Pavlov's Dog: Julia (1975)

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Pavlov's Dog: Julia (1975)

Sometimes there is just That Voice . . . a vocal delivery which is arresting, sublime, idiotic and otherworldly all that same time.

And so it was with the vocals of David Surkamp, the singer with the prog-rock band Pavlov's Dog out of St Louis, who seemed to possess in equal parts the sound of Robert Plant's high drama, Leo Sayer on steroids and someone grabbing his balls in vice.

Surkamp could have probably shattered cut-glass: Song Dance on the band's debut album Pampered Menial (from which this song Julia was the kick-off single) starts with his window rattling vibrato/falstetto and moves on up from there.

In Pavlov's Dog -- mellotron and flute from Doug Rayburn, Steve Scorfina of guitar, Siegfried Carver on violin and viola, and others -- he briefly found his vehicle.

They enjoyed -- and we briefly endured perhaps -- a short career by this fascinatingly prog-to-mockopera band who recorded another album The Sound of the Bell, and then disappeared after they were dropped because of ridiculously small album sales and no visible singles.

They broke up in '78, just three years after the over-emotional Julia. Needless to say some version of the band exists today and plays to a "selective" audience.

Well, they were always going to be an acquired taste (I have both albums, love 'em) and if you didn't get their prog-drama then there was nothing more could be said in their defense.

And although Surkamp had That Voice, it probably wasn't one that would have you -- like Pavlov's dogs -- salivating for more.

Yet there was that strange something . . . 

For more one-offs, oddities and songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults

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mick c - Jul 10, 2010

Definitely agree with you there - 'Pampered Menial' was one of the finest and most original albums of the 70's, and THAT voice was just incredible. Such a shame their existence was so brief!

Allan m - Jul 19, 2010

After now listening to "that voice" I understand why this album was found in 2nd hand record shops in the 80's in the 10's if not hundred's. Was alway intrigued by the band name and the album cover art but never bought one to listen.

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