Sunday, August 24, 2014


Fear Itself was a short-lived psychedelic blues-rock band formed by Ellen McIlwaine in the late 1960's in Atlanta, Georgia. The band featured McIlwaine singing lead vocals as well as performing harp, rhythm guitar and organ. Chris Zaloom performed lead guitar, Steve Cook played bass guitar, and Bill McCord was on drums. (Steve Cook left Fear Itself after this album was recorded and Paul Album joined the group playing bass guitar.)
Fear Itself was rooted in heavy bluesrock, and had some inspirations from Cream, and Hendrix. What made this group so different is partly the lead of the female singer, who's voice ranges wide in expressions, recalling names like Janis Ian /Janis Joplin, from gospel,blues to hard rock. Very funny is the “daddy won’t you be my man” on “Bow’d up” like a housewife blues joke, which finds a breakpoint into the powerful heavy rock of “For Suki”, this time with a Grace Slick reference, but with balls, over to a very clear Linda Hoyle & Affinity reference on the very strong and powerful “In my time of dying”, a song rooted in Bob Dylan interpreted as heavy psychrock, here also with some raw blues electric guitar lava outbursts. Also "Lazarus" with electric guitar duels and emotional power in the voice, is another killer. Very soulful with additional keyboards is "Mossy Dream".
After the bass guitarist was killed by a drunk driver, the group parted, and singer Ellen McIlwaine moved over to Canada to start a successful solo career.
The group performed at TheWoodstock Sound Out Festival in 1968, and eventually separated after the bass guitarist Paul Album was killed by a drunk driver. McIlwaine later moved to Canada and started a solo career.
  1. Crawling Kingsnake (J.L.Hooker, B.Bassman)
  2. Underground River (Ellen McIlwaine)
  3. Bow'd Up (Ellen McIlwaine)
  4. For Suki (Ellen McIlwaine)
  5. In My Time Of Dying (Traditional arr. by Ellen McIlwaine)Side Two
  1. The Letter (W.C. Thompson)
  2. Lazarus (Traditional arr. by Ellen McIlwaine)
  3. Mossy Dream (Ellen McIlwaine)
  4. Billy Gene (Ellen McIlwaine)
  5. Born Under A Bad Sign (Ellen McIlwaine)



snakeboy said...

If nothing else you're making me dig deep into my record collection. Going to be strange hearing this without the pops and clicks. Good idea re: forgotten bands who "fell through the cracks".

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