December 31, 2018

A review of "Third Ear Band" remastered edition on "Prog" last issue.

Sid Smith on English magazine PROG devotes to the so-called "progressive music" reviews on the last issue (# 93 - Nov. 30th, 2018) the Esoteric Recordings' reissue of "Third Ear Band". Here below the screenshot of it taken from

 Digital version here:

no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

December 29, 2018

"Alchemy" remastered edition in March 2019!

The Esoteric Recordings' remastered and expanded edition of "Alchemy"
 will be a double CD with four unreleased tracks!
The CD is scheduled for March 2019.
Here's the tracklist:

CD One

“ALCHEMY" REMASTERED (Released in July 1969)

1. Mosaic 2. Ghetto Raga 3. Druid One 4. Stone Circle 5. Egyptian Book of the Dead 6. Area Three 7. Dragon Lines 8. Lark Rise

Bonus tracks

9.  Cosmic Trip*
10. Jason’s Trip*
11. Devil’s Weed*
(Recordings made in 1968)

* Recorded as National Balkan Ensemble

CD Two


1. Unity

2. Raga No. 1 (mono)*
(Recorded at E.M.I. Studios on 24th January 1969)
Previously unreleased

    3. The Sea  
    4. Hyde Park Raga  
    5. Druid 
    (Recorded at E.M.I. Studios on 12th September 1969)
    Previously unreleased

    *= same version of "Raga in D", already published by Gonzo in "Necromancers of the Drifting West" (2015)


    6. Hyde Park Raga
    7. Druid One 

    8. Ghetto Raga

    (BBC Radio One “Top Gear” session – 27th July 1969)

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

    December 25, 2018

    A little gift for Xmas: the Ghettoraga Archive Youtube channel.

    A little gift for Xmas time dedicated to the Third Ear Band fans: here's the Ghettoraga Archive Youtube channel with old and unreleased (rough) videos of the band. Click on the Youtube logo on your right and go to the channel's dashboard.

    The last upload is a short excerpt from the first gig Third Ear Band played in Italy on September 8th, 1988 at S. Agostino's Cloister in Bergamo. From that concert, Materiali Sonori produced the album "Live Ghosts".
    Filmed by Francesco Paolo Paladino just for his own pleasure, this is a 15 minutes excerpt of "More Mosaic" played by Glen Sweeney, Mick Carter, Paul Minns and Allen Samuel.

    Soon here the full concert the band played in Piacenza at Circolo Tuxedo in 1989 recently documented on the CD "Spirits".  

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

    December 22, 2018

    Why Esoteric Records titled the remastered edition "Elements 1970-1971"...

    Some TEB listeners and fans disapproved the decision of Esoteric Records to title the remastered and expanded "Third Ear Band" edition as "Elements 1970-1971".
    The choice was not accidental or shallow, but it was the consequence of some deep considerations.

    "Elements" was one of the titles as the album became famous among fans and music journalists, even if often was replaced with the more appropriate "Air, Earth, Fire and Water".

    Because as a matter of fact, these 3CDs are a document of a specific period of the TEB story it seems more appropriate to title it "Elements 1970-1971": in fact this is not a mere reissue of the 1970 original album with alternate or unreleased tracks from that recording sessions, but it's a more elaborate document about a sort of 'work in progress' for projecting and realising that spectacular record.

    (Go inside the album  at Cherry Red-Esoteric Recording page:

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

    December 16, 2018

    The "Third Ear Band" CD's unreleased tracks: some philological evidence.

    Perhaps it can be interesting to write some explanations about the new recordings emerged from the EMI/Trident Studios/BBC radio programmes thanks to Cherry Red Records-Esoteric Recordings. A historical excursus can facilitate the order of things and clear up some philological evidence:

    1. "Third Ear Band" was published in June 1970. The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in some difficult sessions in April: this is stated by Paul Minns in his personal diary, so we have to assume it as the truth.

    TEB on stage for France TV (May 28th, 1970).

    Thus, it's not correct to consider the two tracks emerged from the vaults - "Earth" (take four) and "The Sea" ("Fire") - as part of those recording sessions that lead to the Harvest album because they were recorded months before:
    "Earth" (take four) was in fact recorded on January 6th, 1970 and "The Sea" (Fire)" on March 16th, 1970, as an effect of a creative process developing through the months, with attempts and errors, sketches and proofs... until the band started the proper recording sessions for the album.

