Friday, August 28, 2015

ANTHONY BRAXTON – For Trio (LP-1978)




Label: Arista – AB-4181
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: US/Canada / Released: 1978
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded on Sept. 22, 1977 at Streeterville Sound, Chicago, IL.
Art Direction – Howard Fritzson
Artwork [Front Cover Art], Photography By [Insert Photography] – Nickie Braxton
Engineer [Recording & Mixing Engineer] – Jim Dolan
Executive-Producer – Steve Backer
Mastered By – Bob Ludwig
Producer – Michael Cuscuna

A - Version I – Composition 76 ................................................ 20:22
      Anthony Braxton – piccolo flute, flute [C flute], soprano clarinet, soprano clarinet [B  clarinet], contra-alto clarinet, contrabass clarinet, soprano saxophone [E soprano sax], alto saxophone, contrabass saxophone, performer [Tragata], gongs, percussion, little instruments
      Henry Threadgill – flute, flute [bass flute], alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, performer [Hub "T" Wall], gongs, percussion, little instruments
      Douglas Ewart – piccolo flute, flute, soprano clarinet, soprano clarinet [B clarinet],  bass clarinet, soprano saxophone [E soprano sax, B soprano sax], alto saxophone, bassoon, performer [Ewartphone], Gongs, percussion, little instruments

B - Version II – Composition 76 ................................................ 20:56
      Anthony Braxton – piccolo flute, flute [C flute], soprano clarinet, soprano clarinet [B  clarinet], contra-alto clarinet, contrabass clarinet, soprano saxophone [E soprano sax], alto saxophone, contrabass saxophone, performer [Tragata], gongs, percussion, little instruments
      Joseph Jarman – flute, clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone, vibraphone, Gongs, Percussion, little instruments
      Roscoe Mitchell – piccolo flute, flute, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone, gongs, percussion, little instruments


Side A – Anthony Braxton (Middle) / Henry Threadgill (Right Channel) / Douglas Ewart (Left Channel)
Side B – Anthony Braxton (Middle) / Joseph Jarman (Right Channel) / Roscoe Mitchell (Left Channel)



Always one to try for something different, for this album Braxton organized two trios of well known avant-garde jazz musicians (he himself played in both groups) and recorded two side-long versions of the same composition, one of which has little to do with jazz, at least superficially. The piece, which is listed as "Composition 76" in the superb discography compiled by Francesco Martinelli (Bandecchi & Vivaldi Editore, 2000), is designed as a series of "routes" through a form, with agreed upon signposts along the way but with wide allowances for how the performers arrive there. These signposts include unison vocal refrains, staccato rhythmic lines and soft, sighing plaints from the horns. The extremely high caliber of the musicians which Braxton chose for this project guarantee some inspired playing and great imagination in working their way through this often forbidding territory. While admirers of his more jazz oriented work might find the music here daunting indeed, it repays careful listening and also strikes one as a seminal work that prefigures many of the concerns he would deal with later on in his collage-form structures written for his classic quartet of the '80s and '90s.

(Review by Brian Olewnick)



If you find it, buy this album!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

WILLEM BREUKER KOLLEKTIEF – Driebergen - Zeist (LP-1983)




Label: BV Haast Records – BVHAAST 050
Format: Vinyl, LP / Country: Netherlands / Released: 1983
Style: Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded at Sound Push Studio's, Blaricum the Netherlands, Sept. 12th./13th. 1983.
All arrangements by Willem Breuker
Cover design / Photos by – Reinko Kuiper
Mixed September 15th 1983
Engineer by – Jan Schumman

