TITLE: The Second
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: #3
SINGLES: Magic Carpet Ride (#3)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Radio stayed away from the rest, and still does.
LINEUP: John Kay, Michael Monarch, Goldie McJohn, Rushton Moreve, Jerry Edmonton.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Steppenwolf’s second (hence the title) is lighter at times, more psychedelic, more political, and more of a hodge-podge (and strained through a Leslie, as it were).
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Magic Carpet Ride” was a monster hit, of that there is no question, and is one of the best hard psychedelic songs from the era. And at first listen, this record seems like it will be a worthy successor to their first album.
Yet upon more listens, it seems weaker and more unfocused.
The band does try to mix up their sound, getting quieter at times and diminishing the hard sound of the first album. But many of those quieter songs don’t really stand up to scrutiny, with only “28” really being outstanding, while “Tighten Up Your Wig” sounds nice but is a blatant rip of “Messin’ with the Kid”.
The sides end with lengthy tracks. “Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam” is a ham-fisted pro-pot song, while the end of Side Two is a long suite with five tracks that range from hard rockin’ to scarily political. There’s some duds in there which dilute the quality of the suite.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Drummer Jerry Edmonton sings two tracks, the openers to each side.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE B: There’s enough good stuff in here to have it over a greatest hits album, but it’s not as good as I thought it was when I was young.