Record reviews

Record Reviews (1961-1963)
Record Reviews (1964-1970)
Record Reviews (1971-1972)

Record Reviews (1961-1963)
Jazzland JLP 51
Released: October 1961

MELODY MAKER     October 21, 1961

"The New Don Rendell"
This is the first album of the new Don Rendell group, and, indeed, the new Don Rendell. The tenorist has changed a good deal over the past year. Instead of the soft-toned Lester Young-Stan Getz approach, there is now a hard layer of Coltrane and Griffin. Don has surrounded himself with young players. Apart from Burch (29), none of his colleagues is more than 23. Youth is responsible for both the group's strength and its weaknesses. Bond's alto is the dominating sound. His is a brash, raucous talent combinating Adderley and Dolphy with his own strong sense of the dramatic. When his playing fails to make sense it is no doubt due to immiaturity and the rash impetuosity of youth. On the other hand, he parts a deal of excitement to the proceedings and spurs Rendell on to play better than I have heard him on record. Burch is developing into an interesting pianist on "Manumission" and "Jeannine". Archer, though at times a little under-recorded, shows great promise. Kinorra is an intelligent drummer. All-in-all, a worthy first effort.
Bob Dawbarn

JAZZ JOURNAL     December 1961

The recently formed quintet heralds not only the first release on Jazzland, a label backed by the Interdisc organisation, but also the welcome but overdue return to jazz of one of Britain's most interesting tenor players, Don Rendell. His style has changed considerably since I last heard him. Now he seems to have joined the 'soul' convention, with a definite inclination towards the works of John Coltrane. The group turns in some impressive performances, especially on two tracks recorded later than the remainder, when they had had more time to settle down. The front line duo is enchanced by the presence of Graham Bond, a young alto player of strength, conviction, and by no means devoid of ideas. On this showing his seems to be the ideal complementary voice to Don's, as proved by some of the complex ensemble passages they blow together. John Burch's piano suffers in places from being under-recorded, but his solo work is pleasing, and he provides strength to the rhythm section, both of whom worked with McLean and Redd in London production of "The Connection". The highspot of this excellent album is "So What", a Miles Davis piece which provides everyone with a chance to shout, which they do to considerable effect. This is modern jazz as it should be played, and I look forward to hearing more of the same quality.
G. E. Lambert

JAZZ MONTHLY     February 1962

The last time I heard Don Rendell in a club, some eighteen months before he formed this group, he sounded like a tired man, for whom music no longer held any interest or any challenge. This, happily, is no more the case. Though his style has altered in several respects, the most obvious changes lie in compelling urgency of his playing, the way he drives hard over the beat, and in its more powerful emotional content. For all the talk in the notes of Coltrane, his phrasing still puts him in a kind of Zoot Sims - Wardell Gray school, his sour tone nothwithstanding. I doubt if his conception is fully integrated one as yet - he recalls, at different times, Lucky Thompson, Sims, Gray, Coltrane and Tina Brooks - but he is more than half-way there. The solos on "So What", "You Loomed" and "Bring Back The Burch" are exceptional, and none of the others could be termed derivative. Graham Bond plays with more enthusiasm than effectiveness on most tracks. When I first heard him, he was adapting Sonny Rollin's blues style to the alto with some success, but here he is too involved with the mannerisms of Cannonball Adderley, Eric Dolphy, and others. He is perhaps best on "Jeannine", where he is relatively free from clichés. At the moment, his position in the group is similar to Tommy Young's in Armstrong's band - he certainly makes Rendell work. I would have preferred numbers that were less obviously in current fashion, but the quintet blends extremely well, with some clever interplay between the saxes. Of the originals, the Silver-ish "Manumission" is the most attractive. The rhythm section rushes noticeably on several tracks, and some of the drumming is very jerky. A rather unpolished album, then, but distinguished by an overall vitality and by Rendell's own playing. The titles on side two incidentally, are in right order on the sleeve but not on the label.
R. A.

DOWN BEAT     June 21, 1962    

Though not so far out as Joe Harriott and company, these Britishers are part of the so-called new wave in jazz that has been evolving in England. Rendell is in his early 30s; Bond is 23; Burch, 29; Archer, 22; and Kinorra, 20. The basic ailment of this set is that of floating time: drummer Kinorra wavers repeatedly, particulary in "The Haunt", decidedly speeding the tempo and generally wavering, as though unsure of himself. On the album's credit side is the patent honesty of rendell and Bond, who blow with conviction and a straight-ahead purposefulness of telling effect. "Bring Back" is a stiff waltz. Jazz waltzes can swing, ofcourse, but this one doesn't. Moreove, the saxeseffect a strained, reedy sound that fad or fancy cannot execuse. "Manumission" is a theme of conventional funkery with a pseudo-Gospel garnish. Rendell stands exposed in line with conventional U.S. tenorists in his approach; Bond belongs to the wilder, few-holds-barred school of playing. Toward the closeof this track is demonstrated a penchant of the Rendell-Bond alliance: contrapuntal interplay between tenor and alto a la Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh of some years' vintage. The braying sound of the two horns introduces Thelonious Monk's "Blue". As in the previous track, a definite stiffness in the drums is event. In the out chorus, the saxes don't even try to come in together; so icredibly sloppy is the passage, it must be concluded that the seeming carelessness is deliberate. Side 2 opens with the up "Jeannine", the time walking and the horns blending well. The line has a staccato feeling reminiscent of "Milestones". Again, the tempo picks up considerably. Once more there is the alto-tenor interplay sans rhythm section before the coda. "Loch Ness" (which will stir a chuckle in anyone familiar with the monster legend) is up and is one of the better tracks, despite the rather clumsy fade at the end. Miles Davis' "So What?" is preceded by a puzzling a-tempo piano introduction without apparent link to the main line. This is very Milesish in feeling at firs but then it veers toward the Coltrane-Dolphy persuasion as the solos unfold. The closing "The Hunt" is settled in a good, swinging groove at first. Then the thrill is gone. There is a final flurry of alto-tenor colloquy before the coda. "Roarin'" gives us an interesting glimse into the changes and developments occurring today in jazz in Britain.
J. A. T.

