Given the disjointed history of this album, you’d have every right to expect it to be a mess. The band’s third record, it was pieced together in fits and starts during 1977, but Pavlov’s Dog had fallen apart before it was released. And, until 2007, it was only available in a bootleg version. This latest edition has been updated with a vast array of bonus material, mostly live.
But the real bonus lies in the impressive, if understated quality of the original album. The band took a surprising turn towards melodic hard rock, even recording a discarded REO Speedwagon song, namely It’s All For You. There’s also a Marty Balin cover, Today, done to be more commercial. But this track pales alongside Jenny and I Love You Still, both of which balance a new AOR quiver with exhaustive musicality, and David Surkamp’s high-pitched tones.
Under different circumstances, Pavlov’s Dog could have been sitting on a huge seller. The extra tracks really are no more than filler material, although it is intriguing to hear Stop Short, a catchy amalgam of progressive intricacy and a radio friendly tunefulness.
‘Lost classic’ is an overused term, but there’s really no better description for this.