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Pure Food and Drug Act - Choice Cuts (1972)



Harvey Mandel - lead guitar
Don "Sugarcane" Harris - electric violin, vocals
Paul Lagos - drums
Randy Resnick - rhythm guitar
Victor Conte -bass

Although blues violinist and singer Don "Sugarcane" Harris and guitarist Harvey Mandel recorded together on more than one occasion, this is the only recording they made as the very short-lived group Pure Food & Drug Act. Aside from this 1972 release's strange cover, which might be considered borderline kiddie porn in the 21st century, they do a satisfactory (though hardly outstanding) set of their own brand of blues-rock. Mostly recorded live in Seattle at the Fresh Air Tavern, some of the music was overdubbed at later mixing sessions. Harris has sounded better on violin on his own dates from this era; his two collaborations with Shuggie Otis (who doesn't appear on this release), "A Little Soul Food" and "Do It Yourself" grown tiresome quickly. The take of "Where's My Sunshine" pales in comparison to his live version on the BASF LP Sugarcane's Got the Blues. Their interpretation of the Beatles "Eleanor Rigby" is a hard rocking feature for Mandel's guitar. Oddly enough, one of the strongest cuts doesn't involve the Pure Food & Drug Act at all. A local folk musician, Jim Luff, improvised a quick introduction for the band's live set, which is used to open the record. Although it is hardly a memorable song, it has an energy that the main act never manages to achieve throughout the entire release. Fans of Don "Sugarcane" Harris can safely bypass this disc. --- Ken Dryden, AllMusic

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