May 02, 2020

TEB book last publication date: 31 May 2020.


Dear TEB aficionados,
ReR book on the Thirds has a little delay due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The book is ready for printing with different graphics, different cover, different aim: actually, not only a tribute to Glen Sweeney, as planned at the beginning, but a huge collection of  documents about the band, its life and his music, to portrait an excursus from 1966 with unseen photos, writings, interviews, memories by the main characters involved.

As a publisher, Chris Cutler wonderfully states on the press release, "You can inhale a sense of the mechanics of hope, exploitation, psychology and history here - not because that’s what the book is about (it’s not; it’s a gathering of facts and memories) but because they animate the testimonies and career trajectories here laid bare. A snapshot of a critical moment; a leaf caught in the tide - and the mundane consequences."


Waiting for the book (please, for updates contact the publisher at http://www.rermegacorp.com/), I intend to post here some extra stuff not included in the book.
This first precious document is taken from "Blackhill Bullshit" magazine (issue 4) and it's a piece written by Sweeney on the music critics: a caustic, fierce reprimand of the approach to music by the magazines of that time...
So enjoy it!


no©2020 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

April 17, 2020

TEB's book 'out-takes' stuff here soon.


Peter Jenner and Andrew King in 1969 (ph. by Adrian Boot).

Lot of TEB 'out-takes' stuff will be published here, just after the publishing of my book by Recommended Records.
Unreleased and rare photos, posters, ads, a full issue of "Blackhill Bullshit", a rare Glen Sweeney's 1970 writings about music critics... will be published for the first time here.
So keep in touch... fighting the fucking virus!

no©2020 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 20, 2020

1969 poster on sale on eBay.


An old 1969 poster on sale on ebay at £ 149.99... The gig was played in Brighton at The Dome.
Here's the seller's description:


Britains five-piece acoustic supergroup described as "The Folk Beatles"
at the Brighton Dome May 26th 1969

presented by Blackhill Enterprises (Blackhill was a rock music management company founded as a partnership by the four original members of Pink Floyd and promoted the first free live concerts in England)

orig Gig Poster designed by Derek Thomas

15" X 19" in heavy Gloss Deep Purples, Pinks, Red & Green Graphics and Embossed Pentangle super sheen finish

finish still bright Good Colours pin holes & creases in all corners otherwise good cond

no©2020 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 09, 2020

Film maker Mike Figgis is making a film on the late Mel Davis.



Film maker and musician Mike Figgis is making a film on the late Mel Davis and his connection with the People Band...
A former member of the People Band (he played trumpet, flugelhorn and Spanish guitar), Mike Figgis has become an internationally known Hollywood film director, making films as "Stormy Monday", "Miss Julie" and "Cold Creek Manor", or documentary films as "The Battle of Hastings" and "Somebody Up There likes me".
He composes his own film soundtracks, involving lot of People Band musicians in them. 
He kindly sent me this photo of Mel portrayed in his last days. 



Pages on the great Mel Davis on this Archive:
https://ghettoraga.blogspot.com/2013/12/bad-news-for-christmas-mel-davis.html
https://ghettoraga.blogspot.com/2010/01/electric-raga-guitarist-interview-with.html
https://ghettoraga.blogspot.com/2019/02/steve-pank-about-alchemy-days.html
https://ghettoraga.blogspot.com/2010/01/electric-raga-guitarist-interview-with_09.html

no©2020 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

March 02, 2020

Spanish label Munster Records plans a TEB reissue...



Spanish Madrid-based label Munster Records (http://munster-records.com/) has planned a reissue of TEB's second album, licensed by Cherry Red Records, in a CD edition (same as 1970 four tracks vinyl edition) with sleeve notes by freelance journalist Fernando Naputano
Fernando is trying to get interviews with Blackhill's manager Andrew King  and Ursula Smith.


 no©2020 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

February 16, 2020

New TEB book publication date: March 21th, 2020!


At last the TEB book will be available on March 21th, 2020... such a perfect TEB day! 
120 pages for £15 with a 10% discount for advance orders at the ReR web site.
Read the press release here:


 no©2020 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 04, 2020

TEB book out soon...



Finally, the book on the TEB I edited three years ago will be printed by Recommended Records with a 6-track CD attached - ALL the tracks the band recorded at the end 1970-beginning 1971 for the never issued third album "The Dragon Wakes" (not included in Cherry Red's reissues).
Known as "the Balham sessions", these tracks were recorded by two different line-ups between Balham and E.M.I. studios; guitar player Denim Bridges took them jealously for years.
Thanks to Denim, we can listen now to these fabulous music played by Sweeney, Minns, Bridges, Buckmaster,  House and Coff!
The book collects Glen's poems, manifestos, writings, aphorisms, interviews; memories by Carolyn Looker, Minns, Buckmaster, Bridges, Jenner and many other persons involved; a full audio/videography; a chronology. Lot of rare, unseen picture of Sweeney and the band, posters and documents...


 no©2020 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

December 06, 2019

Found old poster with TEB gigs in 1973...


