Max Webster – High Class In Borrowed Shoes
Released March 1st, 1977 on Anthem Records
Canadian guitar hero Kim Mitchell, before he found quasi-fame as a solo artist and, much later, the drive time DJ for Toronto’s classic rock powerhouse Q107, was in a little Seventies hard rock band called Max Webster. While better known songs would come from their third album (including “A Million Vacations”), their second album is more consistent. This is pure Seventies prog-pop-rock, make no mistake. If you like Rush but hate all the Ayn Rand fanboying and all the endless concepts, or you like Supertramp but feel like they’re just not cheesy enough, High Class In Borrowed Shoes is the right direction to travel in. The title track, “America’s Veins”, “Rain Child”, and the stoned-in-a-convertible “Oh War” all prove Mitchell’s hard rock guitar chops. “Diamonds, Diamonds” and “Gravity” both play with the proggy concepts a bit more, and “In Context Of The Moon” actually functions pretty well as a killer hard prog song, including the ill-advised disappearance into a keyboard-laden k-hole. “Words To Words” probably fueled a few awkward teenage pregnancies, or at least some of that really, really awkward teenage dancing that Mitchell would later sing about on “Patio Lanterns”. Incidentally, “On The Road” is also just as awful as “Patio Lanterns.” You were warned.
Also, I don’t know what’s up with the cover. Did Canadians just not know how to design things in 1977? Actually, looking back on it, no. No they did not.