Hard Rock / Proto-Metal • Canada

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A Foot in Coldwater was formed in Toronto in 1970 from three bands. Leggat, Taylor, and Horne had been members of Nucleus, and the Lords of London. Machin and Naumann were in the band Island. Together, they signed with Daffodil Records, which coined the group's name.

The band's first album, A Foot in Coldwater, was released in 1972 with their first single "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want" reaching top 25 in the Canadian charts. In 1973, they released their second album The Second Foot in Coldwater which included moderately successful singles "(Isn’t Love Unkind) In My Life" (#34) and "Love is Coming" (#27). In 1974, the band released a third album, All Around Us, which included a shorter version of "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want" which again made the Canadian singles chart.

The band released one more single, "Midnight Lady" before Daffodil Records filed for bankruptcy in 1975, leaving them
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A FOOT IN COLDWATER albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
A Foot In Cold Water
Proto-Metal 1972
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Second Foot in Coldwater
Proto-Metal 1973
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
All Around Us
Hard Rock 1974
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Breaking Through
Hard Rock 1978



A FOOT IN COLDWATER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

A FOOT IN COLDWATER boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Footprints, Vol. 1
Proto-Metal 1983
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Footprints, Vol. 2
Proto-Metal 1983
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of a Foot in Coldwater
Proto-Metal 1998


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(Isn't Love Unkind) In My Life / Deep Freeze
Proto-Metal 1972
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Lady True / In Heat
Proto-Metal 1972
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Love Is Coming / How Much Love Can I Take
Proto-Metal 1972
.. Album Cover
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(Make Me Do) Anything You Want / Alone Together
Proto-Metal 1972
.. Album Cover
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All Around Us / Midnight Lady
Hard Rock 1973
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It's Only Love / Keep the Candle Burning
Hard Rock 1973
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Who Can Stop Us Now / So Long
Hard Rock 1973
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I Know What You Need / He's Always There
Hard Rock 1974
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Breaking Through / Play My Guitar
Hard Rock 1977

A FOOT IN COLDWATER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)



Album · 1974 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
A Foot in Cold Water put out one heck of a debut in 1972. Four hard rock tracks with heavy darker parts around the chorus, three more standard but good melodic hard rock numbers, one semi-acoustic down-on-my-luck kind of number, and a ballad that was so good it was released twice and hit the charts in Canada both times and went on to be covered by Helix in 1984.

The sophomore album is sadly not easy to get a hold of, but this, their third album, I was able to acquire for a normal price on Amazon. Now, I am not familiar with the details behind this album but I am going to guess that the band was about to get their (cold?) foot into the American market and so released this effort which is comprised of five new songs and five re-recordings of songs from their first two albums. It is quite common for bands from Canada or other places (AC/DC from Australia) to release as their third album a compilation of songs from their first two albums for the American market. So, I guess that is kind of what A Foot in Cold Water were up to here.

First off, from a heavy rock / hard rock perspective, this album is disappointing after hearing and being so impressed with their debut. The first song on this album is not hard or heavy and rather a standard seventies rock song. The title track shows the band's progressive aspirations and as a prog rock song it's a pretty decent effort. In particular, the cascade of notes from the hard rock guitar sounds pretty cool and it quite reminds me of The Phantom of the Opera's famous descending chord theme (which is nearly identical to a piece composed by Rick Wakeman a few years prior to Phantom).

This little bit of prog rock passes by offering hope that something interesting might be afoot (in cold water?); however, the third track is a re-recorded and abridged version of the hit ballad "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want". Piano has been added and the guitar solo has been greatly reduced and the repeat of the first verse cut altogether. It's still a nice ballad but I much prefer the original version. This sounds like it has been trimmed and pruned so as to have it primed for entry into American radio stations.

We finally hit rock with track four, "It's Only Love", a short heavy rocker with the bass guitar hooked up to a distortion pedal. Now things are definitely looking up, but next is a ballad sung by Hugh Leggat (of the Leggat brothers and their album "Illusions" which featured the song "White Flags" which was covered by Blue Oyster Cult). So, side one is pretty slow and easy except for the one short song.

Side two gives us two heavy songs with "How Much Can You Take?" and "Yalla Yae"; however, both are re-recordings of previously released songs. "How Much" is from the second album and from what I heard on iTunes, the original has a rawer sound which I prefer. Still, it's heavy and sounds pretty good. Vocalist Alex Machin throws in one seriously fine scream near the end, the kind of scream that sounds like a power saw cutting through wood in that you get the rough vocals (the saw in the wood) and a high, dry screech (the spinning saw). Where this song disappoints me is in the repeated chorus as the song fades out. I am certain something was omitted that was on the original. "Yalla Yae" is treated with echo effect on the vocals and once again the bass is powered up with distortion. This song is one of my favourites from the debut. On the original there are strings but they don't soften the mood. The chorus of this song is broodingly heavy, and Machin's screams as the organ solo concludes are fantastic. His screams are given more emphasis here which is good but the production is fuller and more dense and as such the rawness of the original makes that version sound better to me.

