September 22, 2021

The TEB... just a relic of the past?

In the Italian music magazine "Buscadero" last issue (# 442 September 2021), Andrea Trevaini reviewed the TEB's box with very positive words about the music and the band, but with some arguable statements about the actuality of their project (also totally ignoring the last part of their story in Italy...).

Here's a brief excerpt from the review:

"(...) these records are inextricably linked to a bygone era, so to appreciate them you really need to tune into the waves of a now-dissolved Hippy era. To understand this, it is enough to read some of the titles of the tracks of their first album Alchemy. (...) to find yourself immersed in a world where they seemed to be within reach of the counterculture: Indian music, Celtic religion, the cult of the dead from the Egyptian Pharaonic era, the phantasmagorical Chinese symbolism."
Are we sure their idea of music was simply rooted in that (hippy?) age and now is just a relic of the past? Maybe Bach is just an expression of 1600? Or Bartok is an old artefact of 1900?

As I wrote in my last book on the band, I think that just a superficial approach to the TEB's music and themes can suggest such childish prejudice: "Alchemy" can be seen as a clear transposition of the Book of the Dead for contemporary souls (life and death, ethics, religion, human spiritual aim...) and the Elements album is a dramatically pure chant for a planet going dead...

 

 no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

September 16, 2021

Alessandro Monti published a book with two pieces about the Third Ear Band.

Avant-garde musician (and friend) Alessandro Monti has published with Arcana Editrice a book titled "Riproduzione Casuale"(in Italian) about "a sort of listening path from the point of view of the musician who, shedding light on cult and often obscure records, manages to link together the most diverse and distant music, through memories, experiences, reflections and provocations."

His original, very personal journey, contains also his two contributions about the TEB posted in Ghettoraga Archive months ago.

For detailed infos and for buying a copy click HERE


 
no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

September 11, 2021

URSULA SMITH played in Spirits Burning's latest album. A two-parts interview with DON FALCONE!

 
"Evolution Ritual", SPIRITS BURNING's latest album, is a true masterpiece, a brilliant collection of free-form tracks played and recorded with many inspired musicians (read the press release HERE). One could classify it as a "prog" album, but that would be very reductive because Don's sound open vision makes it much more than that. A real alchemical work, in its letteral meaning. Believe me: in a record market that invests almost all its ideas and resources in retrospectives and theme compilations, an album full of new ideas like this is a real godsend!
As we know, Don, a very talented multi-instrumentalist playing quite everything,  involved Ursula Smith in a wonderful piece and the fact was so intriguing (and unusual) for me that I was prompted to ask him a few questions.
This is the first of a two-parts interview: the first is about Ursula's involvement on the record, the second one is about music, market and future projects.



 
1. How did your latest record come about?

"I wanted to do an instrumental Spirits Burning album between the second and third Spirits Burning & Michael Moorcock albums, both of which have lots of lyrics. Generally, I like to alternate between instrumental and vocal albums.
I also like to approach each album with some sense of newness or change. I had been talking to people like Bridget (Wishart) for maybe a decade, telling her that I wanted to do an acoustic-based Spirits Burning album. Now was the time."
 
2. What was the original concept?

"The original idea was to create an acoustic space rock album. As I invited people, I usually mentioned Third Ear Band as a targeted influence. I felt their sense of folk, primitiveness and otherworldliness were a good starting point. In my head, I could imagine acoustic instruments sometimes creating sounds that had more in common with a Hawkwind audio generator or synth, or percussives and rhythms that had a spacey tribal edge to them. However, some of the earliest invites who tend towards a more avant-garde approach were not available for the album, and as songs began to take shape and I worked on newer invites, I started to ease up on pushing the space rock part of the concept. Instead, I concentrated on keeping everyone focused on being acoustic or sounding like they were acoustic."
 
  Don at the keyboards in his home studio (Fall 2020).
                                       

3. Why did you even think of involving Ursula?

"Since the day I turned Spirits Burning into a collective, I’ve made an effort to invite and collaborate with musicians who I have listened to and admired throughout my life. As Spirits Burning has grown, I’ve been lucky to connect with musicians from Third Ear Band, Hawkwind, Van Der Graaf Generator, and many other bands that are close to my heart.

Of the Third Ear Band family, both Simon House and Pete Pavli had contributed to Spirits Burning in the past, and they were unfortunately unavailable for “Evolution Ritual.” As I was planning songs, and thinking about how to keep things acoustic, I took a good look at other violinists, cellists, and bassists. It seemed like a natural move to review other members of the Third Ear Band family, specifically, the string players, and then see if I could interest any of them in contributing.

It was around this time that I discovered Ghettoraga and reached out to you Luca, to see if you could help me connect with Ursula."
 
 
4. What was her reaction when you contacted her?
 
"Ursula wasn’t sure she could contribute, due to not having a clear way to do a recording. After an exchange or two of emails, she was receptive to try.
 