"I Saw Her Standing There"/"Farewell Baby"
EMI Parlophone R 5024
Released: May 3 1963

BEAT MONTHLY     June 1963    

Top side is penned by those Beatle Boys Lennon & McCartney, but though Duffy and his friends perform it well, I don't think the song is suited to an R&B outing: still it's worth a buzz from the Graham Bond organ grooves, and Duffy's vocal escapades could make the lower deck of the charts.

Record Reviews (1964-1970)
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"Long Tall Shorty"/"Long Legged Baby"
Decca F 11909
Released: May 15 1964

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     May 29, 1964
A driving insidious 12-bar shaker "Long Tall Shorty" introduces Decca's Graham Bond Organisation - an apt name, 'cos organ is strongly featured. Graham supplies the ravin', shoutin' vocal, with harmonica added for topical effect - and a steady beat is maintained throughout. Right in the current r-and-b idom, and should do moderately well. Tempo quickens slightly for "Long Legged Baby", which is based on the traditional song "Early One Morning". Again, an all-embracing and vibrant sound.

VARIOUS ARTISTS compiliation
R & B
Decca LK 4616
Released: August 14 1964

RECORD MIRROR     September 4, 1964    
Some of Britain's top R & B singers and groups are assembled together for this hard-hitting disc, which features a variety of fast, slow, wild and cool numbers with one common denominator - the blues. All of the artists are in top form, making this a good LP especially for a party. Although the "live" atmosphere that all of these stars generate in the clubs is missing, nevertheless this is a fine step forward to the perfection of the British R & B sound.
N. J.

"Tammy"/"Wade In The Water"
EMI Columbia DB 7471
Released: January 29 1965

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     January 29, 1965    
The former Debbie Reynolds smash hit "Tammy" now crops up in a new guise waxed by the Graham Bond Organisation on Columbia. A blues-flicked solo voice treatment has organ and brass backing, and an insistant beat.

The Sound Of '65
Columbia 33SX 1711
Released: February 26 1965

RECORD MIRROR     May 1, 1965    
Fans will know what to expect… but we're urging those not "in-the-know" to grab a copy of this exciting album. There's a startlingly effective mixture of sounds here, with half-a-dozen original numbers mingling with the standards. An emotional set, a sort of mixture between R & B and modern jazz. Mr. Bond's organ work and vocal leads are stimulating… "Tammy", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Mojo". Raw-edged, almost all the way. Brisk. But musicianly - that's above all else. Great tenor sax from Dick Heckstall-Smith; spasms of exciting harmonica. A first-rate album. One to be studies.

DISC     May 15, 1965
Rhythm and blues has waned slightly from the limelight, but thre are stil new records around to give it a shot in the arm. A really weird effort is "The Sound Of '65" by Graham Bond Organisation (Columbia 33 SX 1711). It sounds like nothing else I've heard, and is really musical in spite of the raw instrumental sounds achieved. Drummer Ginger Baker contributes one of the best solos I've heard on disc lately in "Oh Baby", following a neat pattern instead of acting like demented carpet beater.

Way-out blues sounds, weird at times, but always fascinating. Plenty of wailing harmonica and raving vocalistics. Bond on organ leads with vigour, and his vocals are arresting.

"Tell Me (I'm Gonna Love Again)"/"Love Come Shining Through"
EMI Columbia DB 7528
Released: Apri1 2 1965

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     April 2, 1965
Combine organ, sax, gospel-type chanting, handclaps, and the plaintive quality of the soloist's voice into "Tell Me". Has that authentic r-and-b feel. Same goes for "Love Come Shining Through".

DISC     April 3, 1965
A real swinger from this very good group. Far more commercial than anything they've done before, yet they still retain that quality. Lovely. Up-tempo song about asking to be consoled because this bird's walked out. Sad. Organ backing goes mad. "Love Come Shining Through" flip.

"Lease On Love"/"My Heart's In Little Pieces"
EMI Columbia DB 7647
Released: July 23 1965

DISC     July 24, 1965
This record is, as usual from this group, vastly uncommercial. But never mind, it's worthy of great praise. Graham is singing better than ever with a hush coloured voice and oodles of feeling. The tune almost isn't. It's the sort of record you have to listen to closely. There's nothing immediate about it all. Technically and musically above average. Graham's own "My Heart's In Little Pieces" on the flip.

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     August 4, 1965
Here's a good one which I can confidently recommend - "Lease On Love" by Columbia's Graham Bond Organisation. What I like about this group is that the soloist has an inherent r-and-b feeling, and this is particulary noticeable with the persistent organ blues riff behind him. The steady mid-tempo rhythm is contagious, and there are a few vocal harmony passages. Graham himself wrote the contrasting blues beat-ballad "My Heart's In Little Pieces", which receives a soulful styling with organ adding depth.

VARIOUS ARTISTS compiliation
Blues Now
Decca LK 4681
Released: July 30 1965

RECORD MIRROR     July 31, 1965    
Some recent blues and bluestinged tracks from Decca lumped together into a value-for-money album. Such stars as Them, Otis Spann, Graham Bond, and John Mayall help to contribute to a lively commercial LP.