    (Please note that a first version of "The Sea" was recorded on September 12th, 1969 at Abbey Road Studio (it will be published on the remastered edition of "Alchemy" in March 2019), confirming that the title was around from the very beginning...)

    Denim Bridges in September 1970.
    From a very first listening "The Sea" is clearly "Water" (but the sea is made of water, isn't it so?), a version very similar to the original one; more difficult is to tell what exactly is "Earth", because it seems there are no clear relations with the published version of it: a folk uptempo ballad with a solid rigid structure, no improvisations, only little variations from the main theme with violin and oboe leading. A rural, very earthly tune in the great pagan British folk tradition... that can be considered the link between the "Alchemy" phase with the following one.

    It's important to note that those were the titles written on the reel boxes, so editor Mark Powell made a simple philological choice publishing the things as they were, not as we think they might be (in a chrono/logical sequence).
    Paul Minns on oboe in 1970.
    Again, as every TEB listener well know, Glen was always obsessed by the titles for copyright reasons, so often he used to change the titles to the same tune...
    In fact...

    2. Some weeks later, on June 16th, 1970, the band played at "Sound of '70's" BBC radio programme three tracks: "Dog Evil" (actually "Mosaic"), "The Sea" (a.k.a. "Air") and "Druid One", already available among the fans.
    We have to consider two interesting things:

    a. TEB's attitude for giving different titles to the same tune, typical of Glen and
    b. here, "The Sea" has become "Air", confirming the idea that for the TEB every time is a brand new time, and a tune cannot be played two times in the same way...

    Bridges and House at Abbey Road Studios in February 1971.

    3. On July 2nd and 3rd, the band recorded in Germany at NDR Studios the soundtrack for the TV movie "Abelard", published for the first time on a CD in my old book "Necromancers of the Drifting West" (Stampa Alternativa, 1999), then on a single CD by Blueprint (1999). Now is included on the second disc of this Esoteric remastered edition because Powell got the original masters from NDR, even if Stampa Alternativa edition was taken from the original reel Paul Minns kept in his attic for years: if you compare the two editions few quality differences appear...

    4. In September, Ursula Smith and Richard Coff left the band. Sweeney and Minns reformed the group as Electric 3rd EarBand replacing them with Denim Bridges (on guitar) and Paul Buckmaster (on bass). One of the first documented recordings of the quartet (with congas player Gasper Lawall) was the session at the programme "Beat Club" (German TV) on September 11th, where they played "In D", "Hyde Park" and "Druid Grocking". The set is documented by a DVD produced by Gonzo Multimedia in 2015 as "The Lost Broadcasts" (HST069DVD), reviewed in this Archive at the page

    Ad announcing "The Dragon Wakes" in August 1970.

    5. From November 1970 this new quartet (with Richard Coff  involved sometimes) started to record at Abbey Road Studios a new album announced as "The Dragon Wakes", never published. From a session set on November 11th, are now available on Esoteric new CD three unreleased instrumentals:

    - "Very Fine... Far Away"
    - "The Dragon Wakes"
    - "Sunrise"

    6. A new session is documented on December 5th, 1970 at the London Trident Studios where the TEB recorded three tracks (then re-recorded for the "Macbeth" soundtrack):

    - "Court Dance"
    - "Groom's Dance"
    - "Fleance"

    These tracks (described on the reel boxes as the "first version") will be included on the "Music from Macbeth" remastered edition that Esoteric Recordings will publish in January 2019.

    If "Court Dance" and "Groom's Dance" are an acoustic version of the tracks (i.e. in "Groom's Dance" there's no electric bass...), is very difficult to consider "Fleance" actually a different version, because it seems to me exactly the same...

    Bridges playing at EMI Studios in February 1971.

    An evidence that force us to make some observations about the events: why they recorded a "first version" of the track many months before and then they decided to use the same? Were this tracks thought for "The Dragon Wakes" album or, as, early versions of the "Macbeth" project? And if "Fleance" is actually the same version, why they use that for the soundtrack without trying to record a better version? (or they recorded them but this one was the best)...

    7. On January 17th, 1971 the band played live on air at the BBC radio programme "John Peel Concert" three tracks (already published by Gonzo Multimedia in 2015 in a rough form):

    - "Water"
    - "Druid One"
    - "Eternity in D"

    this last one very different from "Raga in D" and "In D": was this track recorded in the studio before (and cancelled) or this is the first official 'appearance' of it?