After the Blackhill split and the laid up project of a fourth studio album, TEB sailed on the open sea risking the shipwreck: few concerts, a strong change in the record market and the musical scene, left the musicians virtually with no prospects.
This poster found on Pinterest shows three rare gigs the band played in March 1973. Maybe the very last ones before their abandon...


no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

October 30, 2019

"Mistress to the Sun" lyrics!

Denim Bridges wrote "Mistress to the Sun" in the second half of 1970. The track was recorded in February 1971 intended as a single for the forthcoming TEB new album "The Dragon Wakes".
After many years of oblivion laying in the E.M.I. vaults the track is now available on the remastered and expanded CD edition of "Third Ear Band", published by Esoteric Records in 2018. A fabulous catchy art-song, so unusual in the TEB repertoire!

About his inner inspiration, Denny reveals  that the "track started life as a song about a sun worshiper (as in sun-bather at the beach... or poolside). If you think about those images and the lyrics I think you can see what I mean but I had to make it more mysterious because it was the Third Ear Band after all."



 Mistress to the Sun

A child of faith to be a shrine
To hold the warmth of the day
She gave her life to all above
To wait before the sun

And the colours that she carries are of organic seas
They're badges of the Mistress of the Sun
In the night they are a warning to the darkness and the rain
They're banners that she's faithful to the sun

So fast she flies on one command
The earth to be her bed
That sinks so deep to lose her mind
Which takes (her) so far through the sun
                                 
                                                 ©1971 Denim Bridges

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

October 28, 2019

Peter Pavli interviewed on "It's Psychedelic Baby" magazine.


High Tide bass player PETER PAVLI had a very intriguing interview with Klemen Breznikar for "It's Psychedelic Baby" magazine. You can read the full interview  at https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2019/10/high-tide-interview.html

Peter Pavli at 20
As everyone knows, after a very fertile period with the High Tide (two great records in 1969 and 1970!), with violin player Simon House Pavli played for some months with the Third Ear Band, around the end 1971-beginning 1972 (he played on a documented BBC radio programme in January 1972).
On the interview, he quoted "our" band telling that after the High Tide split, "we all went back to London and went our separate ways. Later Simon joined the Third Ear Band, which I also joined. That lasted for about a year. It was a very vague, period for us all. I think that was the last serious band I was in."
  
High Tide
 no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

October 18, 2019

Good article on the Harvest years...


Clock Carousel's musician BEN FINLAY remembers one of the hipper record labels from the end of the 1960s at https://thelionandunicorn.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/shine-on-harvest-moon/
Here's the full text:


Shine on, Harvest moon

 

You always knew it was going to be something interesting when we were working with Harvest. Out of the mainstream, sometimes wacky, and you would be working until the early hours – not for the faint-hearted. 

Peter Mew, Abbey Road engineer


It’s faintly ridiculous, the sense of nostalgia that the sight of certain record labels can evoke in music fans of a certain age. After all, who bought an album for the label it was released on? However, a handful of those logos stood out, representing companies that have now garnered cult status and are considered to represent the importance of artistry over ribald commerciality. And in the front rank was Roger Dean’s ‘harvest moon over a valley’ design set on a light green background that signified a Harvest Records release.

As rock music became the dominant artform of the late 1960s, and the underground became a recognisable ‘scene’, major British record companies sat up and took notice. Whilst Island had been increasingly thriving in the UK since 1962 – founder Chris Blackwell signed underground groups such as Traffic, King Crimson and Fairport Convention – other longer-established labels were keen to get involved with the new wave of creativity. In 1969, Philips Records introduced its new Vertigo label – with its Op Art black-and-white spiral – specifically launched to specialise in the burgeoning progressive rock movement. And in the same year, EMI did the same, starting their underground subsidiary, Harvest.

This was the era of the record label as brand, and of course America led the way. By mid-1969, underground papers in Britain such as International Times were featuring half- and full-page advertisements from US companies, including Elektra and CBS, the latter notable for their timely adoption of the radical fervour of the era, assuring the prospective record buyer that ‘the revolutionaries are on CBS’.
 
