August 29, 2016

A temporary cover for the next TEB's CD...

Talented designer Martin Cook is working on the next Third Ear Band CD titled "Spirits". This below is a temporary cover for Gonzo Multimedia's on line use...
Do you like it?

no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)       

August 26, 2016

Roberto Musci's video tribute to the Third Ear Band!

Titled "Mosaic", this below is a beautiful tribute our friend Roberto Musci dedicated to the Third Ear Band based on his personal reinterpretation of the old classics recently published  by Gonzo Multimedia.

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)         

August 14, 2016

TEB gig in Piacenza will be published in September/October 2016.

After checking the TEB audio tape recorded on January 14th, 1989 in Piacenza, Gonzo Multimedia approved the next prodution.
Titled "Spirits", the CD will be published in September, with a cover/booklet designed by Martin Cook and the sounds engineered by John Hughes.
The booklet has been written by Luca Chino Ferrari and Francesco Paolo Paladino, who shot the original video in 1989.
The about one hour concert was played by the same line-up of "New Forecasts of the Third Ear Almanac" (Sweeney, Carter, Smith and Dobson) and it will be some great surprises for all the fans... 

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)        

August 04, 2016

Audiobook of "Macbeth" with TEB's music realised soon?

Marc Adler wrote me saying he's recording an audiobook of "Macbeth", and he'd love to use music from Third Ear Band's score for 1972 Roman Polanski's film. He said it's his favorite shakespearean production and asked me some about copyrights questions...
no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)        

July 07, 2016

"Mosaic", Roberto Musci's tribute to the Third Ear Band. A short review.

Out on June 17th, 2016, published by Rob Ayling's Gonzo Multimedia, is now available Roberto Musci's tribute to the Third Ear Band. Titled "Mosaic", it consists of twelve tracks composed by Musci and played by himself using various kind of instruments as Plunderphonics, tibetan bells, flute, guitar, synth, hand drums, percussion, organ.
At a very first listening, the album is an amazing surprise because, albeit these are new compositions, the listener 'feel' the old fascinating mood of the band, even if totally renewed and rivisited.
Musci adopted for the album John Oswald's technique of composition and recording based on Plunderphonics, "using samples from their cds, filtered with effects and with “cut and paste technique", I created some songs" (from an interview with Musci).

And thus we have old TEB' tunes reborn at a new life: it's really amazing and beautiful listening to legendary tracks as "Ghetto Raga", "Mosaic", "Air", "Druid One", "Egyptian Book of the Dead" or "The Beach" dressed with a new suit.
The grafts of original TEB single sequences of sound work perfectly in this new texture because they seem rightly coherent and natural in this new soundscape. Not a simply juxtaposition of quotations of music, but as for a film editing  we have here sequences of old and new music totally integrated.
Some compositions are very astonishing: my favourite one is "The Beach", a 5 minutes of sinister, disquieting tune with a funeral cadence after an opening debussyan atmosphere...

Believe me, through the years I've listened to many attempts to tribute and/or compose (music inspired by) the glorious, unique sound of the TEB, but this is the real first time we have an album where Sweeney, Minns, Coff and Smith seem to come back for playing their awesome music again!

A sampler of the album ("Ghetto Raga") at
Musci's personal Web site:

An interview with  Roberto on the Third Ear Band is at
A file where Roberto explains his project is at

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)       

July 03, 2016

Third Ear Band original EMI-Harvest catalogue acquired by Warner Music Group 'for the benefit' of American Indies...

Quite surprisingly few days ago I was contacted by Ken Shipley, supervisor at The Numero Group (, a little label from Chicago, related to the big fish Warner Music Group
He wrote me this:

"As part of the agreement that allowed WMG to buy Parlophone three years ago, the EU required them to sell off 20% of their assets ( My company bid to buy several of those assets, which included The Third Ear’s albums Alchemy, S/T, and Music From Macbeth. Per the terms of the agreement, we must get artist approval to make the deal happen.

