Showing posts with label Quintessence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quintessence. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 78: I Was Only Dreaming [flute special]

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TDATS 78: I Was Only Dreaming [Flutes In Heavy '70s Prog] by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud
Flutes. There, I said it. Before the more metal-minded of you out there run for cover, keep listening.......nothing exemplifies and defines that authentic progressive rock sound we all love more than a well-placed touch of virtuoso flute. Let me reassure you, all the tracks in this exhilarating volume also pass the TDATS seal of approval for heaviness, groove or fuzz. There has been a recent resurgence of interest in the prog-rock instruments of old with bands such as Blood Ceremony and Circulus bringing flutes back to the front of the stage.

Flute is not usually a priority for me in my searches, which is why I really appreciate it on the occasions that I come across some I like. The welcome addition of flute adds an extra element to all of the inclusions here, for instance, the Dug Dug's 'Smog' has heavy riffing that is followed closely by the flute and it adds strikingly to the over-all feel of the song. I have tried in the main to choose tracks where the instrument is an important part of the music, if not the driving force, rather than just a casual embellishment. The one exception to this is probably Fashion Pink, where the flute could be seen as a bit of an after-thought, but it still adds nicely to the  ambience and trouser-flapping groove. Rufus Zuphal are notable for how they gave the flute a monstrous sound by feeding it through various effects. For this volume I must make special thanks to the helpful crowd at the TDATS fb group and flute rock afficianado Julia Miodyńska, creator of weekly prog rock radio show Epoka Żelaza in Poland. The artwork is taken from the wonderful works of Leah Jay (linkedin) and you can see more at

01. The California Earthquake - Friday 3 P.M. (1971)
       from album 'reformation'
02. Tomorrow's Gift - Tenakel Gnag (1970)
       from album 'tomorrow's gift'
03. Fashion Pink - I'm a Man (1971)
       from retrospective 'encore'
04. Tako - Minijatura (1978)
       from album 'tako'
05. Los Dug Dug's - Smog [english version] (1972)
       from album 'smog'
06. Janko Nilović - Drug Song (1975)
       from album 'soul impressions'
07. Rufus Zuphall - Prickel Pit (1971)
       from album 'phallobst'
08. Plum Nelly - The Demon (1971)
       from album 'deceptive lines'
09. Gravy Train - Can Anybody Hear Me (1971)
       from album '(a ballad of) a peaceful man'
10. Goliath - Maajun (A Taste Of Tangier) (1970)
       from album 'goliath'
11. Progresiv TM - Rusinea Soarelui (1973)
       from album 'dreptul de a visa'
12. Quintessence - Notting Hill Gate [single version] (1969)
13. Heat Exchange - Reminiscence (1972)
14. Shag - Gypsies In The Forest (1969)
       from retrospective 'shag 1969'
15. Jade Warrior - A Prenormal Day at Brighton (1971)
       from album 'jade warrior'
16. The Hunt - I Was Only Dreaming (1977)
       from album 'the hunt'

Our opener 'Friday: 3 P.M' is a short segue track taken from The California Earthquake's 'Reformation' which was a fairly ambitious Christian progressive concept album (don't let that put you off too much!). Good use of brass and wood-wind conjures up the feeling of a 70's action movie with a cool soundtrack and overall it has a wide scope of sounds with some rocking moments like 'Let There Be Light'.  A very interesting curio indeed. Apparently this was a studio-only project made by an ensemble that included established session musicians like Jim Gordon (drums - played with Duane Allman, Jack Bruce & John Lee Hooker),  John Guerin (drums - played with Frank Zappa & The Byrds) and soul singer Roy Smith (vocals).

Tomorrows Gift
Track 2's Tomorrow's Gift were from Hamburg, they were a proto-prog band with plenty of heavy moments and on the first album they had a charismatic female singer in Ellen Meyer. Interestingly, guitarist Carlo Karges later played with German pop star Nina on hits like '99 Red Balloons'. Many of the tracks on their 1970 debut have an occult feel; I find this enhanced by Ellen's english pronunciation which is far from perfect and gives the vocals an odd quality which makes them sound even more like the strange incantations of a witch!

Fashion Pink
Another German band follows, Baden-Baden's 'Fashion Pink' were the original incarnation of krautrock prog-jazzers Brainstorm. This track has such a cool vibe, a really strong groove with wicked guitar and the whole thing is improved by it's flute embellishment.

Tako was a Serbian band that made a couple of albums before disbanding in 1981. The track here is from their self-titled 1978 album. It's a short instrumental with a stately intro which soon toughens up to the Ian Anderson-style of vocalised flute aggression, nice.


Next up is Mexican band Dug Dug's, and the use of stabbing echoed flute on this track from their second album is fantastic. It lends the sharp flighty feel that only flute can one second, and then forceful insidious nastiness the next.

Janko Nilović
Montenegrin Janko Nilović (birth name) is one of the most prolific and well-known creators of library music and I have used this catchy funk track from his 1975 record 'Soul Impressions'. He has made over 200 records and singles under at least 10 pseudonyms. There is now a great interview with the man himself here.