There's A Bond Between Us
Columbia 33SX 1750
Possibly released December 10 1965

MELODY MAKER     December 11, 1965
Graham's work varies from the exceptional to the mediocre. There's plenty of bonus tracks like "Who's Afraid Of Virgina Wolf", "Camels And Elephants", and "Last Night", featuring the instrumental prowess of Graham on organ, Dick Heckstall-Smith on tenor sax, Jack Bruce bass and Ginger Baker drums. But Graham's singing, which passes in clubs, sounds less inviting on record. However the Bond Organization produces an unique and often thrilling sound which shouldn't be missed.

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     December 10, 1965    
Here's a restless, wailing rhythmic and sometimes overpowering sound, both vocally and instrumentally, from organist Graham Bond, who augments his music with a Mellotron, which produces all sorts of instrumental sounds. This LP certainly gets your feet moving - and soon you're swaying all over the place. They adopt an over-and-over style, repeating phrases, as in "The Night Time Is The Right Time" and "What*d I Say". A real go-go album for the party.

RECORD MIRROR     December 18, 1965    
The Graham Bond sound hasn't yet clicked successfully on record, but on stage Graham is one of the hottest club properties. This album is well-produced and has a wide variety of songs and sounds. Instrumentals, blues ballads and frantic rock numbers are all here, and Graham's graty voice up against the jazz-blues stylings of the group is a treat. Perhaps the atmosphere of his live performance are lacking, but this is interesting and entertaining nevertheless.

"St. James Infirmary"/"Soul Tango"
EMI Columbia DB 7838
Released: February 18 1966

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     February 18, 1966
The somber New Orleans blues "St. James Infirmary" is revived by Columbia's Graham Bond Organisation with a hoarse and suitably doleful vocal.

RECORD MIRROR     February 26, 1966    
Slow, tortuous version of the classic, with great lead voice but a rather un-commercial approach.

"You've Gotta Have Love Babe"/"I Love You"
Page One POF 014
Released: February 10 1967

DISC     February 4, 1967
Someone's gone mad. "You've Gotta Have Love Baby" is one of the oddest messiest noises I've ever heard. To learn it was the Graham Bond Organisation was a shock. Larry Page will never talk to me again.

MELODY MAKER     February 4, 1967
Waves of sound bite through like acid from the Graham Bond Organisation in their finest ever recording. Graham wrote and sings this heavily Eastern flavoured chant, with its drone and stomping, relentless beat, supplied by brilliant young drummer Jon Hiseman. Dick Heckstall-Smith wails in the background, and the three are marching to a big hit - for the first time.

RECORD MIRROR     February 11, 1967    
Advanced, progressive, deliberate sounds all - round - but really a specialists item. Exciting.

"Walking In The Park"/"Springtime In The City"
Warner Bros. WB 8004
Released: January 30 1970

MELODY MAKER     February 14, 1970
Here it is - the great one! The fantastic second Bond band that included Jon Hiseman and Dick Heckstall- Smith was about five years ahead of the rest, and it will be interesting for present day Colosseum fans to hear how the number developed. This hitherto unreleased cut (coupled with "Springtime In The City") thunders along with fiendish fury. Can't wait for the album.
Chris Welch (?)

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     February 14, 1970
A Sizzling rocker that pounds along ferociously. Graham Bond's uninhibited vocal is carried along by swinging organ, honking sax and some near-berserk drumming. A raw and earth sound - which, a couple of years ago, we might have regarded as dated - but which today is highly topical. Excitement galore here!

RECORD MIRROR     February 14, 1970    
Good fat authoritative blues sound here, with a riff that hits hard. Exciting. Hmmm…. do try it.

"Man Of Constant Sorrow"/"Doin' It"
Polydor 56 380
Released: March 20 1970

MELODY MAKER     March 28, 1970
God, how I'd like to see this make number one. A great, chaotic, anarchistic beautiful single! The band is as rough as hell, but immensely exciting as it builds great walls of sound behind Denny Laine's crying vocal. As you would expect from a rhythm section which includes Ginger and Phil Seaman it has a fantastic impetus and more you listen the more you get into all the sounds. Not only is it exciting music, it's also commercial with an arrangement by Ginger and Denny that instantly takes the imagination.

RECORD MIRROR     March 28, 1970
Denny Laine featured vocalist here - and there's a whole lot of talent showing through all the way. Compact basic rhythm, some good wailing - a more-in-sorrow-than-anger reading of a tradition piece. Simple, yet complex - if you get the gist.

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     April 4, 1970
Debut single by Ginger Baker's flexible 13-piece band, adapted by Denny Laine from a traditional song. Opens quietly, with maracas and guitar supporting the vocal - but the routine steadily builds, until everyone is either blowing like mad or wailing lustily behind the soloist. The melody is catchy and spirituallike, the beat is compelling, and the overall sound is attacking, vibrant and tingling. It's one of those discs that sends shivers down your spine as the excitement mounts! Airforce is not a mass-appeal outfit, but it's come up with an item that could well satisfy both the specialists and the more commercial-minded fans. And with all the publicity the group's had, it should do well.

