Tom Hayes 4-Sep-2006 A Pound of Flesh

Classic private label Midwest hard rock from 1975, this time hailing from Minneapolis, MN. Most known for its grotesque cover of human flesh pulled out of a can, this perhaps a reflection on local Minnesota meat packing employers and the continuing labor strife issues that were particularly strained in the 70s and 80s (as documented in the movie “American Dream”). I’ve gone on before about these type of bands, all played for local hard working Union guys, high school flunkies and just general no-goods and never-beens. And their girlfriends… “Yea dude, she’s a stripper over at Peek-a-Booze and loves to get loaded and rock!” Overall, Cain’s debut album would have to be designated as average hard rock fare for the time. Guitarist Lloyd Forsberg certainly holds his own, while vocalist Jiggs Lee (gotta love that name) gives a decent high pitched blues rock performance. The major problem are the songs themselves, none stand out or are memorable in any way. When Cain stretches a composition past the 4 minute mark, then more talent is revealed. ‘Katy’, ‘Badside’, and the longest, the eight minute ‘All My Life’ shows an almost progressive like nature – closer to Styx than Yes though. Lyrically, these guys hit a smelly whiskey bar homerun. Check these gems out: “She’s long and lean, she’s got the meanest streak you’ve even seen. Just a South Side Queen…”. “Well, if you you (sic) ain’t getting’ (sic) any and you’re really stuck on looks, you find yourself in the bathroom sittin’ down with the picture books, you take your situation in hand.” I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. The real irony is that the CD booklet, written by the band, states “(the album) originally was intended to have a very ethereal theme with a reference to William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’”. Methinks the years of booze and partying created a delusional revisionist history. And about the cover? “The resulting cover was the idea of (original label) ASI Records’ marketing department run amok. “A Pound of Flesh” is a real party starter and a must own for hard rock hounds and anyone who appreciates the Monster (now Rockadrome) Records aesthetic. Time to go on strike and grab a bottle of Grain Belt beer, cause Cain’s playing tonight at “Humpin’ Hannah’s”.

Links for further information