We are hoping to strike a new arrangement with the band members that would give a higher royalty rate and eliminate nonsense like breakage fees, as well find new opportunities for the band’s songs in TV and Film (alongside a reissue campaign).
I would greatly appreciate your help on this matter.
Ken Shipley"

I have contacted the old members to ask them how to go ahead with this.
Good news for the glorious old catalogue? New opportunities for the band's compositions on radio/TV/movie circuits? A brand new life for the Third Ear Band's music in the U.S.A.?

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

June 28, 2016

TEB 1989 gig in Piacenza realised soon?

With my friend Francesco Paolo Paladino from Piacenza, an original film maker, musician and composer, I'm checking an old tape with the aim to realise the full gig TEB played at Circolo Tuxedo (Piacenza) in January 1989, as a day-off concert of the brief Italian second tour.
At the time, Francesco made a video recording of it and the first thing to do now is to transfer it into digital to realize if it has a good quality  for making a record.
As everyone knows the line-up at the time was: Glen Sweeney (hand drums), Mick Carter (electric guitars & electronics), Lyn Dobson (flute and saxes) and Ursula Smith (violin), in my opinion one of the best reformed TEB ever...
So cross the fingers and hope the tape is still in good condition... 

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

June 16, 2016

Memories of Brian Diprose: the Third Ear Band 1977-1978...

Brian Diprose is a (blues) bass player who had some relations with the Third Ear Band in the second half of Seventies when Glen Sweeney and Paul Minns tried to relaunch the group with a new musical direction
After few concerts in London with a line-up including Glen, Paul, Diprose and Marcus Beale (one of the few documented gig was at the Roundhouse), in 1978 the band recorded the well-known psychedelic pop album "Apocaliptic Anthems", realised by Ma.So. only in 1991 as the Hydrogen Jukebox with a new title: "Prophecies". Getting in touch with Brian through Jacob Brookman (a musician who played with him in a blues band)  it is a good chance to have some memories from that obscure period (even if he says "I'll try to answer your questions as well as I can, but it was a long time ago!"...) and to reveal some little mysteries (i.e. the band who recorded the pop album was a new line-up of the Third Ear Band, not a new version of the Hydrogen Jukebox!).

When you met Glen? Which was your experiences in music until that period?
"I started off playing in a local band in 1967 that played covers of songs by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, The Foundations, Lee Dorsey, Sam and Dave and other soul acts of that period. I was also a member of a folk club and met Steve Ashley there.

After a few years Steve invited me to join his band Ragged Robin and we played on the college and University circuit alongside acts such as Steeleye Span. We also got to know Fairport Convention very well. Steve had recorded an album of his songs using a variety of musicians before we became a band, and he

wished to replace the opening track 'Fire and Wine' with the version that Ragged Robin had worked out. We used Dave Mattacks on drums as our regular drummer was unavailable for the session. We also recorded an instrumental 'Morris Minor' at the same time. That was the only material that made it on to record for the band until we were asked to play on a record by Anne Briggs who was a highly regarded folk singer and
one- time partner of Bert Jansch. 
We recorded with her in one session and the album 'Sing a Song For You' was eventually released in 1996.
I also played in a local band where I met Mick Carter. It was just a loose collective of musicians playing covers and we played mainly in pubs."

Did you know the band before meeting Sweeney? Which was your opinion about the music the band played?
"I didn't know the band before I met Mick, but he told me he had been jamming with Glen and Paul and various bass players for a few years. It seemed that the bass players were unused to playing free form music that had no structure. I wasn't familiar with the band's music but I knew of the band's reputation. When yet another bass player left I volunteered my services and began weekly rehearsals at Paul's house in Sheperd's Bush".
Do you remember the exact period of your experience with the band?
"I believe I joined in 1977 but there is no record of that fact".