We get one really good power ballad almost as good as the original "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want" in "(Isn't Love Unkind) In My Life" (what's with the parenthesis thing?). This song has a great lead melody that can stick like peanut butter and caramel. But "He's Always There" I find to be dull and unmemorable.

Finally there's an instrumental "Para-Dice" which again shows the band leaning toward a more progressive style. Good but not very heavy.

I don't think this is such a bad album but I have three reserves against it. The first is the sound of the production. Like I mentioned above, it just sounds denser. This might be the remastering or it might be the headphones I am using. Perhaps this album sounds better in a car stereo, I don't know. Second, after such a killer debut, this album wimps out except for on three or four songs. And third, most of the best songs are re-recordings of songs from the first two albums and the originals either sound better because I know, or I suspect they sound better based on what I have heard from the iTunes samples.

For anyone interested in A Foot in Cold Water, I recommend getting the debut album and then checking out songs from the second album on iTunes or the Internet first. Or check out "The Best of" album which is also available from Amazon and on iTunes. This, I believe, includes songs from the first three albums as well as their final release a couple of years later.


Album · 1972 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
OK, the CD cover I have shows a drawn rainbow and flash though cluttered band logo stamped over a beach scene. How metal is that? Well, alright, it was '72. But still what can we expect here? Some acoustic hippy music with a bit of guitar distortion on a couple of songs? Honestly, I knew nothing about this band except that Helix covered their pretty ballad "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want". Then I see the band listed here as proto-metal, and if it's proto-metal from Canada then I'm curious.

So I checked out some of their music on iTunes and decided to just order the darn debut and sink my teeth into it. Turns out this turned out to be a much sweeter chew than I had given the band credit for.

The first three tracks already establish A Foot in Cold Water as a class hard rock / heavy rock act. "On the Wind", "Yalla Yae", and "Deep Freeze" are pretty serious rockers with heavy guitar and at times some Hammond organ. What surprised and impressed me was that the verse parts are some respectable serious hard rock but the chorus parts turn heavier. "Yalla Yae" treads into metal territory with the lyrics "Make way for the devil knocking at your door / Give in to his evil coming through the floor" and some very dark heavy music in accompaniment. "Deep Freeze" though less sinister also packs some heavy guitar punches into the chorus. Special mention must go to Alex Machin's vocals which deliver not only tough bad ass mutha street sneers but also turn to large-grain sandpaper for some impressive early metal singing.

The ballad is next and it does sound lovely with the acoustic guitar and strings. I've always loved the Helix version and though it's been two decades since I last heard it, the song is still clear in my memory. The original here has some marked differences and is longer on this album (a shorter version would be released on the third album) but it's a lovely piece of work.

The next two songs "Who Can Stop Us Now" and "Alone Together" travel the more upbeat style of hard rock that many bands were doing at the time. Still some good hard rock but bearing no shred of dark and heavy music like what cropped up earlier.

"Fallen Man" brings us at last to an acoustic number about a guy down on his luck. I had expected a song like this much earlier. Despite the stereotype I actually enjoy this track. It has a bit of Led Zeppelin in the music but Machin's vocal style is quite comfortable in its own domain and makes no attempt to sound like Robert Plant.

Which brings us to the last two tracks, "In Heat" and "Lady True". We are back to the heavy guitar and for "In Heat" that's an awesome return. The riff would fit perfectly well on a NWoBHM album and the power chords are mighty sledgehammer-esque. The solo part eases off the heavy weight but concludes with a skull-crushing return. "Lady True" is more melodic like a song by April Wine but we are still in hard rock music territory.

Seriously this album and this band were not what I had imagined. I was thinking they'd sound like Canadian contemporaries Trooper, Chilliwack, or April Wine, maybe ever the Guess Who. But no, A Foot in Cold Water rock really hard here. I've since checked out the 1-minute samples of their two other albums on iTunes and though there are still some heavy rockers, the band sound like they were beginning to try to be more progressive and acoustic. Definitely for the first three tracks and "In Heat" this debut effort is worth checking out as a proto-metal / hard rock album. An excellent addition to any proto-metal collection if you love the old hard and heavy stuff.


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