Ginger Baker's Airforce
Polydor 2662 001
Released: May 5 1970

MELODY MAKER     May 16, 1970
Ginger Baker has led a long tough career. He has worked hard, stuck to his musical guns at all times. When a young drummer shaking the London jazz scene with his rebellious style, he invoked equal degrees of interest and criticism. With his later involvement in the pioneering days of the British R&B movement, he found more acceptance and more freedom for expression. There were to be many years of slog, sweat and little financial reward. But his drumming remained uncompromisingly Ginger Baker - a style that was to influence practically every group drummer in Britain, whether they cared to admit it or not. In the same way Gene Krupa became the inspiration of an earlier generation of players, so Ginger became a hero of rock drummers and his name even filtered through to the proverbial "man in the street" who traditionally takes great pride in his ignorance. In many ways, the Air Force album is a personal triumph for Ginger. From his whole attitude since its inception, one can see pride and keenness in the project. Ginger has never played better than on the current hectic gigs with his team of hard-bitten personalities. There is a wild mixture of discipline and rebellion, of warmth and violence in their music. Different time signature, difficult arranged passages are complemented by free blowing riffs. There is the African tribal yelling of Remi Kabaka and the introspective, heartfelt singing of Denny Laine, a thunder of drums from Phil Seaman and Baker and the delicate flute of Harold McNair… Contrasts, with an underlying drive and enthusiasm that connected so happily with the audience at the Royal Albert Hall, where the Air Force double album, due to to be released shortly, was recorded last winter. The band is an ideal vehicle for Ginger's playing which is considerably more complex and subtle than many critics would allow. In the group that preceded Air Force, he had to back up and produce the occasional showcase. Air Force, when they thunder through "Aiko Biaye" in six-eight spur Ginger on to new patterns and directions. And on "Da Da Man" one can hear the Baker capable of phrasing with a band, adding accents and goading a soloist in the big band tradition. Most are familiar with the Baker climax of tom-toms pilling on bass drums like a rotary combustion engine. But there is also the tremendous sense of time and an electrifying "feel" bringing forth surges of power in his accompaniment. There is also excitement and a sense of something alive and growing, and it is hoped that band will survive, stabilize and most essential - continue to have a lot of fun. Here is a break-down of tracks. "Da Da Man" is a fast Harold McNair composition with hard-hitting snare drum phrasing by Ginger, and solos by Graham Bond on alto and Denny Laine on guitar. Phil Seaman can be heard rattling "the dreaded log" a piece of rhythmic African timber on the work song "Early In The Morning" long a favourite with the Graham Bond Organisation of yesteryear. Listen for Ginger's mighty roll in the coda and wailing violin from Ric Grech. There are two tracks to each side which means most of the concert survives intact and naturally all the drum solos are included. The first is on "Toad" which follows the slightly uncomfortable changes of "Don't Care". "Toad unites Phil and Ginger in a tremendous percussion outing. The two men work beautifully together and give a unique display of inter-related influences, feeding each other phrases. Phil has the more melodic, flowing style and Ginger is more direct. "Aiko Biaye" in six-eight is Remi Kabaka's African rave-up with vocals by Remi and Jeanette Jacobs with solos from Chris Wood, Denny Laine and Harold McNair. Ginger, Phil and Remi have a ball in a bouncing, battling drum bash. Causing quite a diversion and one of the surprises of the concert was Denny Laine's performance of the meaningful "Man Of Constant Sorrow", now one of the most popular numbers in the bok and an example of the many facets of Air Force. Ginger's main solo comes on Stevie Winwood's tune for Blind Faith "Do What You Like" and this also features Steve, now absent from the group. At the concert Ginger's fast and furious drum finale drew a huge response from the crowd and there had to be an encore. This was the repetitive but cheerful "Doin' It", which sums up Mr. Baker's philosophy of getting on with it. Organising a rock workshop like Air Force isn't easy. Audiences have in the main grown out of the "super star" but, so have the musicians. It's now down to hard work for a solid future. And Air Marshall Baker is the man to keep 'em flying!
Chris Welch

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     May 16, 1970
Their first album, a double set recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall in January, is for the main part something of a disappointment. The co-ordination one would expect from such experienced musicians is so often lacking, sometimes alarmingly so, and there are occasions when the deluge of sound renders the solos ineffective. It seems strange - since Air Force according to Denny Lane, recognize they had shortcomings at the start but say they are now over them - to put out a live set recorded on what was their second gig! Anyway, this is what they've chosen to give us: they at the time of recording being Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, Jeanette Jacobs, Denny Laine, Chris Wood, Rick Grech, Remi Kabaka, Graham Bond, Harold McNair and Phil Seaman. There are eight tracks, two per side, with Mc Nair's Da Da Man kicking off the set to az frustrating start, the powering back line swamping out the front men on a number which cries out for studio technique. Early In The Morning, with extended flute passages from McNair and Chris Wood, is better. Don't Care is the first to suggest Air Force can gear themselves to expectations. Stevie Winwood's organ and the saxes taking it in turns to pilot their paths over the throbbing rhythm. African drummer Remi Kabaka's tribal rock Aiko Biaye, alternating between his native and Western influences, has it's stirring ,moments but it isn't until the final side of the four that the band really begins to satisfy. Here, on Baker's Do What You Like, Air Force lead the charge for Ginger to show his worth on a drum solo as fine as he'll ever do, and the closer Doin' It they fuse as a unit to suggest that time is all they need. Trouble is, I can only see this album alienating those who would love to see Ginger's squad succeed. Like myself. Other titles: Toad, Man Of Constant Sorrow.
Nick Logan