She didn’t really have any questions about the music or the project. I had given her info on the band, and what I was trying to accomplish with the new album. I had uploaded two pieces to Dropbox for her to consider, picking two pieces that I thought she would like, and that would be conducive to cello. I also gave her a link to a YouTube teaser video of a Spirits Burning & Clearlight instrumental album.

The two candidate tracks were “Strolling Into The Future” and “Your Better Angels.” The former had a clear arrangement, and she felt comfortable contributing to that one. The latter song was in its early stages, probably pitched and unpitched percussion only. Ursula decided that her cello part wasn’t working, and that’s how she ended up on just “Strolling.”


Coincidentally, each piece eventually ended up having a Steeleye Span violinist. Jessie May Smart would play with Ursula on “Strolling.” Peter Knight played on “Angels.”"
 

5. How did you work on the tune?

"Ursula’s first concern was how to do the recording. Not everyone is set up with a home recording studio, or has access to a large studio. Plus, this was during pandemic times, so having someone come to her and do a remote recording, or putting her in touch with a recording studio were not an option.

We established early on that she had Audacity, and could use that program to record. I provided some encouragement and recording tips. Ursula practiced a little with each piece, and then sent me a mix of her playing alongside “Strolling.” I reviewed it, and gave her a long-distance thumbs up to provide just her parts when she had them finalized.

Within a week of us initially connecting, Ursula provided the final cello performance, and it was great. She had some concerns about the quality of the recording, including a couple of places where it sounded like her cello moved. I told her not to worry, as I felt that I could apply EQ to help reduce any noise, and some incidental sounds might not even be noticeable in the context of the mix. Plus, I cut out the parts of the audio where she wasn’t playing, which is something that I normally do."
 
Ursula on cello during a rehearsal at St Andrew's Hall (Norwich) in 2008.
          
6. Did you ask her to play something specific (such as with a score) or did you leave her free to decide what to play?

"I rarely tell anyone what to play, unless they ask for some level of guidance. However, this song was atypical. Usually someone starts a song with one or two parts, and I manage a queue of musicians and their instruments that builds upon the starter material. For “Strolling,” Andy Dalby (once of Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come) had actually worked out and arranged a full song, including some string parts. For this song, we would be replacing some of Andy’s parts, one by one, and adding new parts too.

I gave Andy’s version to Ursula, and told her to consider adding cello anywhere in the song where she felt inspired, which she did. In some places, her part would replace one of Andy’s. In other parts, she provided something new that helped provide energy and spice to the piece, which is exactly what I had hoped."
 
7. How did she react to the track done?
 
"I think Ursula was happy with it. She did note that it had a quirky feel, in context with the rest of the album. I would agree with that. It’s kind of where the album takes a couple of turns, before reverting back to its roadmap.

She also had an experience that many Spirits Burning musicians have when they are only part of the early stages of a song. Basically, she didn’t actually get to hear the final mix, with all the new musicians and performances until the album came out. So, it probably felt like a different piece on a certain level.

In terms of the whole album, Ursula felt that "the tracks covered a wonderful range of moods, landscapes from the feeling of ritual dances and feasts to reflective spaces and scenes.” She also mentioned that some of the other tracks reminded her of what the old Third Ear Band was trying to do, but with different resources."

8. Are you satisfied with the way the piece came out and with the record in general?
 
"Absolutely. For “Strolling,” I set out to build a band that took Andy’s initial score to a new level, and we did. The ramp up for the song went from Andy to Ursula, to Gabe (Monticello), who did acoustic bass pizzicato and bowed parts that were initially tricky to isolate and weave with Ursula’s parts. Next was Jessie May Smart, who provided a wonderful collection of violin parts, which became an additional lead instrument. Then, I replaced Andy’s faux accordion part with my melodion performance, and last, and most special, the drum parts were by original Blue Oyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard. It’s a great song by a great ensemble, which is how I hope to describe every song on an album.

I am quite happy with the album as a whole. Most of the early listeners and reviewers have understood the attempt at creating new sounds and musical adventures through an acoustic-based focus. It definitely brings a smile to my face when I see the album being described as contemporary folk, or a review mentions that there is an avant-garde element."

9. Do you plan to present it live when possible (maybe with Ursula)?

"Once upon a time, I would have told you that a Spirits Burning live show was an impossibility. Given the hundreds of musicians involved with the band, and that they are scattered through many parts of the globe… it’s kind of mind-boggling to even consider who would be in the band, what songs from over 15 studio albums would we do, when would be a good time to play post-pandemic and without affecting day jobs, and where would this gig be, given where everyone lives?
 
Don in his home studio (Fall 2020).

However, once upon a time, I did add to my bucket list the desire to play live in England with Bridget, and then we checked it off. We did two gigs in 2017 (in a club in Bath, and then at Kozfest). We created a seven-piece band that had three Hawkwind family members, and did a one-hour set that featured three different lead vocalists and a couple of instrumentals.

