Rural Space Reviews


Rural Space


Billboard Magazine
January 6, 1973
Inventiveness marks the sound of this LP with a touch of country, a tinge of rock, some tasteful utilization of slow New Orleans-type Dixieland tossed in for added sparkle.  The duo’s clean vocal harmonies slide above the guitars and other instruments like and accordion on “Fly, Fly, Fly,” a funny ditty about always sitting between a “fat lady and a soldier on a plane.”  The main emphasis is on a contemporary sound, but there is a hint at calypso.
  ALLMusic Guide
Before Prairie Prince joined the Tubes and the Jefferson Starship, he was helping out Michael Brewer and Tom Shipley on Rural Space, two albums after their hit "One Toke Over the Line." The project is at least consistent -- the type and style of music one would expect from Brewer & Shipley, but what's most noticeable on this odd collection of songs is that no progress is being made. The duo produce themselves here after Nick Gravenites did such a great job on the Weeds album, and the result is more like Chad & Jeremy gone hippy than what the audience might expect from these two fine musicians. "Have a Good Life" is a folksy Gregorian chant, while "Blue Highway" is a grooving coffeehouse sleepy strum. "Blue Highway" was written by David Getz of Big Brother & the Holding Company and credited also to a D. Gravenites, probably a misprint and most likely a co-write from their former producer, Nick Gravenites. It's one of the album's best tracks, and also the longest at close to six-and-a-half minutes. "Black Sky" is a tune by Steve Cash, and the song would grace the self-titled debut of his band, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, a year after this unveiling. Jesse Winchester's oft-covered "Yankee Lady" gets a fine treatment here; it's excellent singing and playing, with the first side having a bit more life than the second but with the
notoriety of their hit record from early 1971, they could have played the game a little better. More spark and creativity was in order for a pair of folkies who found recognition, and the tune "Where Do We Go From Here"is truly prophetic -- they were going in circles. The cover art doesn't say much: a farmhouse and windmill on a stark plane with the modern logo flying in the air among the clouds overhead. It's good music without direction, adequate and not a bad listen years later, especially the strong "Sleeping on the Way," but at this particular point in time, they needed just a bit more.
~ Joe Viglione

alternate cover

  Keeper Of The Keys  
  Rural Space contains some great music including two covers that belong on any list of Brewer & Shipley's best songs.  "Yankee Lady" was the splendid cover that they released as a single.  But in retrospect, my favorite cover is the Steve Cash & Ozark Mountain Daredevils' song "Black Sky".  This wonderful song is right in Brewer & Shipley's wheel house. Listen to the intro to "Black Sky" and if it doesn't get you going, you need your pulse checked.  In fact, I can't decide if "Black Sky," or "Fly, Fly, Fly," a great fun song,  is my favorite song on the album.  That says a lot on an album that includes the beautiful ballads "Crested Butte" and "Yankee Lady."  As always there are no throw away songs on Brewer & Shipley albums, and I still enjoy hearing the haunting "When The Truth Finally Comes" and "Where Do We Go From Here."  I also still love the infectious "Blue Highway," which was written by David Getz and former B&S producer Nick Granvenites, and later was covered by George Thorogood and The Destroyers.  Brewer & Shipley should get credit as producers for straying a little from their normal style and including The Turk Murphy Band horn section, as they are absolute genius on "Fly, Fly, Fly" and "Where Do We Go From Here".  


Rural Space Jukebox


Rural Space