Artist: Tin Drum
CD: Small Parade
Quote: "At the band's core is the husband-wife team of Burleigh
Drummond and Mary Harris. Burleigh was the founding drummer of Ambrosia, a key
group that helped define the sound of rock music in the late '70's".
By Les Reynolds
While the name Tin Drum sounds like a toy, it beats a strong and true rhythm
throughout its solid 14-song CD "Small Parade."
A succession of tunes built around an excellent rhythm section, punctuated
by keyboards and good vocals, "Small Parade" marches to a slightly different
At the band's core is the husband-wife team of Burleigh Drummond and Mary
Harris. Burleigh was the founding drummer of Ambrosia, a key group that helped
define the sound of rock music in the late '70's. (And his last name seems
no coincidence here, either.)
It's his insistent, dead-center and sometimes intricate percussion patterns
that now define the foundation of this band.
Burleigh is joined by his singer-songwriter wife Mary, who is the sweet soprano
voice throughout the CD and the one on keyboards and piano. Rounding out the
band are the other half of the rhythm section in bassist Mick Mahan and they're
also joined by guitarist/vocalist Larry Treadwell.
While most of these original tracks are good and a few could bear mentioning
due to some musical factor or other, there are five that really stand out.
The title track, which opens the CD, combines most of the ingredients that
make this an excellent work: solid bass and percussion, Mary's sweet vocals
breezing in and around the lyrics and an overall swaying feel to it.
The mid-tempo "Johnny" follows it, with the male vocal sounding a bit like
Luka Bloom and the background support very much like a pop '70's tune. But
"Wailing Wall" could perhaps be the CD's best tune -- starting off with an
Afro-Caribbean drum/piano and what sound like minor keys. A bit on the spooky
side with Mary singing in a near-whisper as she drops her voice a bit:
"I kissed the wailing wall.
Unlocked the Red Sea.
Drink holy water.
Say Abba father,
Lay your hands on me.
This is my darkest day.
The sun has gone away.
Hey, I know this story.
...the road to glory.
We can only pray..."
Larry's electric guitar weaves a rather ominous "wailing" thread on a solo
later in the song which punctuates the dark mood.
Perhaps the best showcase for simple melody, voice and instrument is "All
I Want", which showcases Mary's soft vocals, nice backup effect and sparse
"Luck of the Irish" is an energetic minor key piano-driven instrumental number
which is very hypnotic and haunting at the same time. Dr. James Sitterly's
violin (guest musician) adds a richness to the tune that would be missing without
it and Larry's sparse mandolin does the same. This tune slows and speeds up,
ebbs and flows, but it's Mary's piano that really sets the tone and holds
A lot of former rockers try their hands at resurrection, new start-up bands
and revivals of their own careers and come up short. This formula works. It's
innovative and well-executed. An all-around, well-deserved "well-done."