The key to making the line-up work was that we created a core band in a single location (Bath area), where they could practice once a month or more over half a year. I would then practice with their practice recordings, and provide recordings of how my parts fit in. The key to the set-list was that Bridget and I worked out what Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart songs we should do, and then Steve (Bemand) and I worked out a best-of SB set.

 
All of which means: I don’t know if Spirit Burning will play live again. It was a lot of work. If we did, I’d like to think that at least one song from "Evolution Ritual" would be in the set. And, I would love it if we had one or more acoustic-based string instruments in the ensemble. That would be quite special."
 
(end of part one - to be continued)
 
no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

September 06, 2021

To err is human, but to persevere diabolical...

About the new Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red release "Mosaics", nothing can be said about the wonderful 3CDs clamshell box packaging (with the brilliant idea of a box containing the three original Harvest albums reproduced in their splendid replica sleeves)... maybe much about the quality of my writing (a cut & paste taken from the previous enhanced CD booklets) but... hold on...

what about the big mistake to invert again the titles of "Fire" and "Water" on the second album track-list?

I warned Mark Powell with a mail in May to remember him to correct that oversight on the 3CDs enhanced edition of "Third Ear Band", released in 2018...

Dammit! Another missed opportunity to do a perfect  (at least philologically) job!

 

no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).


September 02, 2021

Two interesting cuttings from the Al Stewart-Third Ear Band gig in Norwich (1970).

TEB fan PETER MILNE sent to me two very interesting cuttings from 1970 newspapers announcing the date TEB played at Norwich's St. Andrew's Hall on Febrary 4th, 1970 for the tour in England with Al Stewart.

This first clipping is from the Norwich newspaper Eastern Evening News, published on Febrary 2nd, 1970: 

Published on Friday 13 Feb 1970 by the Eastern Daily Press, a more regional paper, the following excerpt is an interesting behind-the-scenes account of the gig:


"FED UP with run of the mill dances, two sixth formers at Thorpe Grammar school decided to organise something on a larger scale and "give everybody a good time." The idea was followed with a concert at the school by the Edgar Broughton Band—and everybody did have a good time.

So, encouraged by their success, the two students formed Oedipus Promotions and planted their names firmly on the Norwich map with the Al Stewart-Third Ear Band concert in St. Andrew's Hall last week.

The youngest promoters in Norwich are Ken Ansell, of 10, Belmore Road, Thorpe, and John Andrews, of 3, Green Lane, Thorpe, who, with their first open venture behind them are now planning bigger things. Ken had been involved in the Amoeba Arts-Discotheque project last summer, hoping to attract people to a regular singing and poetry event. Participation was to be the key-note but it didn't really materialise and seven weeks after its birth the brainchild died. Far from daunted, Ken teamed Up with schoolmate John around November to put in some deep thought on the possibility of bringing Edgar Broughton to Norwich. Fortunately they had a direct link with the group. The concert came off with an audience of 700 or 800 people and through this Ken and John established a firm link with the London agency of Blackhill Enterprises. The help and encouragement they received with the Broughton event continued and they hit upon the idea of forming Oedipus Promotions and booking Al Stewart and the Third Ear.

John says: " We decided that if we could turn people on to really good stuff then it would be really worthwhile. A lot of people at school had not even heard of Al and the Third Ear, but we shanghaied them along and they enjoyed it. We only had one complaint."

Quite a large sum of money was involved in the St. Andrew's Hall concert but Ken and John were confident enough to go ahead. Ken says: "I think I have too much self-confidence really." And John adds: "I worry while he gets on with it."

They declare: "We have lots of ideas for the future but nothing concrete yet." To break even on the school dance they organised, John and Ken had to attract 300 people. But although they more than doubled this figure they had still to pay over a percentage on the door so still made very little money. On the St. Andrew's Hall show they just about broke even. "We were quite sur prised about that—we didn't think we would get as many as we did," they say. "What we thought was nice about that event was that the concert started with a division those there to see Al Stewart and those who went along for Third Ear. But in the end everyone seemed to enjoy the whole thing."

How have the two gone about organising their events? John says: “We tried to think beforehand about everything that might possibly happen. We worked out the minimum number we needed to get to break even, the audience we thought we were likely to get, and just for own amusement, the maximum audience – to see how much money we could make.”

Ken chips in “We added up how much we could possibly spend on advertising and publicity – and invariably exceeded it. After that we had to trust to fate and leave things hands of the gods. "We haven't taken out a thing for ourselves yet' "We haven't had the so far," adds John. Ken says, in all sincerity that any profits that did come along would go towards subsidising bigger events in Norwich. "Our immediate goal is to keep the concerts going and hope that we can build enough profit to attract someone like Led Zeppelin to Norwich one day." The height of their ambition is to bring Pink Floyd to the city."

no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

August 28, 2021

Dave Thompson's review of "Mosaics" on "Goldmine".