    Interesting DJ John Peel presenting "Eternity in D" quite ironically said: "The next is from the third LP which will be realised in February, March, April, or May or somewhere... and the title of it is very secret or unpronounceable...", because the band was in the process to record "The Dragon Wakes" and there was apparently no evidence the TEB was recording the Macbeth soundtrack...
    Sweeney and House at Abbey Road Sudios in February 1971.

    8. In February 1971 TEB went to the Balham Studios (Bridges doesn't remember it and thinks it was Abbey Road Studios) for recording other tracks for "The Dragon Wakes" album.
    A rare 3:00 video document with the band recording a rendition of "Fire" is available on the Net at, with the band playing

    Paul Buckmaster at EMI Studios in February 1971.
    Denim Bridges recalled: "I don't know why the session was held although I do remember it. I was never included in those matters. I hope the purpose will be discovered now the video is on the Internet. Because of the faux wind sound (from Simon's VCS3 I think) and the fact the Paul Minns played something reminiscent of the opening to 'Air' off the 2nd LP I'm assuming the track is supposed to be 'Air'. The performance soon departs from the above-mentioned version but with cello being replaced by both bass guitar and guitar that might be expected. That is also (probably) to be expected as TEB was primarily an improvisational band".

    Another track "Raga n. 1" (8:31), recorded at E.M.I. Studios (with Richard Coff again) was kept for years by Paul Minns, and I asked Gonzo Multimedia to include it on "Necromancers of the Drifting West" CD published in 2015 (HST311CD).

    Paul Minns recording a rendition of "Air" at Abbey Road Studios in February 1971.

    Other six tracks, never mixed, are still in Denim Bridges' hands, and we can only hope he can decide one day to realize them (read in this Archive at
    Interviewed by me in 2010 he explained: "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...".

    Minns, Buckmaster & Sweeney recording at Abbey Road Studios in February 1971.

    9. Recorded and mixed on February 12th, 1971, finally we can now listen to "Mistress to the Sun", a rare vocal song is sung (and presumably composed) by Denim Bridges. A sort of art-song in the style of Faust's "IV" or Slapp Happy with a strong flavour of the '70's...
    The band intended to make a single out the new forthcoming album...

    10. Going back to Abbey Road Studios, on March 11th, 1971, TEB recorded and mixed another instrumental tune, "Evening Awakening", maybe for "The Dragon Wakes" album, even if the nature of this long piece of music (23 minutes) suggests it was a sort of jam in the studio or at least a mini suite formed by three different tunes:
    - a first (wonderful!) 9:40 tune in the same mood of the "Beat Club" TV studio recordings;
    - a second (quite boring!) 3:20 section based on some improvisations of Sweeney at the drum kit with bass explorations by Buckmaster and a hypnotic iterative sequence of notes by Minns on a distorted oboe;
    - a 10:00 extraordinary part with impressive percussive work by Coff on violin and great interplay of musicians inspired to Davis' "Bitches Brew" new course.

    Ursula Smith playing cello on stage for France TV (May 28th, 1970).

    11. A new recording session, on June 4th, 1971, signed the end of the troubled "The Dragon Wakes" album with an 11:00 recording of "In D.

    Interesting compare this version to that played at "Beat Club" in 1970 because very little elements seem to have in common: this version in fact, with Richard Coff on violin, has a completely different time signature, very different (and high quality!) guitar work by Bridges, a great interplay between Coff and Minns on oboe, the real soloists of the tune...

    Since from the incipit, the version played in Germany has that chords sequence Bridges played in "Eternity in D", taken from Miles Davis' "So What". So, the title is the same, confirming the TEB attitude to improvise every time with no predefined harmonic/melodic structures, as a matter of fact, we have two very different tunes...

    Richard Coff playing  on stage for France TV (May 28th, 1970).

    12. In July and August 1971 the TEB went to Air Studio for recording the Macbeth soundtrack: so, apparently, a chronological approach to the things would suggest that the band before tried to record the third album and then they were involved into the Polanski's project (even if that session at Trident Studios seem to contradict it...).

