21 April 2015
Phafner was formed in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1969, and immediately attracted local attention by playing a hard-edged, drug-induced brand of Rock'n'roll.
The band consisted of two sets of brothers, "Dale Shultz" (guitar, vocals), "Tommy Shultz" (bass guitar), "Greg 'Smitty' Smith" (vocals, harmonica), "Steve 'Spider" Smith" (lead guitar), along with "Steven 'Gus' Gustafson" on drums.
In 1971, Phafner decided to record an album of their own original material, so they got together in a local basement studio and put six songs together for what became the Overdrive album (Dragon Records no #, 1972). In order to attract some attention from a major label, they pressed 50 copies of the record (on the Dragon label).
Overdrive has become legendary among collectors of Hard-Rock music, and a copy of the original album will fetch well over $3,000 on today's collectors market.
Overdrive is an excellent, guitar driven Hard-Rock album, with Psychedelic influences.
Clocking in at just over 25 minutes, it features great, Blues-influenced Hard-Rock with loads of Fuzz guitar, in the style of such artists as Josephus or early "Johnny Winter".
The opening song, "Plea From The Soul", has lots of Fuzz guitar and mouth harp; "Uncle Jerry" and "Rock'n'Roll Man" feature breckneck guitar work whilst by contrast "Whiskey Took My Woman" is slower and bluesy.
The intro to "Red Thumb" carries a distant ring of Folk-Rock , which then leads back onto the Steppenwolf highway of fuzzed-out abandon.
The closing title track is probably the most upbeat tune on the record, with a solid mid-60s Garage vibe.