A1 - Wolkbreuk III ............................................................................ 5:54
A2 - No Wave Samba ...................................................................... 6:06
A3 - Benares. (From Mahagonny) ................................................... 3:50
        Composed By – Kurt Weill
A4 - What? ....................................................................................... 4:59
A5 - Lied Van De Zware Toffe Jongens /
        Pirate Jenny (From Three Penny Opera) ................................. 2:24
        Composed By – Kurt Weill, Vocals – Dick Swidde
B1 - Driebergen – Zeist .................................................................... 9:56
B2 - Dance Of The Knights (From Romeo And Juliet) ..................... 3:55
        Composed By – Serge Prokofiev
B3 - Creole Call Love ....................................................................... 6:30
        Clarinet – Michiel de Ruyter, Composed By – Duke Ellington

Willem Breuker – saxophone, clarinet
André Goudbeek – clarinet, saxophone
Maarten van Norden – saxophone, clarinet
Bernard Hunnekink – trombone
Garrett List – trombone
Andy Altenfelder – trumpet
Boy Raaymakers – trumpet
Henk de Jonge – piano, synthesizer
Arjen Gorter – double bass
Robbie Verdurmen – drums, percussion


 Willem Breuker / Maarten van Norden
 Arjen Gorter / Robbie Verdurmen
Boy Raaymakers / Bernard Hunnekink

Driebergen-Zeist is one of two or three albums released by Breuker's Kollektief in the early- to mid-'80s that represent this band at the absolute peak of its considerable powers. At this point, all the energy that had been a central part of the group since its inception in 1974 combined seamlessly with Breuker's elaborate and complex compositional skills to produce music unlike anyone else's at that time or since. It was a music both experimental and surprisingly accessible, connecting disparate points between 20th century classical music, street songs, and avant-garde jazz, all soldered firmly together by Breuker's devilish sense of humor. Much of the album is given over to covers, all of them performed superbly. Breuker's long-time affinity for Kurt Weill is made clear both in the version of "Benares" (from Mahagonny) and, utterly wonderfully, in his "Pirate Jenny," featuring vocals and new lyrics by the gruff, elderly Dutch actor/singer Dick Swidde, who growls and sputters his way through hilariously. There's also a lovely and straight reading of Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights (from Romeo and Juliet) and a creamy, adoring rendition of Ellington's "Creole Love Call" with guest clarinetist Michiel de Ruyter. Many a "traditional" jazz band could take a lesson from this heartfelt performance. Breuker's own cleverly titled composition "What?" comes about as close as possible to duplicating "Take the 'A' Train" without ever quite getting there -- a bravura demonstration indeed. But the real highlight of this LP is the title piece. Ten minutes long and apparently through-composed, "Driebergen-Zeist" sounds like some otherworldly melding of Ellington, Gershwin, and Carl Stalling as themes collide, disappear, and arise from nowhere, each more gorgeous than the last, and are undermined by false starts, fake endings, and composed "mistakes" (the latter including a delightful section where drummer Rob Verdurmen makes several "wrong" entrances). It's an astonishing work and illustrative of what this ensemble was capable of at its best.

Very highly recommended.



If you find it, buy this album!

Friday, August 14, 2015

JOE McPHEE – Old Eyes (LP-1980)




Label: hat Hut Records – hat Hut ONE (1R01)
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Switzerland / Released: 1980
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded by Jef Gilson in Paris on May 30, 1979.
Photo by – Ken Brunton
Cover art by – Klaus Baumgärtner
Engineer – Jef Gilson
Mixed By – Peter Pfister

A1  -  Eroc Tinu .............................................................. 4:00
          Land Dance ..... (12:45)
A2a - P / G / G ................................................................ 3:02
A2b - BCL / Cello ............................................................ 3:16
A2c - B / DM .................................................................... 3:11
A2d - TS / TS .................................................................. 3:22
A3  -  Old Eyes ................................................................ 8:50
B1  -  Django ................................................................. 14:25
B2  -  No Line .................................................................. 3:05
B3  -  Strings ................................................................... 7:10

Joe McPhee – alto / tenor saxophone
André Jaume – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Raymond Boni – acoustic and electric guitars
Steve Gnitka – electric guitars
Jean-Charles Capon – cello
Pierre-Yves Sorin – bass
Milo Fine – piano and drums

Old Eyes is an album by multi-instrumentalist and composer Joe McPhee, recorded in 1979 and first released on the Swedish HatHut label in 1980.

