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)


  1. As always, thank you Luca. It is all very much appreciated.

  2. Thank you. I think it is important try to make the things clearer, because I know that some TEB fans was upset for the errors of this edition. Maybe some notes could be done better, but the titles of the tracks on the reels are just that and we cannot omit the matter of fact...

    1. I agree. The titles can get complicated but in the end it all sounds wonderful !

  3. TI ho scritto...Boing....No answer...Btw correggi su with "Unreleased"

  4. Sorry I'm missing something: on point 1 you write about: "The Sea" ("Fire"), then just a few lines below you write: "The Sea" is clearly "Water" and finally on point 2 you write "The Sea" (a.k.a. "Air")! Are we talking of three different pieces or...? Many thanks for your beautiful work :)

    1. Yes Pooka.
      "The Sea" (Fire) is the track included on this remastered edition of "Third Ear Band" but it's actually "Water"... Later, a track with the same title "The Sea" was actually "Air"... so a different piece of music.
      Just one year before, at the beginning of 1969 the TEB recorded another track titled "The Sea" (but I don't have listened to it yet), that I presumably think was different from any other tracks with the same title.
      So we have three different tunes titled "The Sea".
      I wrote this just to show how the TEB used to have the same title for different compositions...

  5. per me titolare con "Water" la traccia 3 e "Fire" la traccia 4 è un errore imperdonabile, anche perché appena sotto si specifica che le prime 4 tracce sono quelle dell'album del 1970 .. ma hanno ascoltato come inizia la traccia 4? c'è il rumore dell'acqua in quel "Fire" .. robadamatti .. e nessuna scusa

    1. Non ho ancora capito come sia effettivamente andata, il curatore di tutte le edizioni - questo Mark Powell - non me l'ha spiegato.
      L'unica cosa che posso pensare è che effettivamente non abbiano ascoltato i master originari e si siano basati su quanto scritto sui reels. Forse sui reels la scaletta era quella, ma andava verificata in ogni caso (e mi auguro che l'abbiano fatto per "Macbeth" e per "Alchemy"...).

      Comunque solo dopo questi clamorosi errori sono riuscito a far passare almeno di poter ascoltare prima del mastering le tracce inedite per evitare altre cantonate. In "Macbeth" sono tre 'first version' di brani del disco, di cui "Fleance" praticamente uguale a quella pubblicata, benché risulti registrata ai Trident Studios e non agli Air. Avrebbero voluto aggiungere altri due inediti da una registrazione da un programma radio di J. Peel del 1972 che in realtà non esiste, anche perché la registrazione da me ascoltata in realtà era palesemente antecedente, suonata dal quartetto nel 1969: solo ascoltandola e comparandola con fonti che avevo ho capito che risaliva a un altro programma radio e che non poteva essere del '72 e ne ho bloccato la pubblicazione.
      Così in "Alchemy", dove erano pronti a pubblicare la "Raga in D" già edita da Gonzo (reel di P. Minns) accanto a una "Raga n. 1" che è praticamente la stessa versione ma con titolo diverso sul reel di Abbey Road...
      Questo a dire che per poter curare degne riedizioni bisogna non solo ascoltare ma conoscere e neanche gli inglesi, a volte, si rivelano all'altezza del compito...
      Anch'io penso che l'errore in "TEB" sia effettivamente grave, tanto che l'ho scritto in un altro post...

    2. per fortuna è cmq una bellissima edizione, piena di splendida musica .. aspetto le prossime uscite .. buon lavoro

    3. Ti ringrazio.
      Comunque la prossima uscita (Macbeth) conterrà solo tre 'alternate tracks", anche se le differenze risultano minime (soprattutto in "Fleance"), mentre con "Alchemy" ci saranno alcuni pezzi davvero interessanti... Speriamo bene (di limitare cioè gli errori)!