[Review] Pacific Gas and Electric: Get It On… (1968)

Electric blues rock powered by the vocals of Charlie Allen and the guitar of Glenn Schwartz.

Kronomyth 1.0: Living on blues power.

The first time I reviewed this album, I wasn’t that impressed. No doubt, Charlie Allen was a force and Glenn Schwartz was as good a lead guitarist as you could hope for, but the material didn’t set my soul on fire. A decade later, I tuned into it again and Get It On blew me away. Every groove of that album bled molten fire. I hung on every solo from Schwartz, and Allen owned every word.

There are only a few original tracks on the album: Long Handled Shovel, Stormy Times and Live Love. They’re good, but none of them have stuck with me over the years. The cover material, however, is a different story. I never thought I’d hear a version of Wade in the Water that could hold a candle to The Graham Bond Organisation, but Pacific Gas & Electric come real close. Cry, Cry, Cry (Bobby Bland), The Hunter (Albert King), Motor City’s Burning (MC5) and Jelly Jelly (James Cotton) are just dead-center on.

PG&E were clearly destined for big things, including a new contract with Columbia Records. That Charlie Allen didn’t become a household name, well, I couldn’t tell you why. He has to be the best drummer-turned-singer in the history of rock & roll. The rest of the band completely nails it, and Glenn Schwartz’ solos must have left The James Gang kicking themselves for letting him go. If you enjoy the electric blues, you need to plug into Pacific Gas & Electric’s Get It On.

Original elpee version

A1. Wade in the Water (arranged by Frank Cook/Freddy DeMann) (6:11)
A2. Cry, Cry, Cry (Deadric Malone) (5:25)
A3. Motor City’s Burning (Al Smith) (6:45)
B1. The Hunter (Booker T. Jones/Carl Wells/Al Jackson Jr./Donald Dunn/Steve Cropper) (3:21)
B2. Long Handled Shovel (Pacific Gas & Electric) (3:31)
B3. Jelly Jelly (James Cotton) (6:39)
B4. Stormy Times (Brent Block) (2:43)
B5. Live Love (Tom Marshal*) (3:21)

All tunes in this album arranged by The PG&E.
*Yes, that should be “Marshall.”

The Kent Records Sessions bonus tracks
9. My Sweet Baby (take 6)
10. Dirty Mistreater (take 2)
11. Wade in the Water (undubbed version)
12. Cry, Cry, Cry (take 2)
13. Stormy Times (take 9)
14. Long Handled Shovel (take 8)
15. Jelly Jelly (take 1)
16. The Hunter (take 1)
17. Blues Chant (take 2)

The Players

Charlie Allen (vocals), Brent Block (bass & fuzz-bass), Frank Cook (drums), Tom Marshall (rhythm guitar), Glenn Schwartz (lead guitar) with Joe Sample (organ on A3, piano on B3). Produced by Freddy DeMann & Frank Cook; engineered by Bill Halverson, Bill Cooper.

The Pictures

Front cover art by Ben Talbert. Back cover art by Tom Marshall. Photographs by Pete Senoff.

The Plastic

Released on elpee in 1968 in the US (Brightorange, BO-701) with gatefold cover. Reached #159 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1969 in Canada (Quality, SV-1825).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1970 in the US (Power, P-701) with gatefold cover.
  3. Re-issued on elpee in the US (United, US 7762).
  4. Re-issued on elpee in France (BYG, 529 207) with unique cover.
  5. Re-released on expanded compact disc on April 29, 2008 in the UK (Big Beat, CDWIKD-272) with 9 bonus tracks (The Kent Records Sessions).

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