There's just only a documented gig with you in the band: do you remember other concerts played?
"There were other gigs but I think they were all with Marcus Beale. I don't think we played any gigs with Jim Hayes. The gigs were at Bath and Cambridge, but I don't know the dates or the venues".

When you played live with TEB the tracks was from their repertoire or from the new pop album?
"I believe I only played four gigs with the band and all the songs were from the Hydrogen Jukebox repertoire. Glen was the leader and he was totally committed to this project and the gigs were set up to promote those songs. To pad out the gigs there was a lot more improvisation if my memory is correct".

Did you record something on live or at rehearsals?
Jim gypsy Hayes
"Sadly, nothing was ever recorded at rehearsals. I can't imagine why that was the case as I know there were some great moments of Paul and Mick trading licks that I would love to hear now. I think the simple explanation is that none of us thought to take a tape recorder along to the sessions, which seems a great shame now". 

How it happened the band became The Hydrogen Jukebox? Any memories about it?
"All decisions about the band's direction were made by Glen. For instance, it was he who decreed that the band would be song based. To that end he turned up each week with a set of lyrics which Mick and I would devise music for. As you know, this did not sit well with Paul as the songs had to have structure, which ran counter to the Third Ear Band ethos. As none of us were singers we had to audition for one.

(L-R) Diprose, Hayes, Carter, Phil Shaw (recording engineer) and Sweeney.

We landed on Marcus, and he was there for perhaps a year or more, but he was young and open to constant criticism from Paul, with the result that some days we would hardly play any music at all. When he eventually left we tried again and got Jim. Although it was a tough challenge for Jim to learn all those words and invent melodies for the songs, I think he did a marvellous job. So we were all set to record the album and, just before we did, Paul quit, which was a terrible shame as he had some beautiful parts worked out.

Jim 'gypsy' Hayes
All this time we were the Third Ear Band and Glen went round the record companies trying to get a deal for it, but failed.
After the recording was done and could not be sold, the band fell apart immediately. Jim lived in a caravan in the country and had no telephone so we had no way of contacting him, and we never heard from him again. As Paul had left the band we had nowhere to rehearse and Mick, Glen and I were heartbroken that the 2 years we had spent bringing the album to fruition had not found a buyer, so we split up. 

It was a few years later when I got a call from Glen saying the album was out and there was a copy for me. So I went round his house and there I found out that he had re-titled the band the Hydrogen Jukebox. Mick and I didn't know that was going to happen, but I can understand it, as it is completely at odds with the Third Ear Band as everybody knew them".

Mick Carter during the sessions of "Apocaliptic Anthem".

What do you think about the album realised?
"I love the music on the album, but I suppose I'm a bit like most people who find the lyrics a bit hard going. There was no way that Glen would alter them so that's what we had to work with".

What do you remember on the rehearsals and the recordings at the Dansette Studios in Kent?
"The recordings were done live over two days. There was no rehearsal as we had worked everything out before. The recording was made in one room with just a few microphones and there are very few overdubs... I played two bass parts on "Kingdom of the Brave" but I don't remember much else about the sessions as they were so long ago".

Which was the problems to play electric bass in that kind of music and your specific ones?
"When I joined the band Glen had already decided that the band would be playing songs to which he supplied the lyrics, so the music had to be structured as opposed to the freeform stream of consciousness style that was at the heart of the Third Ear Band. As there wasn't a vocalist at that early stage rehearsals would generally start with Glen laying down a beat and the rest of us throwing in ideas that we either had pre-formed or which occurred to us as the sessions went on. We would hang on to the ones that promised to be most suitable for the lyrics that we were complementing.  

TEB or Hydrogen Jukebox? Another shot from the sessions.
I didn't have any difficulty playing electric bass in this scenario as Mick was there playing electric guitar, albeit heavily modified by his extensive pedal board, so the band wasn't set up to be in any way like the Third Ear Band that everybody knew. I only had a rudimentary knowledge of the band's output and I had never seen them live, so, in some ways, I was unburdened by having to make the music become a continuation of that ethos".

