April Wine – On Record (Album Review)

April Wine – On Record

Have you ever listened to an artist’s later release and say to yourself “geeze they don’t sound anything like their first or second album.” Canadian rock band April Wine is a band that fits that description.  Songs like “sign of the gypsy queen” and “Just between you and me” are April Wine’s signature hits and show how different they sound from their earlier releases. Not to say that they sound better or worse over time, more to say it is interesting to see how various band’s evolve creatively over a period of time

April Wine’s 1972 album On Record was their second release and has elements of rock, folk, funk mixed with ballads and harmonic instrumental passages. There are also some inspired and not so inspired cover songs as well. The standout tracks are “Could have been a lady”, which is an unusual cover originally done by Hot Chocolate. What makes this song stand out are the fuzzy guitar riffs and the tight rhythm section consisting of Bassist Jim Clench and Drummer Rich Henman. Rich’s brother, Dave Henman plays guitar and along with the only current original member and main composer, Guitarist and vocalist Myles Goodwin form a solid dual guitar combo.

There are some not so great covers as well. “Bad side of the moon” an Elton John original comes across as a bit dreary and is somewhat boring as well. Other details for “On Record “include some strange orchestral bumper music between songs that make the album sound fragmented and are a little confusing as to when the songs start and finish. In an era of prog rock excess and over produced masterpieces, I guess it could be even more over the top. Other great tracks are a great ballad “Didn’t You” and the instrumental opener “Farkus.” Overall “On Record” is an underrated album that shows April Wine in their formative years. From listening you get the feeling they are still finding their way and perfecting their sound. This album is still worth checking out and giving it a spin.

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