 "I've always intentionally kept a low profile. I think the music goes where it has to go anyway, so I'm not going to run around in circles and scream. In America, everybody's looking for the latest revelation on the scene : who'll be the new Bird ? Who's going to replace Trane? As for me, anyway, I'm not new."
(~ Joe McPhee, from Down Beat, 1991)

END AT THE BEGINNING - BEGINNING AT THE END

PO MUSIC HAS NO CANVAS OR MODEL OR PALLET
NO PENCIL PAPER OR STORY
NO KNOWLEDGE MEMORY OR WISDOM

PO MUSIC LISTENS TO SILENCE
EXPANDING IN UNISON
CONTRACTING IN COLORS

PO MUSIC HAS HARMONY IN THE MUSICIANS
TASTES GOOD
AND FLOATS UPSIDE DOWN IN AFTER-GLOW

PO MUSIC HAS INSTRUMENTALITY
AND USES IT
LEADING AND FOLLOWING AT THE SAME TIME
(~ Joe McPhee, 1981, from the Liner Notes to: Joe McPhee Po Music - Linear B, hat ART CD 6057, 1991)

 André Jaume / Joe McPhee

The decade 1981 - 1991 marked the most productive and satisfying period in my music career. Yet mysteriously it remains the least documented in terms of recordings. The Cycle began with the recording of TOPOLOGY March 24, 1981 and ended with a multi-media performance of a work entitled HAZEL'S DINER on March 23, 1991. Many performances were given in each of the inclusive years, but to this date only three recordings, exclusively on hat Hut Records, document this period: TOPOLOGY (1981), OLEO (1982), and MYSTERIES/LINEAR B (1990).
Beginning at the beginning is to introduce two important musicians who have most directly influenced my work since our meeting in 1979, saxophonist André Jaume and guitarist Raymond Boni. The ocassion was the Paris session OLD EYES. From that moment a bond of friendship support and collaboration was formed which has shaped the entire body of my work to this day. Although not literally in the PO MUSIC series the roots of the concept can be traced to OLD EYES and is reflected in the final 1990 Zurich sessions which produced MYSTERIES/LINEAR B. Coincidentally OLD EYES, TOPOLOGY, and MYSTERIES/LINEAR B are further linked by the fact that all are studio dates, all feature large ensembles, and all include the rare use of percussionists (Mile Fine, Pierre Favre, Fritz Hauser). Each also includes the trio Boni-Jaume-McPhee at the core of its unifying structure. The trio continues today as a separate entity building on the strength of our relationship.
Beginning at the end, many important personal lessons were learned from the various experiences associated with the PO MUSIC loop/cycle. PO is after all only a language indicator, and the use of provocation to discover new ideas has always been the point. Also, it was always my intention that one day the concept would be clear enough that the word MUSIC in association with my work would make language indicators unnecessary.
(~ Joe McPhee, Pooughkeepsie, NY, July 6, 1991)

The "Old Eyes" sessions in May 1979 in Paris by the way were taken up by Jef Gilson. The big highlight for me is "Django", by far the longest piece. "Old Eyes" himself (the second longest and next to "Strings", the third, which lasts longer than three to four minutes) is actually dedicated to Ornette Coleman, "with much respect and gratitude. The title comes from a term I once heard a psychic use to describe someone who Carried the look of past ages of tradition in his eyes. "
(McPhee, liner notes to hat ART 6057 or 6047 hat ART)

Enjoy !