Why the band split? What's happened to the guys, expecially to Jim?
"As I said, the band split up at once as no buyer could be found for the record and we had lost our rehearsal facility as Paul had left the band. And Jim just disappeared, never to be heard of again".

Mick Carter and Brian Diprose listen to the album recordings.
Still in contact with Mick? He's a very good person, I remember him as one of the more kind and positive guys I've ever met in music biz. "Yes, I'm still in touch with Mick... We speak on the phone from time to time but I don't see him very often. My sister is married to his brother by the way..."

After this experiences did you play in other bands? Any records recorded/produced?
"I carried on playing and still do. I worked with many fine bands, mostly in blues/soul settings but the music scene had changed completely by the time we finished
the album. 

Brian Diprose with bass playing with Jack Brookman & Old Street Blues
I was in London and all the bands were young and playing punk rock or very stripped down aggressive music and I had to search hard for bands that still wanted players like me. I have been lucky to have kept playing ever since, mostly with covers bands, but with good quality musicians. My current band is The Bluerays which consists of players who have all been professional at some stage of their lives. You can find out about us if you go online to 'Lemonrock...The Bluerays." [go to]

             The Bluerays at The Three Wishes Winchmore Hill in August 2015

How would you define you?
"I don't know how I define me... I'm a pretty good bass player who likes reading, crosswords and the occasional pint of good beer."

Thanks for all Brian, very interesting and charming...
Brian Diprose with Jack Brookman & Old Street Blues
"Hope that's of use to you Luca. It's been so many years since those days that it's hard to be totally accurate with the details. It's a shame how the music business had taken a completely different track by the time our record was finished but it's great to have it on CD as a reminder of what we achieved. My biggest regret is Paul leaving just before we recorded it. I know that diehard Third Ear Band fans will see it as a sell out, but I think it has a charm and character that stands up on its own...".

Brian Diprose rough discography*

Steve Ashley - "Stroll On" (LP - Gull Records, UK 1974)
He played bass on "Fire and Wine". A CD edition, titled "Stroll On Revisisted", was realised in 1999 by Market Square Records as MSMCD 104. 
Glen Sweeney's Hydrogen Jukebox - "Prophecies" (CD - Materiali Sonori MASO CD900018, Italy 1991)
Anne Briggs - "Sing a Song for You" (CD -  Fledg'ling Records FLED 3008, UK 1996)
Recorded in 1973 but realised in 1996.
3P Sweet - "Too Close to the Moon" (single - Record Records RR1, France 1982) 

* "Sorry, Luca, I made a few other records that never sold and I can't remember them now, but I mostly play live".

no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)       

June 10, 2016

An interview with Luca Ferrari about the TEB on "Perfect Sound Forever" Webzine.

An interview with Luca Ferrari by Jason Gross about Ghettoraga Archive and the involvement with the Third Ear Band is on line at "Perfect Sound Forever" Webzine site -

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)      

June 05, 2016

Another Progressive Rock anthology with a TEB track included! Down with the "file under" tyranny...

The old commonplaces about the Third Ear Band music are hard to die! Here's another 3CDs anthology of the so-called Progressive Rock with a track of the band included (on side three,  "Cosmic Wheel", from "The Magus" album), this time made by Music Brokers (MBB7082) in Argentina in 2010. "Progressive Rock Trilogy" the greatly original title...

One should explain what Keith Emerson's or the Premiata Forneria Marconi's music have in common with the Third Ear Band's one... 
Hey you journalists/compilers/editors... don't you have still realised is not possible to force TEB's music in labels or categories...?

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

June 01, 2016

The last TEB cornucopia: what's happened to the 1971 Balham Studios sessions? (an update).

Dear TEB addicts,
what's happened to the project of realising the last cornucopia of TEB unrealised tracks? Denim Bridges, who owns the old recordings played in February 1971 by the Band at the Balham Studios for an announced "The Dragon Wakes" record never realised, wrote me a brief e-mail few days ago.