The new British labels were less declamatory – Decca’s subsidiary Deram never resorted to invoking left-wing radicalism in their sales pitch – but they did reflect the plurality of music stemming from the counterculture. This was the dawning of ‘progressive’ rock (then more a statement of intent than the recognisable genre it became), and EMI’s Harvest label had Pink Floyd, the darlings of the UK underground and prog pioneers.

Harvest was set up by former Manchester University economics graduate Malcolm Jones, who joined EMI in 1967 as a trainee manager. Jones managed to persuade the powers-that-be to launch Harvest in June 1969, bringing together a number of dispirate acts that were signed to older, established labels. New recruits Barclay James Harvest (who apparently gave the new company its name) and Deep Purple were originally on the roster of Parlophone, and Pink Floyd were recording for Colombia. In the spirit of the times, Jones deviated from the more established companies’ A&R policy, employing Andrew King and Pete Jenner of Blackhill Enterprises, organisers of the huge free concerts seen in Hyde Park. King and Jenner were also the original managers of Pink Floyd, and came with the prerequisite underground cachet. Jenner certainly thought so himself, telling the NME in 1989 that ‘I thought I had golden ears, I thought everything I heard and quite liked would be a hit.’

There is no need to add anymore to the story of the Floyd, of course, except to say there was plenty of talent on Harvest that made for far more interesting listening than the studio LP of Ummagumma. We can also pass over the debut album by Deep Purple (The Book of Taliesyn), and disregard the label’s two future rock monoliths for the more interesting stuff.

And what an eclectic, interesting bunch of records was released in Harvest’s 1969–73 period. In the second half of 1969 alone, the label engaged with traditional English folk (Shirley and Dolly Collins’ Anthems in Eden), free form folk/jazz/classical esoterica (the Third Ear Band’s Alchemy), original and diverse singer-songwriters (Michael Chapman’s Rainmaker and Kevin Ayres’ Joy of a Toy), and Wasa-Wasa, the debut by psych-festival freak favourites the Edgar Broughton Band.

The creativity of the music was matched by the attention paid to the artwork. The renowned SHVL* series (the catalogue name and number seen on the vinyl’s distinctive label) produced glossy artwork from the likes of designers Hipgnosis in a gatefold sleeve – perfect for skinning-up whilst enjoying the sounds of Flat Baroque and Berserk (1970) by Roy Harper.
And it was 1970 when the label had its golden age. No less than twenty-six records were released that year, including the label’s double-set sampler, Picnic – A Breath of Fresh Air. EMI also ensured that the label was distinct from the mother-company, as future label head Mark Rye described in 2014: ‘The Harvest office was just this dark corner, as far away from everyone else as you could get. It had cushions on the floor rather than desks and chairs…’
1971 would see the last album by the Move (Message from the Country) before they mutated into the Electric Light Orchestra, their debut album released on the label towards the end of the year. Roy Wood went on to form Wizzard, who would have Harvest’s strongest single success with ‘I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday’, reaching #4 in the UK singles chart in December 1973. Artistically, however, the label had peaked by this point. 

Whilst The Dark Side of the Moon enjoyed huge sales, many of Harvest’s original signings had moved to other labels, or fallen by the wayside as the underground ebbed away. Aside from the Floyd’s subsequent releases, the mid-1970s were an uncertain time for the label; when EMI signed the Sex Pistols in 1976, the band declined to be on Harvest, considering its artists to be ‘hippie shit’. The label would continue through into the 1980s, but by the middle of the decade Harvest lay dormant. It was revived in 2006 by EMI A&R man Nigel Reeve and has relocated to the US as part of Capitol.

That is of course, a long way from the label’s origins. The formation of Harvest reminds one of a brief time when the majors relinquished control to the hip, therefore creating a space for freedom and progression. Although it was bound to pass, the four-year period from 1969-1973 saw Harvest release music that was original and progressive in the best sense of the term. How often does one genuinely see that these days?

* SHVL stood for ‘Stereo Harvest Very Luxurious’.


             Notable Harvest Releases 1969–1973



1969
Shirley and Dolly Collins – Anthems in Eden
Michael Chapman – Rainmaker
Third Ear Band – Alchemy
Kevin Ayers – Joy of a Toy

1970
Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs
Roy Harper – Flat Baroque and Berserk
Shirley and Dolly Collins – Love, Death and the Lady
Edgar Broughton Band – Sing Brother Sing
Pete Brown & Piblokto! – Things May Come and Things May Go but the Art School Dance Goes on Forever
Barclay James Harvest – Barclay James Harvest
Shirley and Dolly Collins – Love, Death and the Lady
Third Ear Band – Third Ear Band
The Pretty Things – Parachute
Syd Barrett – Barrett
Various Artists – Picnic: A Breath of Fresh Air (sampler)
Michael Chapman – Fully Qualified Survivor

1971
The Move – Message From the Country
Pink Floyd – Meddle
Kevin Ayers – Whatevershebringswesing

1973
Roy Wood – Boulders
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Electric Light Orchestra – ELO 2
Kevin Ayers – Bananamour
Roy Harper – Lifemask


no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

October 12, 2019

"Alchemy" 180 gram vinyl limited edition released!



