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Fear Itself were more of a blues group caught in the psyche energy of 1966. Members comprised of ex Electric Blues vocalist Ellen McIlwaine , Chris Zaloom lead guitar ex Soldiers bassist Steve Cook, replaced by Paul Album and drummer Bill McCord.
Fear Itself lived on the edge playing clubs like Cafe Bizarre in New York and eventually performing at Woodstock after their debut single, a cover of the Youngbloods’ “Grizzly Bear”/ “In My Time Of Dying” - hacked from Blind Willie Johnson’s “Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed", later covered by Led Zeppelin. It is here that Ellen makes her voice sound like a guitar. The single was a live performance at the Catacombs.
The groups 1969 Fear Itself was spurred on by a promo jazzy version of Wayne Carson Thompson’s country hit “The Letter” backed by Booker T’s “Born Under A Bad Sign”. From the inception of their self titled album Ellen kicks into raunchy version of John Lee Hooker’s “Crawlin’ Snake” which slides into a lethargic yet astounding scat styled number called “Underground River”.
Fear Itself somewhere between Great Society and Haymarket Square surge dominantly through the Prog styled “For Suki” and lamenting “Mossy Dream” with additional keyboards. Ellen keeps the blues alive on the Library Of Congress classic “Lazarus” written previously by James Carter & the Prisoners.
Sadly Paul was killed by a drunken driver which resulted in the break up of the band. Ellen moved gloriously forward as one of the finest steel guitarist in the US with numerous blues albums supported by Ville Emard Blues Band and Jack Bruce. Chris Zaloom ended up playing with The Band and Bill Mc Cord played jazz with Double Standard Band and Jazz Society.
Mclliwaine produced many solo albums in the seventies when she spent much of her time in Canada. Paul Album was also in Chrysalis.
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