Here's the stuff:
"Hi, Luca, 2016 has been a busy year for me so far with live shows in USA, the Moody Blues cruise and a short tour of UK all with Renaissance. 
I did a little work on TEB in 2015 but it still did not result in enough material for a CD. I'm sure you once asked me in an email 'who is Mary Minns?'; I see from a recent addition to Ghettoraga that you now know. I am very interested in the details in the 'interview' with regard to Paul's children. It may have relevance if I can make something of the old recordings. I am in UK and spending some time in London. 
I will be until July 24th and could be available to talk or meet with anyone concerned. You can give my email to whomever. Best regards, 

So we know now that something's moving and maybe in 2017 we can finally have that great obscure album available...

                                                               (Courtesy of Mary Hayes)

 no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

May 26, 2016

Interview with Paul Buckmaster about his art of arranger.

This interview with Paul Buckmaster edited by George Cole was published on the The Guardian Web page on September 30th, 2010. Even if there are no references about Buckmaster's work with the Third Ear Band, it's an interesting excursus about the art of arrangement...

Life's a beach ... Brian Wilson in his studio. Photograph: Rb/Redferns

Elton John, the Beach Boys and the fine art of pop alchemy.

"They are music's unsung heroes, yet their work can turn a great song into a classic, intensify the emotional impact of a heartrending lyric or make a stirring vocal performance even more memorable. Arrangers are often said to have "sweetened" the music by adding strings, horns and other musical elements, but such a description doesn't do justice to how much an arranger's work can transform a piece of music. Think of how the swirling strings and plucked violins on ABC's The Look of Love heighten the song's poignancy, or the drama of the brass interjections on Love's Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale, and you can hear the impact an inspired arrangement has on a song.

Even so, it's easy to be unaware of what an arranger actually does. A good person to answer that question is Paul Buckmaster who, over four decades, has arranged songs for the likes of Elton John, David Bowie, Miles Davis, the Bee Gees, Guns N' Roses and the Rolling Stones.

So what is the art of a good arrangement? "Being able to enhance the emotive quality and bring out the intent of the lyric and the artist's performance," says Buckmaster. "Adding orchestral passages and textures should give added depth and dimensionality, physically, psychologically and aurally speaking. I feel I've succeeded when the goose-bump thrill factor kicks in."

A good arranger needs lots of skills, Buckmaster says, including a thorough working knowledge of harmony and counterpoint, the ability to sense what is right and proportional in the context of the song being arranged, knowledge of composition, and the art of orchestrating. Buckmaster's work as an arranger has been mainly influenced by classical composers: "However, one cannot deny the influence of arrangers like George Martin, Nelson Riddle and Gil Evans – I particularly love Claus Ogerman's way of writing," he says.

There is no set template for how an arranger works. "Sometimes I work with the artist, sometimes with the producer; sometimes both. Often, I'm sent the basic track or demo and am left alone in relative freedom to make my own choices," says Buckmaster. "On the first three Elton John albums, Elton gave [the late producer] Gus Dudgeon and me total freedom; the only part which was never arranged was Elton's piano. One exception was Sixty Years On, where I decided to transcribe Elton's original demo piano part for the harp intro, changing the last three bars. Gus and I sat in his office and went through each song, and worked out the type of orchestration which would suit each track. We effectively designed each song as an individual piece, giving it its own character."

An example is on Your Song, where Buckmaster and Dudgeon decided to not bring in the rhythm section until the third verse. "The delayed entry of the rhythm section makes it more dramatic, and serves to lift the piece into a more propulsive mood. One general rule is to hold back as much as possible, to give the listener the chance to let the song grow and unfold, introducing new sonic elements, such as new instruments or sectional groupings. If you use everything from the beginning, you have nowhere to go."