 

Contributing editor at "Goldmine" and "Spin Cycle" vinyl column, a much published author (he co-wrote recent (and upcoming) autobiographies by Eddie and Brian Holland, New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain and Walter Lure of Johnny Thunder’s Heartbreaker), DAVE THOMPSON writes this good review on "GOLDMINE - The Music Collector's Magazine" web site.

 
"If you don’t know the Third Ear Band, stop reading and look them up on Youtube. We’ll see you back here in about thirty minutes.If, on the other hand, you do know their music… and have been waiting for a CD package that comes close to the quality of your original vinyl… this is what you’ve been looking for.

Effectively, Mosaics is a slimmed down version of the deluxe editions that appeared a few years back; it contains just the three basic albums (1969’s Alchemy, 1970’s Third Ear Band and 1972’s Music from MacBeth), without any of the bonus material, BBC sessions and out-takes, that accompanied them the last time around.

It’s a fascinating journey regardless; the first two albums in particular hang so far outside anything remotely approaching even the underground mainstream of the era that the most common description for them is “challenging.”

Nevertheless, the band’s haunting oboe/cello/violin/hand drum-led improv (more-or-less) transports you to places best described as the ultimate destination for everything that was happening musically at the end of the sixties. Flavoured with a vision that refuses point-blank to sit comfortably among your expectations."
 
(original page here)

 no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

August 19, 2021

Another TEB's track in a forthcoming Grapefruit's compilation.

A secondary effect related to Cherry Red has acquised the TEB's Harvest full catalogue clearly has been the publication of their tracks in many compilations. This is the last one published by Grapefruit and it shows the old National Balkan Ensemble's "Cosmic Trip" (anyway already officially available on the "Alchemy" remastered edition).

I don't know if this tune can be classify as "psychedelic music", because the ambiguity of the term, but it's a great track and it can be useful for letting people know the Third Ear Band's music.

 

Here below you can read the press release of the forthcoming CDs box:


Think I’m Going Weird: Original Artefacts From The British Psychedelic Scene 1966-68, 5CD
Various Artists

£33.99

Released October 29, 2021.

• Grapefruit’s landmark 100th release

• A definitive overview of the British psychedelic scene, an epic five-CD/book set that includes more than 50 minutes of previously unreleased music from the halcyon period 1966-68.

• Grapefruit’s landmark 100th release

• A definitive overview of the British psychedelic scene, an epic five-CD/book set that includes more than 50 minutes of previously unreleased music from the halcyon period 1966-68.

• Including the major acts of the era (The Who, Traffic, Small Faces, The Move, Procol Harum, Incredible String Band, Family, Crazy World of Arthur Brown etc), ‘Think I’m Going Weird: Original Artefacts From The British Psychedelic Scene 1966-68’ features many bands who also played London’s underground dungeons during the Summer Of Love.

• Featuring studio demos from the likes of Tintern Abbey, The Soft Machine, Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, Genesis, Mandrake Paddle Steamer, Dantalian’s Chariot and others plus numerous cult 45s (July, Caleb, Vamp, Blossom Toes, Sweet Feeling, etc) and fascinating album cuts from such scene stalwarts as Tomorrow, Fairport Convention, Kaleidoscope, The Deviants and Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera.

Perhaps most enticingly of all, the collection includes a number of hitherto-unknown recordings by bands who are only now gaining their first public exposure including Eyes Of Blond, Tinsel Arcade, Crystal Ship (whose contribution features lyrics from Pete Brown) and the semi-mythical 117, such a legendary name from the era’s handbills and posters that they even had a UK psych fanzine named after them in the ‘90s.

A dazzling feat of licensing and research, ‘Think I’m Going Weird…’ comes in a 60-page A5 book format with 25,000-word track-by-track annotation with some extraordinary and rare photos and memorabilia.

For anyone even remotely interested in British psychedelia, it’s simply an essential purchase.


Track Listing:

DISC ONE:

1 THINK I’M GOING WEIRD – Art
2 MY CLOWN (single mix) – July
3 THE VIEW – Gary Walker & The Rain
4 UTTERLY SIMPLE – Traffic
5 A WOMAN OF DISTINCTION – Caleb
6 LIKE THE SUN, LIKE THE FIRE – Simon Dupree & The Big Sound
7 LAZY OLD SUN (alternative version, stereo) – The Kinks
8 PLASTIC DAFFODILS – Atlanta Roots
9 PSYCHEDELIA – Ron Geesin
10 DREAM STARTS – Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera
11 TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE IN ME – Strawbs
12 FUNNIEST GIG – Manfred Mann
13 SUNNY CELLOPHANE SKIES – The Status Quo
14 MRS GRUNDY – Plastic Penny
15 BUFFALO BILLYCAN – Apple
16 CHARLES BROWN – Sweet Feeling
17 ROSIE CAN’T FLY – Sleepy
18 I KNOW, SHE BELIEVES – The Picadilly Line
19 THE LOBSTER – Fairport Convention
20 YELLOW BRICK ROAD – The Mindbenders
21 THE STORY OF DAVID – Granny’s Intentions
22 THE DEVIL RIDES OUT – Icarus
23 IS ANYBODY HOME? – The Mirage
24 WHY – Eyes Of Blond*
*previously unreleased

