Deep cuts: Help – Christian power trio featuring future Doobie Brothers drummer

Help, 'Second Coming' album cover

Help were a Christian power trio from California that included future Doobie Brothers drummer Chet McCracken. They released an excellent self-titled album for Decca in 1970, the style of which was very melodic rural-rock. By the time of their second album, Second Coming, they had incorporated distortion, fuzz and wah-wah which made them a more incendiary hard rock outfit.

Opening track Do You Understand The Words is a stormer, spiced with acid guitar from Jack Merrill. Pounding drums, tight production, solid bass playing and strong vocal melodies throughout the album make for a pleasurable listen, although it’s the guitar playing of Merrill that makes Second Coming such a curio for hard-rock/proto-metal fans.

However, although the band gained in heaviness and aural assault on Second Coming, they seemed to have lost the high-quality songwriting of their debut.

The positive vibe of the lyrics and singing can often come across as too happy for a punishing hard-rock band. Then there’s the nine-minute epic Dear Lord, which can be something of a test for a Black Sabbath fan.

The album’s second half, however, features an intense, heavy jam, showing off their accomplished talents. Oh My features a killer lead riff and is one of the heavier tracks, along with All Day and its infectious, funky wah-wah riff.

An extremely rare UK pressing of Second Coming also exists and has a considerably higher market value.

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Lee Dorrian

Lee Dorrian is best known as a former member of grindcore band Napalm Death and later frontman of doom metal band Cathedral. Currently a member of stoner metal supergroup With the Dead, he founded his own record label, Rise Above Records, in 1988. They've released albums by Ghost, Twin Temple, Orange Goblin, Pentagram, Sunn O))) and many more. He writes the Buried Treasure column for Classic Rock magazine, about rare underground rock records.