In 1969, Buckmaster's manager Tony Hall introduced him to David Bowie at Gus Dudgeon's office. "Gus and Tony thought I should be the arranger for the forthcoming recording session for Space Oddity," Buckmaster says. "Writing the chart for rhythm section and strings was fun – I was still new to this and tried out some unusual effects." The session took place at Trident Studios in London using an eight-track recorder: "It went smoothly," recalls Buckmaster, "we did the basic track first, with David on jumbo guitar [large body acoustic], together with the rest of the rhythm section and Rick Wakeman's Mellotron, then David's vocal and Stylophone [a pocket-sized, stylus-operated electronic keyboard], and finally, strings and flutes."

Some song arrangements add so much to the finished product that it raises the issue: where does arranging end and composition begin? And in light of the fact that some session singers and musicians have successfully claimed a share of song-writing royalties for their contribution to the music, shouldn't arrangers also occasionally receive a royalty for their efforts? "It's a very good question, and it opens many cans of worms," says Buckmaster, "In my view, arrangers should be paid their one-time creative fee, but I feel they should also be entitled to some kind of percentage at the back end, especially if the record goes gold. The contribution made by the arranger to the success or memorability of a recording, is in many cases, undeniable."

Buckmaster cites the french horn glissando in the introduction to Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through the Grapevine. "Without the low-register, rhythmic violin/viola answer-phrases, and the rising string counter-lines during the turn-around, would the record be as interesting?" he asks. "There's no doubt that the song is strong in its own right, and I absolutely do not intend any slur on it. But try to imagine the cut without those elements. Jeremy Lubbock's swooping string-phrases on Michael Jackson's Billie Jean is another – the examples are endless."

Five great arrangements

Massive Attack: Unfinished Sympathy
Arranger: Wil Malone

Massive Attack created a song that featured samples, scratching, a strong groove and a superb vocal by Shara Nelson. Wil Malone, renowned for his string arrangements (he did the arrangement for the Verve's Bittersweet Symphony), was given the rhythm track and complete freedom to write an arrangement for it. It took Malone two days to compose the arrangement, which was recorded with a 40-piece string orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. "What you are trying to do is tailor the arrangement to the band or artist. The challenge is to provide an interesting arrangement that doesn't swamp the tune," says Malone. He certainly succeeded. Listen to how the cellos add tension to the song's intro or the way the violins enhance the emotional intensity of Nelson's soulful vocals. Unfinished Sympathy is a song that moves both your feet and your heart.

Glen Campbell: Wichita Lineman
Arranger: Al de Lory

Composer Jimmy Webb got the inspiration for this song when driving in a remote area of Oklahoma and spotting the solitary figure of a lineman working at the top of a telegraph pole. The result was a mournful country ballad full of yearning. Al de Lory's arrangement uses sweeping violins to evoke a vast empty space and the loneliness of the lineman. A finishing touch was to bring Webb's Gulbransen electronic organ into the studio to create the sound effect of a telephone signal travelling along a telegraph wire.

The Temptations: Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Arranger: Paul Riser

This epic track, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, is unusual in having no harmonic progression – it sticks rigidly to the B-flat minor chord. The track is dominated by a never-ending bass riff and non-stop hi-hat beat, and on top of this, arranger Paul Riser laid violins, cellos, harp and reverberating trumpet. The result is a 12-minute classic, which earned Riser a Grammy award.

The Beatles: A Day in the Life
Arranger: George Martin

For what was to be the final track on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles wanted to include a symphony orchestra, and Paul McCartney wanted a 24-bar gap filled with a spiralling descent of sound, recalls producer/arranger George Martin in his book, Summer of Love. Martin used a half symphony orchestra, instructing each member to start by playing the lowest note on their instrument and end by playing their loudest and highest note. The rest is history.

The Beach Boys: God Only Knows
Arranger: Brian Wilson

On a song whose beauty can make grown men cry, Brian Wilson used an array of instruments including violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet and accordion to produce one of the greatest love songs of all time". 

no©2016 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)