    "The Dragon Wakes" (ghost album):
    Apart from the tracks owned by Denim Bridges, we can now suppose a track-list for the aborted "The Dragon Wakes", based on recordings at Abbey Road Studios between November 1970 to June 1971:

    - "Very Fine... Far Away" (November 1970)* - 2:30
    - "The Dragon Wakes" (November 1970)* - 10:27
    - "Sunrise" (November 1970)* - 12:55
    - "Mistress to the Sun" (February 1971)* - 6:24
    - "Fire" (February 1971)** - 3:06
    - "Raga n. 1" (February 1971)*** - 8:31
    - "Evening Awakening" (March 1971)* - 23:00
    - "In D" (June 1971)* - 11:00
    - "Eternity in D" (January 1971)**** - 6:28

    *published in 2018 by Esoteric Recordings in "Third Ear Band" (PECLEC 32653) 
    **in video format only on YouTube channel 
    ***published in 2015 by Gonzo Multimedia in "Necromancers of the Drifting West"  (HST311CD)
    ****published in 2018 by Esoteric Recordings in "Third Ear Band" (PECLEC 32653)

    The Balham Studios recordings: 
    (February 1971)

    - "Air" (different version from 1970 track) - 7:31
    - "Mini Mac" - 4:21
    - "Ghoo" (a.k.a. "Eternity in D") - 3:58
    - "Game Six" - 2:34
    - "Discrimination" - 6:39 
    - "Fire" (different version from 1970 track)* - 3:06 

    * Probably the same version of the video circulating on YouTube 

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

    December 13, 2018

    A crap useless DVD bootleg of the TEB on sale on the Web!

    Please, don't waste your money, TEB collectors! This time it's not worth.
    A DVD titled "Third Ear Band 1969-1971" with videos of the band is available on the Net at € 21,50 (HERE), but it shows just only well-known videos easily available for free everywhere.
    Here's the description of the "product": 

    "A rare and beautiful DVD (2 hours & 23 min'. excellent quality of picture and sound) of the unique UK 70s band with its unique blend of prog-folk-classic. (the disc is a top quality printable dvd-r disc with all the details and the band's photo beutifuly printed on the disc)."

    As for the t-shirts on sale on e-bay (see HERE), the worst thing is that someone is trying to make money from this NOT AUTHORIZED product and the  group members and their families don't get any royalties from this.

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

    December 12, 2018

    Carolyn says...

    Glen Sweeney's life partner Carolyn Looker, graphic designer of many TEB covers, received the new remastered expanded 3CDs writes me: 

    "Firstly, yes as always l enjoyed your writing. Some of the quotes from other band members were not quite as things were but l guess over time our memories deceive us! 
    So far l've only listened to  CD3 which has tracks 1 and 2 which l cannot remember at all! 
    Who is singing?
    I realise I appreciate the music far more now as l'm able to be a listener rather than being involved in the reality and stressy times of the gigs.   Anyway I truly think it's absolutely brilliant!
    Thank you for the link to Ghettoraga archive, I read it through and was totally engrossed! What a wonderful past we all had!  
    Thank you so much Luca for collecting all those memories and writing about them with such love.
    I will be in touch with any more that come to mind.
    All the best for now."

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

    December 10, 2018

    Italian musician and composer Alessandro Monti reviews Third Ear Band's new release.

    Here below Venetian musician and composer Alessandro Monti reviews the "Third Ear Band" remastered and expanded edition focusing some interesting aspects of the Electric Ear Band's composition/arrangement approach to the sound.

    THIRD EAR BAND Elements 1970-1971: first impressions.
    Two days ago I received from Burning Shed my advance copy of the 3CD set released on Esoteric/Cherry Red... and what a surprise it was! 
    I was asked by Luca Chino Ferrari to write a review for the revitalised Ghettoraga Archive, but after two days of immersion in the timeless music of TEB, I can only say a few words about it: the package has to be heard to be believed.
    The research of original master tapes in the EMI vaults led to an amazing amount of unreleased material we could only dream of! 

    Alessandro Monti
    On the 1st disc the classic 1970 album is augmented by two beautiful studio outtakes and three pieces taken from a BBC session; the alternate version of "Earth" seems to be the most exciting: a totally different approach to the piece by the band, probably studying new possibilities in the studio while recording, a fascinating glimpse "in progress" of TEB's compositional methods sometimes obscured by their freewheeling improvisational side. 