RECORD MIRROR     May 30, 1970
A vey heavy double album from Ginger Baker' Airforce - complete with Ginger, of course, Steve Winwood, Jeanette Jacobs, Denny Laine, Chris Wood, Rick Grech, Remi Kabaka, Graham Bond, Harold McNair and Phil Seaman. Recorded live at London's Royal Albert Hall, sometime in January, it was the band's second outing - and it shows on the record with a mammoth dependence on percussion. The first track, "Da Da Man" drives along pretty well. A long instrumental piece with a constructive use of the horn section, but the drums are very dominant. Track two, "Early In The Morning" has a slow, horns and drum beginning building up to Winwood's straining voice. And all goes well until the middle when it gets a little messy with not the brightes ever violin from Rick Grech. There follows a long instrumental section ending up where it started - with Winwood and some very nice singing. The first track on side two is "Don't Care" - a slightly faster number with Stevie Winwood and Jeanette Jacobs harmonizing. The backing is complete with the horn section blaring away… again. But the song again falls into the almost rigid pattern of a little singing to begin, a long instrumental interlude with a quick burst of vocalizing to finish up with. The next track is the Toad - well known to lovers of Cream' "Wheels of Fire" album. It is a showpiece for Baker's drumming skills and it goes on and on and on… The drumming is not relieved by Remi Kabaka's African track, "Aiko Biaye" - a long (why are they all so long?) thumping African piece with all the sublety of a TV coffee commercial. It comes as a pleasant relief to get back to Denny Laine's singing of "Man of Constant Sorrow". The last side begins with Winwood singing beautifully and playing a very nice organ. And then comes Baker again with a long solo. The last track of all, "Doin' It" has an almost Indian use of the horn section. And drums blaring away. After so much drums your reviewer had a headache. The album is probably great for drum-freaks. But otherwise it's a little hard on your lugholes.

Solid Bond
Warner Bros. WS 3001
Released: May 29 1970

Disc     May 30, 1970    
Graham Bond shows how he created heavy stars Graham Bond, like Mayall, is a father-figure of the current music scene - because some of the most highly rated musicians today started in either the Bond or Mayall stables. "Solid Bond" is a double album of early Bond things, featuring Jack Bruce on bass, Dick Heckstall-Smith (alto and soprano sax), John McLaughlin on guitar, Ginger Baker drumming on early recordings and Jon Hiseman on later ones. Graham plays variously organ, alto, piano and does vocals. Three tracks in mono were recorded live at Klooks Kleek (alas now defunct) as far back as 1963, and although they're musically gems, very jazzy, the recording isn't too hot. The rest consists of things recorded at Olympic studios in 1966. Everyone raves about Blood Sweat and Tears as the greatest innovators of a style, but as this sleeve note points out, this album shows that this Bond band was there years earlier.

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     June 6, 1970
Graham Bond is also starred on this double LP, which also has Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jon Hiseman and John McLaughlin featured. Only 12 tracks, three of them - Grass Is Greener, Doxy and Ho Ho Country Kicking Blues - go back to Klooks Kleek in 1963, recorded mono. The others, in stereo, are produced by Jon Hiseman at Olympic Sound in 1966. Good music, specially on Green Onions, Last Night and Walking In The Park.

BEAT INSTRUMENTAL     June(?) 1970
The amount of musical talent to pass through the various Graham Bond groups is truly amazing. On Solid Bond we have four sides of previously unavailable material by two of the Bond combinations; the first has Bond on alto, with McLaughlin, Bruce and Baker as sidemen; the second is the famed trio of Hiseman, Heckstall-Smith and Bond, by this time playing organ and piano as well. The quartet was recorded live at Klooks Kleek in 1963, and takes up one and a half sides with three tracks. The music is easy blowing jazz, hardly comparable with the later work of the Bond Organisation, or of Cream, two of whose members play here. It does, however, explain what Bruce is up to these days, and is solid enough to appeal to rock fans. But the trio is where it's all happening - the demonic threesome that could sound like a six piece outfit, even outside the recording studio. They were evidently in fine form when they cut these tracks (1966), and it's still a delight to hear a band blow as spiritedly as they do here, with Hiseman's drumwork particulary stunning, and Bonsd rasping out the vocals. Numbers include Walking In The park and Neighbour Neighbour, there are some intelligent liner notes, and Warner Reprise present us the whole package at a special cheap price.

RECORD MIRROR     June 13, 1970
A rather schizoid double album from one of Britain's formative groups of the sixties. Some of the tracks - particularly John McLaughlin's "The Grass Is Greener" and Bond's "Walking In The Park" - are really well worth having. But then there are the copies of American originals such as "Green Onions" which add very little to the songs. The album includes contributions from Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jon Hiseman and John McLaughlin and dates back as far as 1963. There's some stunning playing interspersed with some really dull tracks. Well worth having, though as a memorial to one of the bands which started it all going in the early sixties.

ROLLING STONE     December 12, 1970
Graham Bond, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin. Superstars in heavy, heavenly collaboration? Nope. Even Warner's hype squad can't goose this flimsy, tepid collection into any such distinction. The badly recorded live tracks from 1963 (mono only) contain a string of wobbly solos in jazz contexts possibly interesting as juvenalia. Period. Nobody's sayin' nuthin'. McLaughlin is at least fluent, but Bruce sounds like just another bass player and Baker's drumming is a revelation. Don't ask what kind. The 1966 studio tracks are not much better. Uninspired, riff-heavy blues. The foot taps out of habit, but the mind and feelings quickly wander. Bond's vocals are sorry imitiations of superior black originals. His organ is lively and competent, but falls on every imaginable cliché and the alto playing is plain bad. Running time for four sides is under 65 minutes, and scarely a minute of it is worthwhile (except for Jon Hiseman's drumming on the studio date). Why WB went after this largely dismal material is a mystery, unless someone sold them on the idea of an audience of scholars out there who, like most scholars, would be turned on simply by the fact that it all happened and couldn't care less whether it was bad or good.