DISC TWO:

1 WORLD WAR III – Dantalian’s Chariot
2 SEE THROUGH WINDOWS – Family
3 SALAD DAYS (ARE HERE AGAIN) – Procol Harum
4 THE TRUTH IS PLAIN TO SEE – Freedom
5 SUN SING – Force Four
6 MR SMALL THE WATCH REPAIRER MAN – Kaleidoscope
7 IMAGE BLOWN OUT – Genesis
8 LIFE IS JUST BEGINNING – The Creation
9 TAKING OUT TIME – The Spencer Davis Group
10 THAT MAN – Small Faces
11 YOU’RE HAUNTING ME – The Hi-Fis
12 MRS GILLESPIE’S REFRIGERATOR – Sands
13 PLEASE RETURN – Rust
14 LAST MINUTE – The Nashville Teens 15 ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER – The Alan Bown!
16 THE TOUCHABLES (ALL OF US) – Nirvana
17 HALLIFORD HOUSE – The Virgin Sleep
18 CATHERINE’S WHEEL – Denny Laine
19 GIRL IN THE MIRROR – Christopher Colt
20 ELEVATOR (single mix) – Grapefruit
21 WORLD IN MY HEAD – Mike Stuart Span
22 UFO – Neo Maya
23 THE LAUGHING MAN – John Carter & Russ Alquist
24 FLOATIN’ – Vamp
25 LIFE DOES NOT SEEM WHAT IT SEEMS – Tinsel Arcade*
26 SCENE OF THE LEMON QUEEN – One Step Beyond*
*previously unreleased

DISC THREE:

1 HAPPENINGS TEN YEARS TIME AGO – The Yardbirds
2 HAVE SOME MORE TEA – The Smoke
3 WALK UPON THE WATER – The Move
4 JABBERWOCK – Boeing Duveen And The Beautiful Soup
5 THE MAD HATTER’S SONG – The Incredible String Band
6 SHOPLIFTERS – Ivor Cutler Trio
7 LOOK OUT THERE’S A MONSTER COMING – The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
8 SARA, CRAZY CHILD (extended German 45 version) – John’s Children
9 BEYOND THE RISING SUN – Tyrannosaurus Rex
10 HEY GIRL – JP Sunshine
11 MR SUNSHINE (film version) – Barclay James Harvest
12 TICK TOCK – Shyster
13 CHEADLE HEATH DELUSIONS – Felius Andromeda
14 THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF TIMOTHY CHASE – Tomorrow
15 THE BIRTHDAY – The Idle Race
16 HOW CAN WE HANG ON TO A DREAM? – The Moody Blues
17 YES IS A PLEASANT COUNTRY – Circus
18 SUMMER SUN SHINES – The Fresh Windows
19 THE BLUE MAN RUNS AWAY – Crystal Ship*
20 WHAT’S HAPPENING? – The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
21 MOTHER’S MAGAZINE – Mother’s Pride*
22 FLYING MACHINE – Turquoise
23 IN THE PARK – The Cortinas
24 HUNG UP ON A DREAM – The Zombies
25 WE ARE THE MOLES PART 1 – The Moles
26 WE ARE THE MOLES PART 2 – The Moles
*previously unreleased

DISC FOUR:

1 ARMENIA CITY IN THE SKY – The Who
2 FREDEREEK HERNANDO – One In A Million
3 FLOWERMAN – The Syn
4 I CAN HEAR COLOURS – The Motives
5 GREEN – The Lion & The Fish
6 I’M SO LOW (aka JET- PROPELLED PHOTOGRAPH) – The Soft Machine
7 JEANETTA – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop
8 COME OVER STRANGER – Canto
9 CHILDREN OF THE SUN (demo version) – The Misunderstood
10 BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME – St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
11 (I’M SO) SAD – The Magic Mixture
12 YOU’VE GOTTA HAVE LOVE BABE – The Graham Bond Organisation
13 RUMBLE OF MERSEY SQUARE SOUTH – Wimple Winch
14 COSMIC TRIP – Third Ear Band
15 I BRING THE SUN – John Bryant
16 POLICE IS HERE – A New Generation
17 SPICKS AND SPECKS – The Bee Gees
18 DEATH OF THE SEASIDE – The Human Instinct
19 BOYS AND GIRLS TOGETHER – Friday’s Chyld*
20 CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE – Jason Crest
21 TOYMAKER’S SHOP – Louise
22 PLASTIC AEROPLANE – Medium Rare*
23 VENUSIAN MOONSHINE (live at Middle Earth) – 117*
*previously unreleased