    On the 2nd disc, we find an excellent remaster of the "Abelard & Heloise" soundtrack from the best sources available: improved by recent technology it's definitely a major addition to TEB's recording legacy and one of the most important sessions by the 1970 line-up, showing different perspectives at each rotation.
    And here comes the extra good news! I've always thought that the Sweeney/Minns/Buckmaster/Bridges era created some of the most advanced sounds in the UK at the time. Three unreleased sessions from November 1970 are included: "Very Fine...Far Away", "The Dragon Wakes" and "Sunrise". The new electric sound recently documented through the "Beat Club" DVD is here in better focus. The new TEB sound was clearly influenced by electric Miles Davis and Paul Buckmaster's interview on the "Miles Electric - a different kind of blue" DVD confirm all that; detailed technical notes by the late arranger/producer/composer can be found here on Ghettoraga ( deeply analyzing all harmonic and musical connections. The use of VCS3 synthesizer and psychedelic voices are more in tune with the underground sound of Hawkwind, Gong and early Pink Floyd, but the intelligent use of space on free rhythms is typically vintage TEB. Paul Buckmaster explores new territories on bass and cello, while Denim Bridges creates some jazzy noises on his double neck guitar far removed from Soft Machine or similar bands of the era. 

    The appearance of three more tracks on the third disc (recorded intermittently from February to June 1971 at Abbey Road) "Mistress To The Sun", "Evening Awakening" and "In D", give us the unique experience of a "Lost Album". The 20-minute "Evening Awakening" is a major find: it seems a sort of unusual suite edited from different sketches and experiments closing with a circular riff reminiscent of Joe Zawinul's style with Weather Report. In my opinion, it could be linked to Weather Report's 1st LP and "I Sing The Body Electric" for the new approach to group improvisation using written structures only as a vehicle for the extended electric sections. Looking back Oregon shared a similar path on acoustic instruments at the time. Here Glen Sweeney's basic use of a real drum-set change the ethnic and ritual rhythms of the group leading to an almost rock idiom. The stunning listening marathon closes with the famous "BBC in concert" from 1971 presented here directly from the John Peel show in a slightly improved audio quality from the previous edition; particularly revealing at this stage is the evolution of the track "Eternity in D" in a barely few months, starting from a Miles Davis riff slowly becoming a more organic and "open" TEB piece. 

    As I wrote the above 6 unreleased tracks make a fantastic "Lost Album" that needs repeated listenings to be fully appreciated, lots of inventions appearing at once on the speakers. Listening to this marvellous 3CD set was like opening a forgotten box, a secret treasure: we could only imagine of its existence but few seriously believed in it. The music of the 1970 TEB described the four elements but it could also be about the four seasons: a truly spiritual and otherworldly musical experience by one of the most loved bands of progressive music definitely coming from a parallel universe.
    Alessandro Monti :: Unfolk

    Read an exclusive interview with Alessandro Monti in this Archive at the page:

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

    December 08, 2018

    Another bad oversight on the latest remastered TEB album!

    TEB Italian fan Mario Calvitti gets a Big Encomium for being the most attentive listener of our Holy Band. Detecting another inexcusable oversight, he sent me this e-mail just today:

    "I received today my copy (that I am listening to right now!) and unfortunately I have to report another mistake: tracks 3 and 4 (side two of the original LP) have their titles reversed, Fire should come before Water as in the original sequence (tracks themselves are OK, only the names are wrong). 
    In addition, Paul Buckmaster and Denim Bridges are not mentioned in the lineup, but only in the liner notes; it should have been made clearer who plays where (and what). 
    In spite of these flaws, the release is excellent, and I cannot wait for the next ones (Macbeth and Alchemy).  
    Thanks, Luca for all your work and commitment to preserving the memory of this great band of musicians. Tried to send this as a blog comment, but couldn't make it.
    Mario Calvitti."
    As written on another post of this Archive (read here), I didn't have the chance to listen to the master before the printing, so it wasn't my fault.
    Anyway, I've sent a note to Cherry Red just to inform them about this.

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

    December 05, 2018

    "Art form or con?". Mike Ferguson reviews "Third Ear Band" on "International Times".

    Probably the first review written (November 10th, 2018???), even if full of little inaccuracies,  Mike Ferguson reviews "Third Ear Band" new edition CD on "International Times" Web edition at

    no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)