RAMATAM - Ramatam
Although these days it is no big thing, to have a female lead guitarist in 1969 was something of a rarity, and that was always going to be the focus of US band Ramatam. April Lawton was the female in question, and there is no doubt that she can certainly play her instrument, so much so that after the first few tracks you forget that fact and just enjoy the music for what it is. She doesn't actually get to sing, so the overall sound of the album is pretty straight-forward US hard rock, with touches of brass on some tracks, and the added bonus of ex-Jimi Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell and ex-Iron Butterfly guitarist Mike Pinera in their ranks. All of the band contribute to the writing in various permutations, and it is to their credit that all of the songs on this album hang together extremely well. The faster numbers fare the best, as they give Lawton a chance to show off her licks, and a track like 'Ask Brother Ask' is a superb hard rocker. They do classy ballads as well, with 'What I Dream I Am' being one of the best, and they close the album with the six minutes plus of 'Can't Sit Still', which has some of Lawton's best soloing. The one downside to this is that the album is extremely hard to find, and as a record of this quality really does deserve to be heard it is good news that it has just been re-issued on CD.