DISC FIVE:

1 PATH THROUGH THE FOREST – The Factory
2 FREEDOM FOR YOU – The Attack
3 WALKING THROUGH MY DREAMS – Pretty Things
4 DON’T GO ‘WAY LITTLE GIRL – The Shame
5 MY PRAYER – Tintern Abbey*
6 PHANTOM I – Jade Hexagram
7 COVER GIRL – Perfumed Garden
8 ROSE COLOURED GLASSES – The Tickle
9 AMY PEATE – The Orange Bicycle
10 DREAM IN MY MIND – Rupert’s People
11 SPIDER – Downliners Sect
12 WHAT ON EARTH (single mix) – Blossom Toes
13 BUILDING UP A DREAM – The End
14 THE CAT – The Merseys
15 PANDEMONIUM SHADOW SHOW – Mandrake Paddle Steamer
16 WATERWAYS (demo version) – East Of Eden
17 WHICH WAY – The Sorrows
18 BUN – The Deviants
19 ANOTHER VINCENT VAN GOGH – The 23rd Turnoff
20 SMILE AT THE SAD SUN – Champagne*
21 TALES OF BRAVE ULYSSES – The Zany Woodruff Operation*
22 SITTING ON A BLUNESTONE – Tales Of Justine
23 BRAIN – The Action
*previously unreleased

 no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

August 17, 2021

"Stone Circle" in a new collection dedicated to "the undeground sounds of 1969".


 
This is the cover of a new 3CDs collection produced by Esoteric Recordings about the "underground sounds of 1969". Third Ear Band is included with "Stone Circle", taken from "Alchemy". The project is edited by Mark Powell.
You can get a copy of it at £19.99 HERE.

 

Here's the press release:

"Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the next release in their series of compilations celebrating the so-called “underground” rock music – “Banquet – Underground Sounds of 1969”, is a 3CD clamshell boxed set which gathers together nearly four hours of music from 1969, a year that saw a huge progression in both musically and socially. It was a fine year for creativity in British album-based rock, embraced by the emerging counter-culture. Musical stylistic influences such as psychedelia jazz, blues, hard rock, folk and even classical music melded, all of which championed by “underground” figures of the day such as DJ John Peel on his BBC Radio One show Top Gear and by publications such as International Times and Oz.

The common thread among all of these artists was an emphasis on experimentation and a desire to push the perceived boundaries of popular music. It was also a year that would see the birth of “progressive” record labels such as EMI’s Harvest and Phillips Records’ Vertigo imprints, both aiming to mimic the success that independent labels such as Island Records had achieved and it was the year when the “sampler” compilation albums such as “You Can All Join In”, “Nice Enough to Eat”, “Gutbucket”, “Son of Gutbucket” and “Wowie Zowie! – The World of Progressive Music” left a lasting impression on the album buying audience.

1969 also saw bands that would go on to achieve success and influence in the 1970s such as Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, Barclay James Harvest, Edgar Broughton Band, Free, Family, Genesis, Strawbs, Van Der Graaf Generator, Man and Yes begin their rise to prominence.

Aside from featuring better known acts such as Jack Bruce, Thunderclap Newman, Procol Harum, Moody Blues, Taste, Fairport Convention, Colosseum, Michael Chapman and The Jeff Beck Group, this compilation also features lesser-known acts that produced fine work of a wide breadth such as Eyes of Blue, East of Eden, Blodwyn Pig, Locomotive, Mighty Baby, Pete Brown and The Deviants.

This collection celebrates a creative period when rock music was evolving into something altogether more serious, moving away from the single as medium to give way to the dominance of the album. Open your ears to “Banquet – Underground Sounds of 1969”."
 
You can read a review by Dave Thompson on "Goldmine" here.
 
no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

August 08, 2021

3CDs "Mosaics" out now: a first review brings the Thirds back into the spotlight.

"Mosaics", the Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red 3CDs box with all the original Harvest TEB records, is now available. For £20.99, you can get a copy from the label's Web site at https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/third-ear-band-mosaics-the-albums-1969-1972-3cd-clamshell-box-set/

A first long review by John Barlass has been published HERE.

no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

July 27, 2021

Three undergound/Prog compilations with TEB's tracks in.

Three compilations that was pubblished in the last years have TEB's tracks in. 

The first one, published in UK in 2019, is titled "Beautiful Freaks" (TAD Records TAD2CD) and among original tunes by Allen Ginsberg, Fugs, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Gong and Hawkwind, offers TEB's "Earth" from the second album.

The concept here is to celebrate an age (1966-1970) when the 'popular music' was mainly counter-culture, with a strong political impact to the mainstream. There are two editions available: one on CD, the other one in a 2LPs set.