We have yet another German group now, Aachen's Rufus Zuphall. They are often likened to Jethro Tull and their breakthrough came in 1970 in front of a 30.000 crowd at the Jazz Festival in Bilzen, Belgium. Actually planned as a sideshow, they then played as the only amateur band to share the main stage with such stars as Black Sabbath, Cat Stevens or May Blitz and were celebrated by the press as 'surprise of the festival'.

Plumb Nelly
New York's 'Creedmore State' formed in 1970 and after success as a regular at the rock club "Ungano's" they signed to Capitol Records under the new name 'Plum Nelly'. They recorded one album called 'Deceptive Lines' and while touring it they supported big names such as Jimi Hendrix & Fleetwood Mac. Album track 'Lonely Man's Cry' was backed by a local group called The Sweet Inspirations which was lead by by Cissy Houston, Whitney Houston's Mother. 'The Demon' is the longest cut on this comp, it has a slightly progressive structure and a great mix of contrasts, along with some nice flute of course!

Gravy Train were from Lancashire, UK They made four albums over their obscure career, which started out on the famed Vertigo label . Unfortunately their output was patchy and they never really capitalised on their strengths, but these were considerable when they got the sound right and on their best tracks they sounded like Tull with the extra heaviness of Sabbath. The track here "Can Anybody Hear Me?" shows this.

'Maajun (A Taste of Tangier)' is a track that I liked immediately, it came over as a condensed, speeded-up version of one of my favourite ever TDATS inclusions, the epic Rajah Khan by Renaissance. They both share an eastern feel, built upon ethereal female vocal shapes, with a tough groove that shows itself now and again. Goliath are not so easy to find info about, the lineup was Linda Rothwell (vocals), Malcolm Grundy (guitar), Joseph Rosbotham (woodwinds), John Williamson (bass) and Eric Eastman (drums, percussion). Thier only album, 1970's 'Goliath', was issued on CD by the Spanish Estrella Rockera Label in 2004. Apparently Linda Rothwell had a couple of solo singles on the Chapter One label in the early 70s.

'Progresiv TM' were from Romania and there was 6 years between their two albums. They had a very original and quirky sound, somewhat in-line with the genre-mash up eccentricities of other great eastern europen bands of the time. After reading about them, they are often compared to out-there Italian prog of the times, in sound, but also because the Romanian accent and language is similar to that of Italian. The guitar tone is nice and thick, another aspect that seems to be compared to Sabbath, but the writing is very different, it is tight and unpredictable, and the flute sheen makes a great contrast to the heaviness.

Quintessence were a band heavily influenced by the Beatles-approved psychedelic interest in Indian mysticism and raga music. As you probably know this is not the style of music that TDATS would normally delve into but on this single version of Notting Hill Gate they turned up the fuzz guitar a little and it's a cool track.

Heat Exchange
The next track is from a Canadian group called Heat Exchange. This Toronto-based 5 piece were clearly very talented and showed great musical versatility. Unfortunately they did not make an album, though they earned a recording contract to do so, and the scant information available so far on the series of singles they made does not reveal what happened to them. 'Reminiscence' is some frenetic prog which is quite tight and technical but accessible too, they could have been huge. I found a guy on YouTube who is the son of Flute player Graig Carmody, so I asked him for information on the band and this was his reply: "If I recall my dad's story correctly, they struggled to find a strong commercial hit--they landed a recording contract and Scorpio Lady was their first attempt at a commercial hit. It did pretty well in Toronto, landing in the top 40 countdown for some time. But the rest of their stuff was really creative and unusual, and I think they didn't want to veer too far away from that. A year later their momentum faded, and things just fell apart from there. My dad still plays after many years of repairing instruments as his profession, just in a couple local bands. If you're curious, here's a video of him in recent days."

Milwaukee's Shag was first know as 'The Shags' and made some garage singles in the mid 60s. They recorded a demo in 1969 at Pacific High Recording, The Grateful Dead's studio, but parted ways soon after. The demo has since been remastered and released by Gear Fab records, revealing another band that was clearly very creative and could have been a big name. I found a great interview with guitarist Paul Gordon Elliott on Klemen Breznikar's brilliant blog here. The track I used here 'Gypsies In The Forest' has relentless pace, lead by aggressive flute riffing which easily gives Tull a run for their money.

Jade Warrior
The penultimate inclusion is from Jade Warrior, who rose from the ashes of a few 60s bands including 'Second Thoughts', Tomcat, and the more well-known 'Unit Four plus Two' and July. By the time of their 1971 debut they had developed a considered layered sound that was a unique addition to the rising proto-prog sounds of the time. The track I have used here is from that debut and it shows their often bass-lead sound, with scything fuzz guitar and hints of oriental mystery. "A Prenormal Day at Brighton" is a strange title and I am yet find out what it means, answers on a post-card please! Various members have continued to make music under the Jade Warrior name and there is news of forth-coming releases on their site.

The comp ends on a rousing Canadian track from Ontario's The Hunt, who have connection to the bands Offenbach (see Vol58) and  Toronto's Dillinger. They don't score many points on originality, following closely in the flight-path of a certain lead balloon, but they do it very well and expand upon Zep's repertoire with expressive flute.

Thanks for listening! Rich.

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