Personnel: Jem Targal (vocals); Drew Abbott (guitars).
Audio Remixer: Ed Friedner .
Liner Note Author: Willy Wilson.
Recording information: Vanguard's 23rd Street Studio, Newyork City.
Editors: Alec Palao; Ray Goodman .
The Third Power were part of the same Detroit high-energy rock scene as the MC5, the Stooges, SRC, and the Frost, but they never achieved the same recognition as many of their peers that were regularly gigging at the Grande Ballroom in the late 1960s, especially outside of their home stage. Believe, the group's only album, reveals more than a few stylistic debts to Cream, especially in the tight, thoughtful interplay of the three musicians and the clear, strong vocals of singer and guitarist Drew Abbott, which bear a certain resemblance to Jack Bruce's style. But the Third Power's songs were less firmly rooted in the blues and lean further into psychedelia and hard rock, while Jim Craig's muscular drumming is less obsessively busy than Ginger Baker's percussive barrage. On songs like "Persecution," "Getting' Together," and "Love Me, Love Me," the Third Power hit hard and strong enough to sound like a potent Detroit rock outfit of the day, but there are enough numbers like "Lost in a Daydream" and "Crystalline Chandelier" to document the group's more languid side, and while legend has it the Third Power were dropped by Vanguard Records shortly after Believe was released because the label thought they were too heavy for them, listening to this back to back with the first two albums by the Frost (fellow Michiganians who also recorded for Vanguard) makes that story pretty hard to swallow. The Third Power had a way with a melody that's impressive for an amped-up power trio of the day, and Abbott's guitar heroics are solid throughout (he later put his talents to more profitable use as a longtime member of Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band), as is Craig's drumming and Jem Targal's bass work. But the production doesn't always work to the music's advantage (especially the fascination with panning, not uncommon for the era), and Believe could stand to rock harder. Despite it all, this album and the band that made it certainly deserved better than the fate they received, and with a bit more experience in the studio, the Third Power could have made a follow-up that better captured the fabled strength they were said to have on-stage. ~ Mark Deming