The second anthology, titled "The Psychedelic Rock Box" (Music Brokers MBB7253), published in 2018 in Mexico, is a 6CDs compilation with 66 tracks from the Sixties to the Eighties, documenting some original USA and UK bands (The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, The Deviants, John's Children, Spencer Davis Group...) and more recent ones (Plasticland, Fuzztones, Sun Dial, Monochrome Set...).

Even if the concept of "psychedelic music" is always quite vague and few definite, and this compilation suffers of too much omissions, Our Holy Band is here included with "Behind The Pyramids".



 
The third one, in my opinion the best, it's titled "Lullabies for Catatonics: A Journey Through the British Avant-Pop/Art Rock Scene 1967-1974" (Grapefruit Records CRSEGBOX056), compiled and annoted by David Wells
It's a 3CDs box edited in 2019 including some of my favourite bands/musicians of the era: Soft Machine, Matching Mole, Nirvana, Ron Geesin, Giles, Giles & Fripp, The Strawbs...). On the CD titled "The Spontaneous Underground", the Third Ear Band plays "Druid One".
 
 
After the passage of copyrights to Cherry Red Records, some tracks from the original Harvest catalogue are re-emerging on compilations. An important way for letting people to know the Thirds and maybe explore their amazing story...
  
no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

July 22, 2021

A very interesting quotation of the TEB and my book on a blog.

A very intriguing quotation of my book was posted in May on a blog titled "On An Overgrown Path" at https://www.overgrownpath.com/2021/05/how-mahler-became-sound-upholstery.html

Titled "How Mahler became sound upholstery", it's a very sharp reflection about the nature of TEB's music, starting with its objective relationships with the academy. This below is the full text:

"Two members of the original Third Ear Band were classically trained, Paul Minns on oboe and recorder, and Richard Coff violin and viola. With founding force Glen Sweeney on hand drums and tabla, and Mel Davis on cello they cut the bands first two legendary all-acoustic albums Alchemy and Elements in 1969 and 1970. For their equally legendary1972 soundtrack for Roma Polanski's Macbeth, Richard Coff was replaced by another violinist from a classical background Simon House, and Royal College of Music cello graduate Paul Buckmaster joined the band*. This classical connection was reflected in the venues where the Third Ear Band played, which included the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Festival Hall - where they appeared with musique concrète exponent Bernard Parmegiani - and the Royal Albert Hall.

All three albums were released on EMI's newly-formed Harvest label aimed at the emerging progressive rock market. However the Third Ear Band's iconoclastic style did not sit comfortably with EMI's culture. So the band's refusal to allow the 'must haves' of reverberation and phasing added to their master tapes resulted in a stand-off with EMI's Abbey Road engineers. While back at head office the Harvest label managers were sparing with promotional support due to the perceived occult sub-agenda of the Alchemy album, a perception not helped by the band's involvement with Druids. Despite this the Third Ear Band attracted a cult following with their early albums, largely due to advocacy by influential BBC DJ John Peel who also played jew's harp on one track of Alchemy. In fairness however, the failure of these albums to crack the mass market is not surprising. Because, masterpieces as they undoubtedly are, on first hearing they can sound like a cross between the music of David Munrow and Cornelius Cardew.

In his sleeve note for Alchemy Glen Sweeney described the Third Ear Band as creating "music of its time, of course but not bound by it - still with new things to tell us". That uncanny ability to tell us new things is developed by the band's biographer Luca Chino Ferrari in Glen Sweeney's Book of Alchemies: the Life and Times of the Third Ear Band, 1967-1973.

"I'm not persuaded that the sound of a certain historical period in a certain society forecast the times and the social models to come, as the French writer Lacques Attali claimed in his landmark essay Noise: the political economy of music in 1977 (English translation 1985).
The immersion of sounds or noises we are submitted to these days seems to reflect the times - of triviality, superficiality - we live in; actually it seems to describe them perfectly - speaking of the deep social and cultural crisis into which Western countries have fallen, and the strong negative impact technology and the record industry have had on the music created and used by people.
The anonymous non-places (this suggestive expression was coined by the ethnology researcher Marc Augé) in which music is casually used as a simple sound upholstery - keeping company with consumption - suggests the idea that the re-production of sounds and the hidden possibilities of listening to music everywhere, have made the listening experience less the product of an active and conscious process and more the result of a passive and unconscious behavior.
Advertisers have understood this process and use music to persuade us "in a pleasant way" to buy, revealing our presumed needs to us.
The music that goes deep into our daily life has turned into a non-place itself; , deprived of any identity, history or relation with the time and the place of living, it becomes a sort of undefined and virtual phenomenon."

Luca Chino Ferrari originally wrote that in 1996 before technology changed the music industry for ever, and how prescient he was. Mobile technologies and streaming have moved music into non-places, where it now simply fulfils the role of sound upholstery. Music is now listened to passively and unconsciously everywhere. Great music that goes deep into our daily life has become sound upholstery in non-places - listening to Mahler while jogging is an example. But upholstery and furniture are just one component of a living environment. An even more important component is the space around the upholstery. And since the Third Ear Band was around, the sound upholstery has become bigger and bigger, which means the vital space where it is possible to push the creative envelope has become smaller and smaller.

