsy,” “So Many Promises” and the title track – did get some airplay, according to a site that tracks Gypsy’s history.

All in all, Antithesis is a good effort. Nothing on the record comes close to the best moments of the first two albums – “Gypsy Queens, Parts 1 and 2” from the debut and “As Far As You Can See (As Much As You Can Feel)” from In The Garden – but it’s still a good listen.

Tracks:
Crusader
Day After Day
The Creeper
Facing Time
Lean On Me
Young Gypsy
Don’t Bother Me
Travelin’ Minnesota Blues
So Many Promises
Antithesis (Keep Your Faith)
Edgar (Don’t Hoover Over Me)
Money

Gypsy – Antithesis [1972]

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