Airforce 2
Polydor 2383 029
Released: December 18 1970

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     December 19, 1970
It couldn't be any worse than the first which, I'm sure, did more harm than good for a band that started with so much promise and appeared to lose itself in a bad dream. Air Force 2 is much more like it and if it doesn't fulfil all that initial promise, it meets the compromise hopes forced upon us by Air Force 1. Though it's been dished out in abundance by Santana and their impersonators, the use of tribal-like rhythms by Ginger's mighty line up, played like only musicians of their caliber can, is a joyous sound to the ears. Speedy Acquaye's African drums and the Baker dynamo, with the girl singers Diane Stewart and Aiki Ashman chorusing and chanting to great effect, provide an interesting and colourful basis over which the soloist can rise. Graham Bond wrote one track, 12 Gates To The City, and arranged another, Let Me Ride, while the number Ginger wrote for Cream, Sweet Wine, on the riffs neatly transposes the girl singers for Eric's guitar. Bond takes the solo in the oddly-titled Do U No Hu Yor Phrenz R? (Do You Know Who Your Friends Are? If you can't work it out), and is joined by soloists Steve Gregory (tenor) and Bud Beadle (baritone) on We Free Kings. Today is an 8 minute drum outing, with the set completed by Denny Laine's workout of the old Drifters/Moodies song I Don't Want To Go On Without You. Altogether a much more hopeful selection.
Nick Logan

Record Reviews (1971-1972)
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Airforce 2
Polydor 2383 029
Released: December 18 1970

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     December 19, 1970
It couldn't be any worse than the first which, I'm sure, did more harm than good for a band that started with so much promise and appeared to lose itself in a bad dream. Air Force 2 is much more like it and if it doesn't fulfil all that initial promise, it meets the compromise hopes forced upon us by Air Force 1. Though it's been dished out in abundance by Santana and their impersonators, the use of tribal-like rhythms by Ginger's mighty line up, played like only musicians of their caliber can, is a joyous sound to the ears. Speedy Acquaye's African drums and the Baker dynamo, with the girl singers Diane Stewart and Aiki Ashman chorusing and chanting to great effect, provide an interesting and colourful basis over which the soloist can rise. Graham Bond wrote one track, 12 Gates To The City, and arranged another, Let Me Ride, while the number Ginger wrote for Cream, Sweet Wine, on the riffs neatly transposes the girl singers for Eric's guitar. Bond takes the solo in the oddly-titled Do U No Hu Yor Phrenz R? (Do You Know Who Your Friends Are? If you can't work it out), and is joined by soloists Steve Gregory (tenor) and Bud Beadle (baritone) on We Free Kings. Today is an 8 minute drum outing, with the set completed by Denny Laine's workout of the old Drifters/Moodies song I Don't Want To Go On Without You. Altogether a much more hopeful selection.
Nick Logan

Holy Magick
Vertigo 6360 021
Possibly released December 18 1970

MELODY MAKER     January 2, 1971
According to ancient Druidic and Celtic legend, King Arthur will return in this age of Aquarius to sustain us. And man, he's going to blow a mean blues; according to merlin Bond! Long before the recent spate of black magic involvement by some groups, Graham has been involved in white, or as he prefers to call it - holy magick. In order to help the word and perhaps gain a little more understanding he has devoted his latest album "to the true seekers of light". The lyrics are mainly incantations and chants in Egyptian and Atlean. Stonehenge is photographed on the sleeve with Graham and his wife Diane Stewart raising their arms in supplication. If you can't take the magick however, there is a lot of wailing music to enjoy. Graham sings with his usual pre-Joe Cocker intensity, and plays organ, piano and sax. Keith Bailey is a storm on drums, and other musicians involved are Victor Brox, Big Pete Bailey, Aliki Ashman, John Gross, Alex Dmochowski, Godfrey McLean and John Morsehead. They are at their best on slow tempo blues like "The Judgement". And even if you don't want an astral temple constructed around you, playing side one, should help contact the "higher forces", according to Bond. At least we can invent a new category - Rockult!
Chris Welch

BEAT INSTRUMENTAL     January (?) 1971
It's really a great pity that Graham Bond didn't achieve his rightful place in our gallery of fame a long time ago. If he had, he wouldn't be making records like this. Reluctant as we are to pan Graham - who is an excellent and creative musician - this type of album is singulary unimpressive. Graham is, of course, into Magic - of the Right Hand Path variety - and seems to have become involved with Alasteir Crowley's Order Of The Golden Dawn. I make no comment upon his beliefs, but I have my doubts that this boring album will convert many others to the Great Wisdom. Judged as a record, it doesn't make it.

DISC     January (?) 1971    
"Holy Magick" is entirely involved with the occult and the mysteries of the Higher Powers. And if you buy records for musical enjoyment you won't get much here. Religious chants of any sect are repetious and boring (hypnotic monotony is part of the strength). So, musically, boring is what this record is on side one, even with the participation of Victor Brox, Rick Gretch, Kevin Stacey, Diane Stewart, Aliki Ashman, Keith Bailey, Alex Dmochowski, John Morsehead and others. Side 2 is an improvement with more the sort of things you would want to hear from Bond with a couple of bluesey things and the jazzy "The Magician", easily the best track.

SOUNDS     January (?) 1971
Because Graham Bond is a name which means so much to British musicians, anything he does warrants a great deal of attention. For those who remember him from the days of The Graham Bond Organisation, Initiation and now Air Force, this, Graham's debut solo album with his wife Diane, will come as a surprise to those who have somehow failed to get wind of his interest in what he terms the "Western Mackical Tradition". "Holy Magick" is obviously the product of extreme sincerity but it's appeal will be on a limited scale. However, the name behind the album will at least ensure interest - which surely it it's whole purpose

"Twelve Gates To The City"/ "Water Water"
Vertigo 6059 042
Released: April 30 1971

Graham with his new group, and a piece that combines the earthiness of the blues with the enchantment of Eastern magic! There's a fascinating vocal exchange between Graham and Diane Stewart , swirling organ, and some fine guitar and flute solos. You've heard of Afro-jazz. . . well, this is Arabian-jazz! And as a bonus, the double -A side is a new version of Graham's stage speciality "Water Water". Progressive fans will find it value for money.