If you find it, buy this album!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

STEVE LACY – Dreams (LP-1975 / Saravah – SH 10058)




Label: Saravah – SH 10058
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: France / Released: 1975
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded at Saravah Studios Paris, May 12-15-1975
Artwork [Cover Art] – Claude Bellegarde
Engineer – Christian Jence
Photography By [Photos] – Bunny Brissett
Producer – Pierre Barouh
Technician [Assistant] – Larry Martin

A1 - The Uh Uh Uh .............................................................. 7:20
A2 - Dreams ......................................................................... 3:05
A3 - The Oil ......................................................................... 9:10
B1 - The Wane ................................................................... 10:00
B2 - Crops ............................................................................ 7:00

Steve Lacy – soprano saxophone, composed
Steve Potts – alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Derek Bailey – guitar
Jean-Jacques Avenel – bass
Kent Carter – bass
Irene Aebi – voice, cello
Kenneth Tyler – drums, percussion
featuring:
guitar – Boulou Ferré (tracks: A2, B2), Jack Treese (tracks: A2, B2)

Dreams is easily Lacy's greatest moment from the 70s, and the one that sounds, simultaneously, most and least like him.



Recorded at Saravah's studios in Paris in May 1975, Dreams is the fourth of five albums cut for the label by Steve Lacy between 1969 (Roba) and 1977 (The Owl) -- the intervening pair being 1971's Lapis and 1974's Scraps -- and features the soprano saxophonist in the company of his favorite playing partners, altoist Steve Potts, bassists Kent Carter and Jean-Jacques Avenel, guitarist Derek Bailey, drummer Ken Tyler, and not forgetting the composer's partner, Irene Aebi on cello and vocals on the dreamy, almost Debussyesque setting of Brion Gysin's permutational poem "Dreams." For the occasion, the group is joined by Saravah regulars guitarists Boulou Ferre and Jack Treese, who also contributes some spindly banjo to the closing "Crops." It's quintessential Lacy, all relentless harmonic cycles with saxophones locked together a whole- or half-tone apart, but extraordinarily varied in scope nevertheless, running the gamut from the twisted psychedelic funk of "The Uh Uh Uh" to the rolling free folk of "Crops," via the tense, claustrophobic weave of "The Oil." On this, the tough nut of the set, Bailey's pinched Webernian splutters are the perfect foil for the rigorous saxophone dirge, and his volleys of harmonics complement Treese's fingerpicking to perfection in "Crops." And anyone who still doubts Lacy's consummate mastery of his instrument needs only to check out the ease with which he negotiates the ferociously difficult theme in "The Wane."

As the story unfolds one small piece at a time over this LP, the vision of the man comes clearly into view and his true genius is revealed. Lacy saw jazz in the 70s as a way to make sense of the entire world -- a world in transition and fragmentation. His musical view was all-inclusive (Bailey's rock and funk moves on the Dreams album) and sought order using a musical language that would open the doors to dialogue: first with musicians and then with other artists everywhere. The amazing thing is that -- at least in the avant-garde music world -- he succeeded: because everyone there cites him as an influence...........

Enjoy!



If you find it, buy this album!

CONFLUENCE – 4 Voyages (LP-1976)




Label: RCA Victor – FPL1 0132
Series: Balance
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: France / Released: 1976
Style: Avantgarde, Fusion, Free Improvisation
A1 + B - Recorded live on January 25, 1976 at the Festival de Villejuif
A2 - Recorded live on 20 December, 1975 at the Nouveau Carré à Paris
Photo: Richard Bonin and Thierry Trombert
Production by – Confluence
Sound recording by – Alain François

A1 - Dakka .............................................................................. 5:25
         (Written-By – Armand Lemal)
A2 - Convergences ................................................................ 11:50
         (Written-By – Jean-Charles Capon)
B  -  4 Voyages ...................................................................... 19:00
         (Written-By – Didier Levallet)

Jean-Charles Capon - cello (violoncello)
Didier Levallet - contrabass
Jean Querlier - oboe (hautbois), cor Anglais, flute, alto / soprano saxophone
Christian Escoudé - guitar
Armand Lemal - percussion
Merzak Mouthana – drums, percussion

Quietly gorgeous French jazzy prog vinyl made up of three long (dark, anxious, yet rhythmic and beautiful) tracks, often focused around the wistful cello work of Jean-Francois Capon (cello), whose devastating outfit Baroque Jazz Trio recently had their one eponymous album reissued, and his colleagues Didier Levallet (contrabass) and Armand Lemal (percussion). There are also Christian Escoudé (guitar), Jean Querlier (oboe, flute, saxophones) and Merzak Mouthana (drums).
One of France's great undiscovered treasures. 





