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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