As announced, "Alchemy" has been released on 27th September for Esoteric Records in a vinyl limited edition to 1000 copies (catalogue number: PECLECLP 2668). The album is an exact facsimile of the original 1969 Harvest LP release (yellow-green record labels included!). Also, it's in a gatefold sleeve and on 180-gram vinyl. 
Here's a sequence of photos taken from my personal copy: 



 

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

September 25, 2019

EMBLEMATA NOVA DE SECRETIS NATURAE CHYMICA (Scrutinium Chymicum).


EMBLEMA VIII
Accipe Ovum & igneo percute gladio [take the egg and strike it with a fiery sword

“Emblema VIII. Accipe ovum & igneo percute gladio. ‘Take the egg and strike it with a fiery sword.’ The egg is the Subject of the Art, which must be struck by the martial igneous agent wielding the ‘double-edged sword’ of the Secret Fire. Mars thus comes to the help of Vulcan, and from the ensuing darkness of Putrefaction (Nigredo) the hermetick chick will hatch. Raymund Lull, quoted here by Maier, stresses in several places that the fiery sword is a sharp lance, because Fire, like a lance, pierces bodies, rendering them porous and permeable, so that Water may penetrate them and turn their hardness into softness” (p98).


 

According to Luca Ferrari's excellent and detailed notes inside the booklet of the 50th Anniversary edition of "Alchemy", the iconic cover was taken from the book "Atalanta Fugiens" by Michael Maier (1568–1622), published by Johann Theodor de Bry in Oppenheim in 1617 (2nd edition 1618). 
It consists of 50 chapters with engravings by Matthias Merian, a great artist rarely quoted. Alongside illustrations, poems, and alchemical explanations, it included 50 pieces of music in the form of "fugues" scored for 3 voices. 


Being a fan of Early, Renaissance and Baroque music, I let my imagination fly: if Third Ear Band were around at the time, could their music be considered some kind of alternative "secret" sound to the more famous composers of the era? I suppose there's no answer to this question, but I think that it could definitely be interesting to hear what the original pieces from the book sounded like.
Among the countless transcriptions of the work you can listen to a nice vocal performance here below:

More performances here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQliTHH7EXk&list=OLAK5uy_mIjRwdIHzyghXInVVwhUGL_HkMNM2U44g

For voices and instruments here:
https://soundcloud.com/honza-hejzl


A different Czech ensemble recorded the fugues using for the cover the same engraving of the TEB:





...and even two modern transcriptions for piano and synthesizer here:
https://archive.org/details/AtalantaFugiens
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a6X-JUL2LE
 

It is also worth noting that for many researchers and musicologists "Atalanta Fugiens" may be considered an early example of multimedia.

Alessandro Monti :: unfolk

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

September 21, 2019

New "Alchemy" 180 gram vinyl edition out on September 27th, 2019!


As announced, Esoteric Records will publish a new "Alchemy" 180 gram  limited remastered vinyl edition on September 27th, 2019. It will cost £ 17.99.

Here's the press release: 

• A NEWLY RE-MASTERED 180 GRAM VINYL GATEFOLD LP EDITION OF THIRD EAR BAND’S LEGENDARY 1969 DEBUT ALBUM


• NEWLY REMASTERED FROM THE ORIGINAL HARVEST MASTER TAPES

• CUT AT ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS

Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a new 180 Gram limited edition gatefold Vinyl LP edition of the classic album “Alchemy” by THIRD EAR BAND.
One of the first releases on EMI’s progressive rock label, Harvest in July 1969, “Alchemy” was the debut album by THIRD EAR BAND. One of the earliest signings to Harvest, the band was formed in 1968 around a nucleus of GLEN SWEENEY (percussion), PAUL MINNS (Oboe), RICHARD COFF (Violin, Viola) and MEL DAVIS (cello). Third Ear Band were unique in their exploration of exotic baroque music fused with experimental rock. Signing to Blackhill Enterprises in 1969, the quartet opened for many of the legendary Hyde Park free concerts by Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Blind Faith.
Recorded at Abbey Road studios in the early months of 1969, “Alchemy” is regarded as one of the most striking and original works of the era with its unique gothic improvisational music and this new Esoteric Recordings 180 gram vinyl edition is a faithful reproduction of the original 1969 gatefold LP release. It has been re-mastered from the original Harvest master tapes and has been cut at Abbey Road studios for this definitive edition vinyl reissue.