RECORD MIRROR     May 1, 1971
Excellent drumming, organ and vocal work on a number that works most of the time - a commended effort and one which could just break through for the hard grafting Graham.

MELODY MAKER     May 1 (?) 1971
Holy organs - it's the Mighty Bond, back in action with shapely Diane, his lovely wife, and a new bands. Graham is greatly concerned with the righthand path of magick, and it may lead him up the causeway of rock to new success.

"We Put Our Magick On You"
Vertigo 6360 042
Released: August 20 1971

CREAM (UK)     October 1971
For a non-magick freak like me, the most exciting thing about the Magick album is how little Graham Bond's sound has changed from the days of the Organisation, which was just about the only British R&B band that had the courage to create rather than imitate. The opening track begins with several minutes of swinging, wailing organ playing, and when Graham starts singing the tone and phrasing make it seem as if he's never been away. Only the words have been changed - good and evil are now abstract nouns rather than adjectives describing lovers or relationships - and occasionally they sit strangely on top of the well-tried blues formulae. But overall, it's fine uncomplicated music, notable for the work of Diane Stewart and of Nigerian drummer Gaspar Lawall. And wherever Bond's head is, his heart is still in the blues.

Review of: GRAHAM BOND
Bond In America
Philips 6382 010
Released: April 14 1972

Tracks Bond recorded while in exile in America. Previously unreleased, they must be at least three years old. It's a pity the record company left the recording history off this album, because there are some very good unnamed back-up musicians. I'm not too keen on the first side, but from, and including, "Baroque" on the second side, the sound of '65 Bond comes through. Only the last four tracks stand-out, but it's still well worth the purchase price of just over £1.
Simon Stable

MELODY MAKER     May (?) 1972
Strange enough this is also sub-titled "Bond In America". By the absence of sleeve-notes and non-commital title it would seem the record company don't quite know what to do with these oddly assorted cuts, apparently made during the Mighty Bond's sabbatical in the States a couple of years ago. They start of rather badly with some dull riffing on "Stiff Necked Children" and things get worse with "Walk Onto Me". It's only when Graham starts swinging "I Couldn't Stand It Anymore", that anything of interest happens. The rest of the time is taken up with dull performances of dull tunes. It's all a great shame, because these were made at a time when Graham was fighting back after a bad patch and don't really show him at his best. There is old throaty vocals and some funky organ work, but it all palls after the raw brilliance and excitement of the Organisation days. No. . . this isn't Graham Bond!
Chris Welch

A Story Ended
Bronze ILPS 9196
Released: June 23 1972

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     June 24, 1972
You've been wondering what happened to Colosseum - well, it never went away. It's all here on Dick's first solo album, which is a long-held ambition and the most worthwhile thing to come out of the disintegration of that excellent musicians' group. Of first hearing, you can feel how Colosseum must have been Dick's ideal group in many ways. Because many of that band's musical ideas are present here, and, as personnel include Mark Clarke, Hiseman, Farlowe and Greenslade, "A Story Ended" even sounds like Colosseum. But the scope is even more ambitious and the inclusion of old team-mate Graham Bond and newer colleague Caleb Quaye add extra dimensions of funkiness that Hiseman's band somehow lacked. Most of the lyrics are written by Pete Brown and most of the orchestration is by the tenorman. On the whole Bond displays more sympathy for Dick's ideas than Farlowe - who's long acquired his tricks and seems reluctant to give them up. Bond understands. But Farlowe does a superb job on the album's best track, "Pirate's Dream", which also features Bond on Moog and which took Dick eight months to write. It's enormous and jagged in scope and the interval changes ring oddly until you play it a second or third time. Then it makes sense. This really is a dazzling record. Dick has kept his word: to make his own album. But it's really a summary in music of his long experience with some of our major musical talents. I hope the title isn't a prophecy and I'm sure that if Dick goes back on the road again it won't be.
Tony Tyler

SOUNDS     July 8, 1972
As an idea, Colosseum always appealed to me; in reality, they never quite made it for me on record, although I thoroughly enjoyed them live a couple of times. In retrospect, both Jon Hiseman (who produced this album) and Dick Heckstall-Smith say they never allowed themselves enough time to do their albums properly, and that's a fault they've rectified with Dick's first solo album. Taking into account the musicians (especially on "Pirate's Dream", which could have been Colosseum's next major feature had they lived) it's not surprising that there are close paralleles between this album and that band. But beyond that, this is most certainly Dick's album, and his tenor playing particularly, cuts through with a kind of mellow brilliance that is rare and beautiful. Four songs by Dick and Pete Brown make up side one, with a basic band of Caleb Quaye, Mark Clarke, Rob Tait, Dick, and some surprisingly good vocals from Juicy Lucy's Paul Williams. "What The Morning Was After" shows Dick's tenor playing at it's best, and Graham Bond's organ on "Moses In The Bullrushourses" really steams along. But it is "The Pirate's Dream", featuring Dick, Jon Hiseman, Chris Farlowe, Mark Clarke, Chris Spedding and Graham Bond, that's the piece de resistance of the album. Complex, intricate, yet strong in it's effect, the track is a killer, and Chris Farlowe's singing is magnificent. It's well worth having the album for that alone.

