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Published: 2004/01/27
by Ray Hogan

All You Can Eat – The Recipe

Harmonized Records 015

The Recipe, a West Virginia collective, uses elements of bluegrass as both a

base and launching pad for a thoroughly engaging live disc that thrives on

an overwhelming good time spirit. Think neo-hippie hoe-down more than

technically perfected picking. The six musicians aren't schleps by any means

but realize that – particularly in a live setting – their brand of music is

meant to move bodies rather than stroke cerebrums.

Like Old & In the Way, The Recipe proves that a group need not grow up with

the bluegrass tradition to help add to it. "Playing in My Dreams (Davies

Jubilee Chapter 3)" opens the disc with a fairly typical rapid and intricate

intro but, when singer Julie Edlow enters the fray, it's easy to realize

band is adding new elements to the tested sound. Namely, she attacks the

song like a rocker. Nothing high, lonesome or disconnected about the way she

fits her powerful pipes into the mix. Same goes for Joe Prichard who, in

addition to his guitar and banjo work, adds earthy vocals to many of the

tracks. "Breaking Out," in which the rhythm section buoys the kinetic speed

of the strings, shows that Prichard would also make a fine singer in either

country or Southern rock bands.

The bluegrass-tinged material may dominate the majority of the hour-plus

but there are some interesting detours.

At 12:34, "The Seed," is an anomaly and a treat. The band shifts gears to

proto-psychedelic rock and could easily pass as the Jefferson Airplane at

their best. The vocal harmonies between Prichard and Edlow have an uncanny

resemblance to those of Marty Balin and Grace Slick in the vintage years.

Depending on your taste, "The Seed" might be the standout track.

The silly-named "Playground Belly-flop" would appear to be a centerpiece at

nearly 17 minutes but quickly turns into a percussion workout between Gregg

Lowley and Tom Whelan. Extremely reminiscent of Mickey Hart/Billy Kreutzmann

battles before they busted out the toys, it devolves into a bass solo, which

have best been done without — at least on the disc.

The Recipe aren't reinventing anything but they're having a really good time

and project a hearty spirit that's hard to resist. Few concert albums

translate the energy of a show into a worthwhile and complete listen.

You Can Eat is filled with such energy.

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