The band recorded three albums (one of the few groups of French Jazz at this time to record for a major label, RCA), and this LP, live recording on January 25, 1976 at the Festival de Villejuif and 20 December 1975 at the Nouveau Carré à Paris, it is their debut.
I would say that it is actually chamber jazz, with a very well worked melding of chamber orchestra (a lot of violin, flute, cello, double bass) and jazz.
These progressive musicians wrote a kind of music that has no rules, they use rock, jazz, and european classical in equal measure to create a whole that is perfectly harmonious and has no borders or styles...


NOTE:
Didier Levallet, born 19 July 1944, Arcy sur Cure, France. Levallet is largely a self-taught bass player who studied journalism at L’Ecole Superieure de Journalisme de Lille (1963-66) and went on for a short time to study bass at Lille Conservatory. He moved to Paris in 1969 and played with a wide range of local and visiting musicians including Ted Curson, Hank Mobley, Mal Waldron and Johnny Griffin. He worked with the free-jazz quartet Perception through the 70s and worked in the USA with tenor saxophonist Byard Lancaster (1974-76). He also led "Confluence" (with: Jean-Charles Capon and Christian Escoudé), a group based on strings and percussion only. In the early 80s he played with Frank Lowe, Archie Shepp, Mike Westbrook’s Concert Band and Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath as well as the Double Quartet with Tony Oxley. Levallet is a prolific composer who can combine free-improvisation and structure coherently. He works within four bands - the Quintet, a 12-piece band, Swing Strings System (which utilises seven string players plus drums) and a trio with Dominique Pifarely (violin) and Gérard Marais (guitar). In 1976, he founded ADMI (Association pour la Developement de la Musique Improvise), which acts as a pressure group and concert organizer. He teaches jazz at L’Ecole National de Musique in Angouleme.



If you find it, buy this album!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

VOLKER KRIEGEL – Inside: Missing Link (2LP-1972)





Label: MPS Records/BASF – 29 21431-1
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: Germany / Released: 1972
Style: Fusion, Free Improvisation, Free Jazz
LP 1: Recorded March 20th and 21st 1972 at Tonstudio Walldorf
LP 2: Recorded March 22nd and 23rd 1972 at Tonstudio Walldorf
Design [Cover] – Günther Kieser
Photography By [Inside] – Volker Hartman
Engineer [Recording Engineer] – Klaus D. Stingel
Producer – Volker Kriegel
Supervised By – Albert Mangelsdorff (tracks: C1 to D5), Dieter V. Goetze (tracks: A1 to B2)

A1 - Slums on Wheels ......................................................... 13:24
A2 - The "E" Again ................................................................ 6:36
B1 - Zanzibar ....................................................................... 10:22
B2 - Missing Link ................................................................. 12:03
C1 - Für Hector ...................................................................... 5:45
C2 - Remis ............................................................................. 4:26
C3 - Tarang .......................................................................... 10:00
D1 - Lastic Plemon ................................................................ 5:21
D2 - Janellas Abertas ............................................................. 4:09
D3 - Plonk Whenever ............................................................ 4:06
D4 - Definitely Suspicious ...................................................... 5:55
D5 - Finale ............................................................................. 0:10

Line-up / Musicians
- Volker Kriegel / electric guitar, acoustic guitar, octave guitar, sitar
- Albert Mangelsdorff / trombone
- Alan Skidmore / soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
- Heinz Sauer / tenor saxophone
- John Taylor / electric piano
- Eberhardt Weber / bass
- Cees See / percussion, voice, flutes, effects
- John Marshall / drums, percussion

Volker Kriegel's follow-up to "Spectrum" is a double album and a much more dynamic affair and more to my liking. He has some of the best German and British musicians around helping him out. It's interesting that the first LP has a different lineup than the second LP.