Bootleg Him
Released: July 14 1972

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     July 15, 1972
All our yesterplays from Alexis and his bands of renown, which span a decade of heartfelt interest in the blues out of skiffle into jazz. Album one is a compendium by the legendary Blues Incorporated which includes some interesting antiques from embryonic super stars like Jack Bruce, Charlie Watts (one of world's great un-superstars, bless him), Ginger Baker and vintage solos from inspired jazzers like Graham Bond and Dick Heckstall-Smith . . . . .
Keith Altham

MELODY MAKER     November 4, 1972
. . . . . And there is an exciting and historic track "Rockin'" from 1963 with Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Graham Bond and Dick Heckstall-Smith, just before they formed their own group, plus Johnny Parker on boogie piano. Tremendous stuff. . . . . .
Chris Welch

Review of: BOND & BROWN
Lost Tribe
Greenwich GSS 104
Released: July 14 1972

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     July 22, 1972
Unfortunately, this group seems to lack a strong direction on this three-track maxi single. It's a pity because Pete Brown and Graham Bond have both been around for along time. But there's no focal point and no interesting paths to follow.

Two Heads Are Better Than One
Chapter 1 CHS R 813
Released: November 24 1972

SOUNDS     December 1972 ???
It was the Graham Bond Organisation out of which Ginger Baker emerged. And it was Pete Brown who had most of the interesting lyrical idea for Baker's later juggernaut, Cream. The combination of Bond and Brown is an interesting one, and with Bond's latter interest in the occult and Brown's in the obscure, you get such fascinating song titles as Oobati and Scunthorpe Crabmeat Train Sideways Boogie Shuffle Stomp emerging. It's a good album too, with a gospelly feel coming through, and Bond's keyboards particularly prominent.

MELODY MAKER     December 16, 1972
Two of the most influential characters of the Sixties have been doing the clubs together now for some time. Graham Bond had the Organisation, a spawning ground for so many fine musicians. Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce both played in his band before forming Cream where they teamed up with Peter Brown - lyricist extraordinaire. Although Bond and Brown don't collaborate on all eight tracks those where they do share credits - or where Pete has put the music to his own lyrics - are the better songs. Brown still has an ear for the strong, often unlikely image - "Lost Tribe" - and Bond's vocals are strident and intimidating especially when growling his way through his own lyrics - "Ig The Pig" - and putting hoodoos on various people. On Lisle Harper's "Oobati" the vocals are not unlike Edmundo Ros and Pete Brown's trumpet gives the track an Afro/West Indian warmth. Mrs Bond's contribution - "Amazing Grass" - opens promisingly but fails to catch fire due to the very dry, flat production that spoils much of the album. Ed Spevock's drums sound suffers most but Derek Foley puts some nice guitar fills in. Brown still uses words as much for their sound as for their meaning which makes some lines rather obscure but that may well be down to the Magick Arts the Band still appears to be into. Graham's own instrumental contributions are disappointingly infrequent. A couple of piano solos, the odd wail on alto sax and little else besides. The gruff Bond tonsils also come to grips with Scunthorpe Crabmeat Train Sideways Boogie Shuffle Stomp" and "C.F.D.T.". An album for the converted.

LET IT ROCK (UK)     January 1973
Because it takes a record company longer to get a record out than it takes a musician to change his mind, it sometimes happens that a record is an anachronism on the first day of release. Songs are dropped, new ones are written, old ones revived; line-ups alter, individuals leave and are replaced (it only takes one decisive moment for a band to split completely); the musical balance may thus be tilted, and the band - though the same by name - is a different outfit. Such is the case with Bond + Brown. Since Two Heads Are Better Than One was recorded earlier in the year, the bass guitarist, Lisle Harpwer has left and, more importantly, so has Diane Bond. Apart from his playing Harper's contribution to the album is one composition, "Oobati", which he also sings. Diane, on the other hand, sings on almost every cut, either in duet or as a distinctive backing vocalist. She also wrote one song, "Amazing Grass" (performed with Graham), which is an evocative paean - and she ain't singing about the turf at Wembley. Her absence has clearly altered the sound of the band. Two Heads Are Better Than One is not a bad album, it just doesn't reflect where the band is at now. Graham Bond's mixture of R & B-based rock and occult obsession provides a responsive base for Pete Brown's bizarre lyrics, and Brown doesn't confine himself to a role as a songwriter, but sings on most of the tracks (with more control than he used to) and adds occasional hand drums and trumpet. Despite his concentration on keyboards Bond still remembers how to blow alto, as he shows notably during a brief exchange with the lead guitar on "C.F.D.T. (Colonel Fright's dancing Terrapins)". Judged in isolation of subsequent events the album is fine, but in the knowledge that the band has changed and is now blowing harder and better than ever, it provokes feelings of dissatisfaction. After they've made the next one they've probably all take up the kazoo or become Jehovah's Witnesses.
John Pidgeon

Faces And Places Volume 4
BYG 529 904
Released: January 19 1973

NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS     May 12, 1973
The re-issue of Byg's "Rock Generation" series continues under the title of "Faces And Places". Volume 4 resurrects Georgio Gomelsky's original cuts of the Graham Bond Band, the one that included Ginger Baker, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Jack Bruce, while Vol. 5 is a re-issue of that Birmingham Rhythm and Blues Festival album featuring Spencer Davis with Stevie Winwood, Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart and Sonny Boy Williamson with the Yardbirds. Most of these items are rather poorly recorded, and possess an authentic bootleg sound. Nevertheless, much of the music is worthwhile.

By Borge Skilbrigt
© Silly Cow Publishing