September 04, 2010

A very rare sampler from 1971 recording sessions in Balham Studios: "Raga n. 1".

Thanks to Denim Bridges, all the tracks recorded by TEB in Balham studios are still available and could be published in  the future.
As already reported in this archive in TEB chronology (read at, in January 1971 (the 7th and the 17th) the band played live on BBC studios for John Peel's "Sunday Show" announcing an electric third album as next.
Infact, the month after, TEB (Sweeney on drums, Paul Minns on oboe, Denim Bridges on electric guitar and Paul Buckmaster on violin/cello) retired to a studio in Balham for three weeks to rehearse the tracks of the third album, already announced on August 1970 by "Melody Maker" as "The Dragon Wakes". 
TEB 1971 line-up.
Roy Hollingworth, sent by "Melody Maker" to 'drive out' the band, wrote on those days he had heard the musicians play a new electric version of "Druid". In the short interview, Sweeney explained: "The line-up now seems more viable. I got sick of saying that the old band, with violins and things, had no right to be in the pop business. Now we look like a pop group, but it's still Third music". As to the title of the new record: "There are two sets - order and chaos. Order may go, but out of the chaos comes the dragon. Maybe we will kid everyone now that we are high powered and progressive". 
The new album will be never published. A caustic Paul Minns remembered in 1996: "Heavily influenced by "Bitches Brew" by Miles Davis (an album I hated for its aggression), Paul Buckmaster drove some tracks manically from the bass and flipped during the session. On acid he ran out in the street screaming about the Gurjeffian Eye and I believe stripping off his clothes. He was never the same person afterwards and the recordings went no further". [Note: in confirmation of the Davis' influences on the band, you can compare the electric bass lines at the beginning of "Eternity in D" with Miles Davis' ""Bitches Brew", from 2.53, just from the same album...]

"The Dragon Wakes" ad on "Melody Maker".
Different opinion by Denim Bridges, from some e-mails he sent to me on December 2009: "Paul Buckmaster was my room-mate on the road and a great inspiration musically in the band. I won't say anything bad about him. I remember an accident similar to the one you wrote about [Minns said] but it was nothing like as out-of-control as your version. I have worked with Paul in the studio with huge orchestras since TEB many times and he handled the responsability of those efficiently and professionally. His musical compositions and arrangements have been inspired. Lastly what happenend was before the "Macbeth" sessions and Paul was very involved with that project".
From the Balham sessions a copy on reel of one track was taken for years by Paul Minns ("Raga n.1"), before he gave it to me in 1997, and six by Denim Bridges ("Air", "Mini Mac", "Ghoo", "Game Six", "Discrimination" and "Fire"). Another track, "Mistress of Sun", was recorded in the same sessions for a planned single, but never published. It is still in the EMI's vaults (read at

About the matter of TEB tracks' titles, Bridges did write that "the problem with much of our discussion is that sometimes the same (or very similar) piece of music had different titles. The piece "Eternity in D" was called "Genetic Octopogillar Goo", which was also used, at one time, for "The discrimination against Runny Custard", which I call "Custard" for short but "Discrimination" is a more appropriate title. "Discrimination" is now the title, ok? "Eternity in D" musically had nothing to do with the poem of the same title on your archive. Another example of using the same title  for different things. To the converse the same (or very similar) piece had the same title...".
Anyway, here you have now the unique opportunity to listen/download "Raga 1" (taken from a copy of the original reel), 8.31 minutes long, and verify the great interplay between the musicians, really better than that bad "The Magus" recorded by Ron Cort one year later...
So we can only hope one day to have a 'new' TEB album in our cd player... 

no©2010 Luca Ferrari


  1. Many thanks for this, Luca - beautiful!

  2. Thanks. The real problem is that apparently all the other tracks are owned by Denim Bridges only, and I'm not too sure he will be realising in the future...
    It would be great if at the end we could have all that Balham recordings.

  3. We can but dream!

    It's so rare to hear any 'new' Third Ear Band recordings that even 8.31 opens out into a vast temporal territory insisting on close scrutiny to absorb every nuance. Sweeney hits a rare old grove-groove here & Bridges hints at Sonny Sharrock; as ever it's Minns we're beguiled by despite his professed uncertainties over this period. Is that really Ben Cartland on violin? Must have picked a lot up from Coff in the early days. One nears how Buckmaster touched Miles on 'On the Corner' - his playing here is uniquely poised in anticipation.