Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 10. 23rd May 1973
Wild Turkey: 'Turkey"
Wild Turkey: 'Turkey"
In an age where pretension is the rule rather than the exception, these two albums, though flawed, come as welcome relief admist the turgid heaviness being doled out so plentifully by the majority of 'progressive' groups.
Wild Turkey is the band formed by ex-Jethro Tull bassist, Glenn Cornick. Where his former group lost itself in Ian Anderson's obscure ramblings concerning his personal visions of God and bricks, Wild Turkey has developed vertically from Tull's peak, Benefit.
Wild Turkey's sound, commendably more lightly textured than most outfits which feature two lead guitarists, is firmly entrenched in a series of catchy riffs built up by Cornick and the drummer, Jeff Jones. The guitarists, Mick Dyche and 'Tweke' Lewis, use these as a springboard for dazzling duets in the finest Wishbone Ash tradition, the best example being 'Universal Man'.
Lyrics are the group's worst stumbling block, too often being trite re-runs of banal acid metzphysics ("there is no future, there is no past/there is nothing but today/for yesterday's tomorrow is tomorrow's yesterday) but even so they are delivered with enough force and conviction by Gary Pickfor-Hopkins to distract your attention from what he's saying to how he's saying it.
Paul Williams also has a very distinctive voice. It's nasal and whining and the first tune it assaults your eardrums, you are forced to think that nobody could get away with that. Eventually, you realise he can, along different lines, but in the same way Dylan or Loudon Wain wright do. His voice has its limitations and sometimes he flounders around, caught out of his depth, as he tries for the high notes. That's irrelevent really. This time it's the message, not the medium.
Williams first drew attention to himself by writing hits for Three Dog Night, among them "Just an old-fashioned love son" — which was included on his first, vastly underrated album, and "Out in the country", which crops up again, in a far superior version on "Life Goes On". Don't let the association of his name with Three Dog Night fool you, the man is a good songwriter, and, with Jackson Browne, can be rated as one of the most inventive lyricists to emerge in recent years.
The overall impression that "Life Goes On" leaves you with is, unfortunately, detracted from by the horn and string arrangements, which clog rather than complement the flow of the songs and by comparison with the uncluttered simplicity of his first effort come off very poorly indeed. For this reason, "That lucky old man", with only a piano and bass backing, come across as one of the strongest cuts, but "Rose" and "Little Girl" are also exemplary instances of Williams' ability to transform the subtler nuances of personal relationships into good music. I kinda dig the title cut too, probably because of the lyric: "Don't waste time talking if you don't have anything to say/ keep your eyes on the open road/ you're a fool if you live in the past/don't waste time fighting if you know that fighting's wrong... don't you get crazy, life goes on".