The first LP has an eight piece lineup and was recorded on the 20th & 21st of March, while the second LP featured a five piece band and was recorded on the 22nd & 23rd of March. John Marshall is on drums on the first LP, lots of pictures in the liner notes and John is as usual very serious looking.
"Slums On Wheels" has such a great sound to start as the sax joins in. Intricate guitar then takes the lead as it settles some.The sax is back then the tempo picks up before 4 1/2 minutes. A calm 6 minutes in as intricate sounds come and go. It's building before 9 minutes and electric piano joins in. Nice. Bass and percussion continue. Sax before 10 1/2 minutes. Drums only from Marshall before 12 1/2 minutes then a full sound. What a way to start !

"The "E" Again" has a good rhythm as sax and guitar do their thing. Dissonant sax before 2 1/2 minutes. Electric piano leads a minute later. Sax is back before 6 1/2 minutes to end it.

"Zanzibar" is led by the bass and drums early then the horns come in just before a minute. The guitar then leads before the horns return before 3 1/2 minutes as it picks up. Some dissonance too. A calm before 5 minutes as bass and a beat with horns lead. It kicks back in before 6 1/2 minutes. Piano leads before 8 minutes and we get some nice bass a minute later. Sax is back 10 minutes in.

"Missing Link" opens with experimental sounds that come and go including vocal expressions. The music comes in after 2 minutes and starts to build. I like the drumming here. The horns start to blast then it settles back. A calm 5 minutes in then it starts to pick up with guitar leading the way. Nice. Horns take a turn before 7 1/2 minutes with lots of dissonance too. A drum show from Marshall 9 minutes in. Great sound before 11 minutes with sax leading then guitar. Killer tune.

 Alan Skidmore
 Volker Kriegel /Albert Mangelsdorff

John Taylor (1942-2015)

The second LP is a little more stripped down but excellent none the less. "Fur Hector" is uptempo and guitar led. Piano takes the lead after 3 1/2 minutes.The guitar is back leading late.

"Remis" is percussion and keyboard led early and the bass is prominant too. The guitar then joins the fray. "Tarang" has a Middle Eastern vibe to it with lots of percussion. Strummed and intricate guitar comes in at 2 1/2 minutes before the opening ethnic soundscape returns to 
end it.
"Lastic Plemon" is led by the drums and keys and is quite energetic. Guitar before 3 minutes. "Janellias Abertas" is an intricate and laid back track.
"Plonk Whenever" is uptempo with the bass and drums pounding while the guitar and keys play over top. Great track.
"Definitely Suspicious" is one of my favourites. It has such an uplifting mood to it and the electric piano has a lot to do with that. "Finale" is 15 seconds of mainly intricate guitar to end it.

Very enjoyable and a treat for the ears.

(Review by Mellotron Storm)



If you find it, buy this album!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

LOCOMOTIVE – We Are Everything You See (LP-1970)




Label: Parlophone – PCS 7093
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: 01 Feb 1970
Style: Psychedelic Rock, Prog Rock
Recorded at E.M.I Studios - Abbey Road, 1969.
Design [Sleeve Design] – Rainbow Studios
Engineer [Sound] – Jeff Jarratt
Executive Producer – Tony Hall
Producer – Gus Dudgeon

A1 - Overture ..................................................................................... 2:05
A2 - Mr. Armageddon ........................................................................ 4:25
A3 - Now Is The End - The End Is When .......................................... 3:17
A4 - Lay Me Down Gently ................................................................. 4:01
A5 - Nobody Asked You To Come .................................................... 3:17
A6 - You Must Be Joking ................................................................... 4:03
B1 - A Day In Shining Armour ........................................................... 3:32
B2 - The Loves Of Augustus Abbey - Part One ................................. 1:08
B3 - Rain ............................................................................................ 3:26
B4 - The Loves Of Augustus Abbey - Part Two ................................ 1:29
B5 - a) Coming Down /
        b) Love Song For The Dead Che ............................................... 4:32
B6 - The Loves Of Augustus Abbey - Part Three .............................. 1:23
B7 - Times Of Light And Darkness .................................................... 4:36

