Published May 18, 2016By the time Terry Reid recorded his masterpiece River in 1973, the British vocalist nicknamed "super lungs" had turned down frontman duties for Led Zeppelin (Robert Plant joined the group upon Reid's recommendation) and had earned praise from the likes of Aretha Franklin, among others. Yet none of that momentum translated to wax, thanks to two underwhelming Mickie Most productions.
The ragged and right eclecticism of the Tom Dowd-produced River was Reid's turning point, artistically. Recorded in extended sessions in London and Los Angeles, rumours have long persisted about a wealth of unreleased material, and they're proven happily true by the cuts that comprise The Other Side of the River.
"Let's Go Down" and "Avenue (F# Boogie)" are loose, tough, funk rockers — the latter's a bluesy delight featuring background vocals by the Ikettes — but the best moments here are the pastoral ones. The alternate take of "Things To Try" is superior to the original, with an easygoing glide and winsome interplay between Reid and David Lindley on acoustic and electric guitar, respectively, while "Funny" (which originally appeared in an altered form on the 2006 River CD reissue) reminds one of the kind of plaintive foreboding so often key to Reid's work that Rob Zombie used tracks from River's followup Seed of A Memory in his magnum opus The Devil's Rejects.
Not everything here was worth saving — the eight-minute jam "Country Brazilian Jam" could have been pared down — but overall, The Other Side of the River is a worthy companion to a classic, unsung album that stands on its own. (Light In The Attic)