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German pressing; gatefold sleeve
New York-born singer/bassist Phil Trainer had spent several years traveling the world playing in various bands. He'd also spent some time with former Shorty and Them keyboardist Alan Reeves in a band called Clinic.
- 1970's "La Route de Salina" (Les Disgues Motors catalog MT 44001)
- 1971's "Now We're Even" (Horse catalog number HS 400-003)
The original Clinic never attracted much attention, but in 1969 Trainer was living in Paris where he crossed paths with fellow American singer/guitarist Phil Brigham. Having moved to Paris with his family, Brigham was still in high school. Attending The American School of Paris, he'd started a rock band with fellow students Chris Hayward and Gerry Murphy. Along with Reeves, Trainer recruited the three high schoolers for a new version of Clinic. Clinic then recorded an interesting film soundtrack and a strong studio album before calling it quits in 1971. Trainer subsequently struck out in pursuit of a solo career.
Signed by BASF (which didn't bother releasing the resulting album in the US), 1971's "Trainer" is probably best known for the fact the collection found Trainer working with the British folk rock band Trees. No idea how the collaboration came about, but it seemingly marked Trees' final recording as a band. With Trainer producing and credited with writing all ten tunes, musically the album wasn't particularly original, but to my ears, proved surprisingly enjoyable. The fact Trainer had a likeable, if slightly anonymous voice and consistently displayed an affection for commercial, occasionally country-rock tinged melodies certainly didn't hurt. In view of tracks like 'She's Gone West', 'In the City', and 'Live Together' it certainly didn't hurt to be a country-rock fans. Still, atypical hard rocking tracks like 'Stud' and 'No No No' provided the album's standout performances.
For hard core collectors, the French version of the album (EMI/Columbia catalog number 2 C 064-93969) featured alternate cover art.
"Trainer" track listing:
1.) The Promised Land (Phil Trainer) - 3:45 rating: ** stars
Judging by the bluesy 'The Promised Land' Trainer probably should have avoided singer in higher registers. This one actually sounded like a second-rate T-Rex number.
2.) Beautiful Jim (Phil Trainer) - 5:57 rating: *** stars
Written as a tribute to the late Jim Morrison after Trainer and a couple of his Clinic cohorts met the singer in a Paris Left banke cafe and spent a little time hanging out with him,, 'Beautiful Jim' was a pretty enough ballad. Always liked the combination of Bias Boshell's church organ touches and Barry Clarke's shattering lead guitar. The downside to this one came in the form of Trainer's overly sentimental lyrics. Yeah, I'm sure Morrison deserved the saint-like praise being dropped on him. LOL The song was tapped as an English single:
- 1972's' Beautiful Jim' v/w 'No No No' (BASF catalog number 05-19573-7)
3.) No No No (Phil Trainer) - 3:55 rating: *** stars
Can't say 'No No No' was the most original rocker I've ever stumbled across, but it was energetic and the title track refrain kind of grew on you after a couple of spins. EMI/Columbia tapped the song as the French single:
- 1972's 'No No No' b/w 'Promised Land' (Columbia catalog number 2C 006-93 588)
4.) She's Gone West (Phil Trainer) - 4:17 rating: *** stars
'She's Gone West ' offered up an unexpected country-rock-tinged ballad. Quite pretty in a throwaway Firefall style. Extra star for Clarke's pretty guitar washes.
5.) No Change Baby (Phil Trainer) - 4:38
1.) Stud (Phil Trainer) - 3:15 rating: **** stars
It opened up with what sounded like the riff from Shocking Blue's 'Venus' and the lyric was almost embarrassingly bad "Everybody knows, baby what I can do ..." , but 'Stud' sported the album's hardest rocking melody and some killer wah wah lead guitar from Barry Clarke..
2.) In The City (Phil Trainer) - 4:51 rating: **** stars
Not quite sure why (may it had something to do with the Telecaster guitar work), but 'In the City' has always reminded me of an up-tempo Bread tune crossed with a 10cc ballad. I have to admit that I quite liked the results.
3.) Leave Me Alone (Phil Trainer) - 4:02 rating: *** stars
A pretty, slightly jazzy ballad. 'Leave Me Alone' saw Barry Lyons opening up with some raga-flavored dulcimer which also gave the tune a slightly lysergic flavor. Elsewhere the song gave Trees singer Celia Humphries a shot at the forefront.
4.) Rose-Coloured Sky (Phil Trainer) - 4:20 rating: *** stars
'Rose Coloured Sky' was another country-rock ballad that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Firefall, or Poco album.
5.) Live Together (Phil Trainer) - 9:42 rating: **** stars
With a Southern rock flavor (kind of a Marshall Tucker vibe), 'Live Together' opened up with a nice keyboard segment. The melody has always reminded me of another tune, though I can't pin it down. Clocking in at over nine minutes, the song was way too long, but actually flew by quickly.