It's always great when an obscure 1970's heavy rock gem gets a proper reissue treatment. In this case, it is POOBAH's legendary debut album 'Let Me In', which was originally released in 1972. Unfortunately, it was only a private pressing, so that the band and their music remained rather unknown outside of Ohio, USA. A pity, really, because their hard-driving, riff-centric heavy rock was ready for competition. Even greater that the nice guys at Ripple Music (who are closely connected with The Ripple Effect blog) and POOBAH vocalist/guitarist Jim Gustafson have put their heads together to re-release 'Let me In' in 2010. Well, the result has been simply overwhelming. It's time to throw away all unofficial bootlegs, because here is the real deal. In addition to the original six songs from the LP, this extensive new rediscovery contains twelve previously unreleased bonus tracks, ten on the deluxe double LP. Furthermore 'Let Me In' was remastered from the original tapes by Tony Reed, the mastermind behind Stone Axe and Mos Generator, who is well-known for his excellent work.
When I first heard this album I was floored by it's heaviness and raw fury. This is seriously heavy music - big, fuzzed-out, wild, but sometimes also unexpectedly strange. 'Aww, Not Now' is the best example of POOBAH's own weirdness, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the songs are presented with a little wink. Whether it is their humour or rather a result of psychoactive substances, I don't know. At least it adds a nice psychedelic edge to a few of their tracks, without losing the heaviness of the music. Glenn Wiseman's highly dynamic but astoundingly tasteful drumming will stupefy you. I thought about mentioning a couple of specific spots on the album where he overwhelms me, but that's impossible because the guy never really stops overwhelming me! But also the performance of bass player Phil Jones is flawless and precise. He does give us plenty of motion, along with maintaining the solid bottom needed for these driving rhythms.
There is then, of course, guitarist/vocalist Jim Gustafson who is the specialist for metal-tinged power riffs, which are embedded in classic blues and rock 'n' roll structured songs. In places, the bonus tracks are even better than the LP, even though, of course, the opening song 'Mr. Destroyer' remains one of their best and heaviest tunes. At this point, there were not much other heavy bands around who could hold a candle to POOBAH. This is also proved by 'Make A Man Outta You' that offers another hard rocking ride. 'Enjoy What You Have' is the only calm tune, but otherwise this album is packed with smoking power chords, played at the highest possible volume. Today, after almost 30 years, 'Let Me In' (inclusive of all bonus tracks) is still a very distinctive album that is exhilarating and refreshing. It is good fun to watch the rare photos in the booklet, while listening to the powerful jamming in 'Upside Down Highway'. This album is very highly recommended to all 1970's heavy rock fans, and I hope that Ripple Music unearth more nearly forgotten treasures from the past.