Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top 100

Mahogany Rush IV 1976
When I was 20, I listened to a lot of out there, different, eclectic stuff. Yes, he's ripped off Hendrix and I always thought the idea of someone having a near death experience and then returning while capturing the "spirit" of Jimi was a bit much, ( that was the rumour we heard) but this guy can play. I really liked "Strange Universe", and while "Strange Universe" got way out there with some wired and weird shit, this was the release that got me to enjoy Frank Marino's music. He pulled in the "Hendrix" stuff and started to concentrate on making more accessible, strongly crafted music. The album starts with "I'm Going Away", a very melodic song that builds and builds, such a departure from the over the top playing on "SU". "I'm Going Away" is a funky number that does have a Hendrix feel to it. "The Answer" is one of my favorites and I would say the guitar playing on here rivals most. He's backed by a fine pair of guys who provide a nice rhythm section. Yeah, like Hendrix, it's a three piece band. "Jive Baby" is a time and tempo changer that's filled with great funk and nice chops. "It's Begun To Rain" might be my favorite of the bunch, slow, moody and played with great dynamics. A perfect song for a rainy day. "Dragonfly" is a great Robin Trower song, it sounds more like Trower than anyone other than Robin, who many people have criticized for sounding like Hendrix. "Little Sexy Annie" is a fuel driven guitar work out. He lets it rip on this one. "Moonwalk" was the one that I'd play to stump my friends..."well, it's sounds like Hendrix". "Emperor IV" is the slow, drifting epic that closes out the record.
If you are a guitar fan, go to Frank's website http://www.mahoganyrush.com/ and check these out for yourself. Here's the story about the Hendrix rumour and all of that.
He was born Francesco Antonio Marino on November 20, 1954 in Montreal, Canada. Half Italian and half Arabic, Frank is one of five children and only has a 7th grade education that even included a short stint in military school. "Those years were the late sixties and everyone was into the hippie peace movement and we were so busy getting stoned that we certainly didn't want to attend school. All we did besides getting stoned was listen to Hendrix, The Doors, The Beatles and a few others as well as getting involved in movements such as peace, love, anti-war etc. Those were definitely the days, not like now where many young people seem to be into negativism and hate".
It was during those days that his experimentation with LSD would lead him to what was later to become the definition of his life. As a young person doing far too much acid, he couldn't really understand when it finally caught up with him and gave him such an incredibly vivid experience that was so overwhelming, that it landed him in the hospital. "This experience became the basis of everything that I was to do in music, including the name Mahogany Rush, which was a description I would use to describe a certain sensation that I was having on the trip. The artwork on the albums, Child of the Novelty and Strange Universe are an artist's rendition of my trip as told by me to the artist, Ivan Schwartz, who has since passed away".
Since this early drug experience later became known to the press that covered his career, and since he played much in the style of Jimi Hendrix who had recently died, these sensationalists created stories that to this very day Frank has tried immensely and unsuccessfully to dismiss. "The most often heard story is that I took an overdose and woke up from a coma in the hospital and somehow became the spirit of Hendrix, or that I met this spirit and it entered me, endowing me with this amazing ability to play a guitar and magically know everything about it. Later on the story changed into a version that said I was in a car accident, died and came back as Jimi Hendrix in my body. They never ask me the truth and when I told them, they wouldn't listen. The short truth about it is that I learned how to play guitar while recuperating from my trip. The guitar became a soothing help for me because of my great fear of letting my mind wander back into the trip if I wasn't occupied and besides it was the only thing in the hospital relaxation room. I never even thought about the guitar before since I played the drums quite well anyway. I had this trip while Hendrix was still alive and began to play his music because it matched perfectly to what I was going through at the time".
It was only a few short years later after many different band members, that Frank Marino recorded his first album. "In the early years I played in a church and even on a float in a parade. I did mostly cover songs by The Doors, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Cream, Johnny Winter, The Beatles and even The Grateful Dead as well as a few originals that I had written".
Frank Marino's music never reached the mainstream of popularity, but has had a devoted fan base that has grown over the years. Being sober now for over 35 years, he still plays with the enthusiasm that he's always had. Frank is into his music and doesn't really care for the business side of it and has always produced his own albums as well as writing and arranging all of the music.
If you ever get a chance to see him play live, don't pass it up. I have been a devoted fan for 34 years and welcome any newcomers with open arms.

2 comments:

Brian Holland said...

I remember precious little about FM&MR except for their appearance many moons ago on "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert". I don't remember the name of the song they played, but I distinctly remember Frank tacking on a few bars of the "Mickey Mouse Club" theme at the end of it.

Wes said...

Help this old brain out here a bit.....he did a great 9 minute or maybe longer song/compilation that had "She's Not There" intertwined....what was that?

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