Norman Haines – lead vocals organ, piano,  mellotron, harpsichord
Mick Hincks – bass, backing vocals
Bob Lamb – drums, percussion
+
Bill Madge – tenor saxophone
Chris Mercer – tenor saxophone
Dick Heckstall-Smith  – tenor saxophone
Lyn Dobson – tenor saxophone
Henry Lowther – trumpet
Mick Taylor – trumpet

Norman Haines is responsible for two of the most sought-after albums of British progressive rock. Like many other brilliant artists, it took the world decades to recognize the brilliance of Haines’ work. He took soul, jazz, psych, and classical music to a place it had not been before, with lyrics based in reality during a time of social and political unrest.


Norman mixed all these influences into several brilliant singles and two lyrically and musically powerful albums. His career began in Birmingham in 1963 with the beat group The Van Dels, who changed their name a year later to The Brumbeats. By day he ran a small record shop taking in all the latest musical crazes and at night he put his knowledge to use in his band as they played clubs around Birmingham. The Brumbeats often played support for local heroes The Locomotive. By the end of ’66 Haines was asked to join the group on keys.
Before Haines joined the group, The Locomotive played mostly popular Tamla, and Motown soul. Haines brought in ska music to their set. They gigged all over and in 1967 they got a deal with the label Direction to record their first single, Haines’ original “Broken Heart” and the B-side “Rudy – A Message To You.” The single was not a hit but it got them a deal with Parlophone to record another Haines ska original “Rudi’s In Love,” which became a top 25 hit in 1968.
The band had done what most groups had hoped to achieve: they got a hit. They were now known as a ska group but this would end up to be their downfall as the group was starting to get into more ‘progressive’ styles of music. Around this time, founding member Jim Simpson leaves the band to become full time manager of The Locomotive and his other project, local band, Earth. Norman takes over as band leader and writes new material for their debut full length. In late 1968 they begin recording at Abbey Road Studios.


We Are Everything You See is an amazing piece of work from start to finish. Heavily influenced by classical music, the album begins with an overture, a short summary of the album’s main themes through beautiful strings, and a little interplay with clarinet before the strings raise the pressure and fade into one of the crowning achievements of British progressive rock. “Mr. Armageddon” has been included in countless compilations and for good reason. This song is a monster. Pounding drums, wah guitar, piercing organ and Norman’s unsympathetic lyrical delivery. Picture him as ‘the man,’ ten feet tall: “I am everything you see / and what is more / I am father of a thousand children / Mother… / Of a thousand million more!” The main horn riff is what makes this song. The ending takes it even higher as it drives to the end of the song and the drums and even the vocals just trying to keep up. This ending pretty much made me a believer in progressive rock music.
The next track, “Now Is The End – The End Is When,” solidifies the doomed mood of the album; the jazzy bassline and phased-out drums are brilliant. Then comes “Lay Me Down Gently,” another killer with back and forth time signatures, and the harmonizing is a nice touch. There is not a bad track on this album. The pounding drums on “You Must Be Joking,” and the screeching organ get along like a cat and dog. I love it. “Rain” is the perfect title for the ninth track, a mellow slow burner that the horns help to pick up during the end. The final song starts off simply enough, then it gets jazzy and the pace quickly picks up and pounds into the dizzying finale. The album also features reworked versions of two songs from the band United States of America.
Before the album was even completed the band had already fallen apart. Some members complained that the album was getting too progressive. Haines disagreed and quit the band before mixing was completed in mid 1969. With no band to support it the album was quietly released six months later in February 1970. The album went completely unnoticed and was soon deleted. Some of the members formed a new group called The Dog That Bit People. Haines started his own group called Sacrifice.

(Review by David Morales)



If you find it, buy this album!