* Roman Polanksi's Macbeth is available on Amazon Prime Video. It is well worth watching as a reminder of how fifty years on visual upholstery, lile sound upholstery, has eroded creative space.

 no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

June 01, 2021

Third Ear Band Harvest's three albums in a boxset out soon.


Third Ear Band: Mosaics – The Albums 1969-1972, 3CD Clamshell Box Set
Third Ear Band

£20.99

Released July 30, 2021.

• NEW RE-MASTERED 3CD CLAMSHELL BOXED SET OF THE CLASSIC ALBUMS BY THIRD EAR BAND RELEASED BETWEEN 1969 & 1972
• FEATURES THE ALBUMS “ALCHEMY”, “THIRD EAR BAND” & “MUSIC FROM MACBETH” IN REPLICA SLEEVES
• WITH ILLUSTRATED BOOKLET & ESSAY 

ECLEC32771

 

Asking Mark Powell (Cherry Red Records-Esoteric Recordings) about this new release, he says that "the Third Ear Band boxed set is simply a gathering of the three Harvest albums (with no bonus tracks) in a clamshell box. It is to appeal to the more casual fan, it is not a deluxe boxed set. The releases aimed at the hard core aficionado are still the three expanded individual albums we issued a few years back. They will be issued in mini replica LP sleeves, but we aren't doing an expanded book etc.".

More detailed infos and pre-order at the Esoteric Recordings page: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/third-ear-band-mosaics-the-albums-1969-1972-3cd-clamshell-box-set/ 

no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

May 25, 2021

Blackhill's manager Andrew King continues to sling mud on Glen...

As I wrote in the book recently published by Recommended Records, Glen was a really funny chap, sometimes a comedian, but he had a huge spirituality and a rare deepness for the typical worn rock standards. With a very ugly memory, pulled out of his usual hat of cheap falsehoods for the bad "Mojo" magazine, Blackhill's manager Andrew King says: "Glen always claimed that he was a junkie who cured himself of heroin taking lots of acid".

Apart the ethic question of talking about a dead person in such horrible way, this memory is totally false, there's nothing in Sweeney's personal story that can be related with heroin or other hard drugs. 

Glen always claimed... what?!

I was so pissed off and outraged that I sent to the magazine this short letter:

"Dear editorial staff, on page 102 of your latest issue (issue 331 of June 2021), in an article dedicated to Third Ear Band's "Macbeth", Ian Harrison manages to write more than three thousand lines without mentioning yours truly, curator of the CD booklets remastered by Cherry Red, author in 1996 and 2020 of the only two volumes dedicated to the band (the last one published by Recommended Records), curator since 2009 of Ghettoraga, the band's official online archive.

Add to this some questionable recollections of Andrew King, one of which was even insulting to Glen Sweeney, related to his alleged heroin addiction.
Is this your idea of journalism?"

Asking Glen's partner and my friend Carolyn Looker what she thinks about it, she writes me: 

"Ciao Luca. Brilliant letter to Mojo! I'm debating weather to write to them also. I was furious at first by Andrew Kings ridiculous words about Glen but actually its such a stupid and unbelievable thing to say that l'm sure no-one will take it seriously. Its such a pity that he gets interviewed for his memories as they are now ramblings of a senile old man. In interviews with other band members things have been said which were totally untrue also and made me very angry. I guess Glen did annoy a lot of people and also talk nonsense and put them on!!! He was a very strong personality and the guys were all happy to follow his ideas at the time.
Peace love and freedom...
Carolyn".

All in all, this is a typical cynic way to make music journalism for the most magazines, disinterested in providing objective information to their readers. It's better to gossip, to feed falsehoods and clichés, to exaggerate things as an adolescent would do in his bedroom in front of the poster of his favorite rock star. This is the rock imagery on which rock magazines speculate (and I've ever detested it!). 

As long as they have readers....

no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).

May 12, 2021

The idea of journalism of "Mojo" magazine...


The same old story. A one-page long article dedicated to TEB's "Macbeth" on the last issue of Mojo magazine (# 331, June 2021) with useless Andrew King's memories on the band (one on Glen quite distasteful...) and  some vague considerations by overvalued 'rock star' Paul Weller. Author Ian Harrison doesn't spend a word to inform the readers that the CD reissue was edited by me, that a book on the band has been recently published, that since 2009 this free Web archive does exist...
 
This is their idea of journalism, based on evident acts of remotion of facts. The question here is not that to express a judgement about things, but the basic right for a reader to be informed about the facts that happened.

Just this.   

But at Mojo they are so pretentious and arrogant to rewrite the history of popular music... Very sad, indeed. 

 
no©2021 LucaChinoFerrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first).