Pre-order at https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/third-ear-band-alchemy-180-gram-remastered-limited-edition-vinyl/

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

September 15, 2019

A book on the Air Studios Montserrat announced...


                                          Air Studios Montserrat today...

Brian Sallerson is an American freelance journalist who's writing a story on the George Martin's Air Studios.

He e-mailed me: "I am a writer who is working on a book about the history of AIR Studios Montserrat. Denny Bridges was the operations manager for that studio when it opened in 1979. I am traveling to the UK in October and was trying to track him down to see if he might be open for an interview about his time at AIR Montserrat. I cannot find any contact info for Denny and your TEB site is the only place that has any recent correspondence with him. Is there any way that you could get a message to him for me? If you prefer, I could contact him directly if you provide an email address. Denny played a significant part of the launch of the studio so an interview with him would go a long way to help me get the full history of the studio. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated."

A synopsis of Brian's book project can be found at
https://www.sallerson.com

                                                   The ruined pool today...

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

August 20, 2019

A review about "Alchemy" on "Let It Rock".



Web site "Let It Rock" reviewed "Alchemy" in July 2019 with interesting and acute words by Dmitry M. Epstein...


"Tribal brewing from British combo with alien tones were rooted in traditional tunes – refined and expanded for further focus.

They may have played in Hyde Park on the same bill as THE STONES and KING CRIMSON in 1969 and shared the stage with THE WHO at the Isle of White festival a little later, yet in terms of intensity THIRD EAR BAND seemed totally opposed to their more prominent and longer lasting contemporaries. While others rolled on, dwelling on a single note or two for a protracted period of time – where time could take on very irregular signatures – was typical for the English quartet whose relation to rock had always been tenuous. Nevertheless, in the climate of the day, the ensemble entered progressive stream and got ahead of the curve by confessing minimalism much earlier than many an avant-garde-minded artist, and their debut still affects the listener’s psyche fifty years on.

Although the foursome ascribed their efforts to a raga tradition, what they did had a lot in common with traditional Celtic drone, rather than with Indian lore, but the album’s opener “Mosaic” oozes exotica once plucked cello has met the bow and ushered pipes in, for the resulting mesmeric miasma to be spiced up by hand drums without leaving its chimes-laden chamber soundscape. Still, if pieces such as shamanic, yet static, “Druid One” (also present on this double-CD reissue in a lengthier, albeit less abstract, take from the band’s BBC session and in a fantastic rendition from the group’s next line-up) suggest claustrophobia, the multidimensional, momentum-gaining expanse of a 10-minute “Ghetto Raga” – which Glen Sweeney’s tabla and Paul Minns’ oboe and recorders drive towards delirium – is as exposed to elements as it gets for the players who participated in pagan rituals at Glastonbury Tor.

It’s whence that the strangely jubilant “Stone Circle” emerged to wrap heartbeat in the thick, but breathing, web of woodwind, while the strings-drenched “Egyptian Book Of The Dead” plunges into modal play, simultaneously plumbing low frequencies and scaling high notes to an increasingly horrific effect which is dispelled when the Eastern sonics of “Area Three” blow up and expire to leave cosmic conscience cleansed. Whereas the many incidental parallels in “Dragon Lines” render this piece cinematic, “Lark Rise” offers a simple folk motif and reveals the inspiration behind most of the album’s tunes, yet two takes on “Hyde Park Raga” – one laid down at Abbey Road, the other delivered for the Beeb – reflect the most perfect blend of so disparate, sources, and it’s a pity the track didn’t make the LP cut.

Neither did the three melodies the ensemble recorded early on, in 1968, even though the humbler-in-scope “Devil’s Weed” and “Cosmic Trip” feel as mind-boggling as the album’s material, but 1969’s “Unity” is given sparse grandeur of symphonic sort, with specters of Ravel and Ligeti lurking in penumbral agitation, and “The Sea” anticipates electronic escapades of the nearest future. For TEB the future would hold music to Roman Polanski’s “Macbeth” – their most memorable work – yet “Alchemy” remains as magical as it was supposed to be."


no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

August 13, 2019

Steve Pank announces new Ursula Smith's live concert in London!


"Hi Luca.
It is great to see so much new material on the Ghettoraga website.
Ursie is playing another concert in Hampstead, and anyone who remembers the Third Ear Band and who likes classical music, would enjoy this concert, I have attached a flyer.
Good wishes,
Steve."

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)