Masters of Reality – Masters of Reality

         1988 Def American

Yet another gem created with master producer Rick Rubin at the helm, Masters of Reality is an album cherished by the few of us who bought it and, alas, even know it exists.  It stands today as one of the greatest tributes ever to 70’s classic rock.

Let’s get this out of the way:  this album is very much what Cream would probably sound like if they were together today, if maybe a little harder rocking.  The comparison is inevitable, given the classic rock feel of the thing, thanks to another great no-frills Rubin production job hot on the heels of the Cult’s mighty ‘Electric.’  And oh yes, Chris Goss’ vocals are a dead ringer for Jack Bruce’s fragile yet emotive voice.   Cream drummer/percussionist Ginger Baker must have thought so, too, as he was the drummer on MOR’s follow-up disc ‘Sunrise On The Sufferbus.’

The hooks are all over this disc, as well as a sense of fun tribute to their obvious classic rock influences.   Some of the lyrics are indeed delightfully silly, obviously on purpose given the intelligence of the band members themselves (“…seems that I can’t chew on whipped cream”…what?!).   Songs that really rock here are stoked and kickin’ opener “Domino,” “The Blue Garden” and the nostalgically goofy “Candy Song.”

“Magical Spell” just makes me crack a smile every time I hear it and you can even hear Chris Goss cracking a smile while he sings it, the song taking a kinda hokey and almost waltzy swing groove and making it almost impossible not to raise a cold one and sing along.  My copy of the album has the blue cover you see above, while the copies most commonly found on the internet have the other cover and contain an extra track…the wonderfully hypnotic “Doraldina’s Prophecies.”

A playful joyful rock album, the chorus chant of “John Brown” says it all:  “Holiday, holiday.  I declare a holiday.”  I mean, come on…who in their right mind can argue with THAT?!

Rating:  4.5 out of 5