September 09, 2020

Extraordinarly amazing TEB tv appearance in October 1972!


These two video tracks are the last nuggets emerged from the Web. British YouTuber Nuthatch (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-VZ_N8KLdwJhobRHGRtm8Q) posted these extraordinary videos of the TEB from a TV appearance in October 1972 taken from ILEA (Inner London Education Authority) archive
The peculiarity of these excerpts is that this is the only existing video thing of Mike Marchant and Peter Pavli with the band.

The line-up consisting in fact in Glen Sweeney - drums; Paul Minns - oboe; Peter Pavli - electric bass; Mike Marchant - vocals and Simon House - electric violin & VCS3.

Introduced by Brian Kenny, the first track is titled "The Magus" and it's the boring vocal song taken from the eponymous album the band recorded in December 1972; the second one it seems to me a rendition of "Air" and it's much more interesting for the improvisations by House  and Minns on violin and oboe.


After a gig at Kingston Polytechnic, on 18 March 1972, Glen Sweeney announced to the press the new TEB line-up, explaining to Roy Hollingworth ("Melody Maker"): "I think us changing in a natural way - and not just for the sake of it - is far more rewarding. I know we will be a far more rational band - giving out something which everyone can enjoy. After three months of rehearsing, we are now capable of playing a varied menu for more than two hours. You wouldn't have got more 45 minutes a year ago".

Even if without a recording deal (after "Macbeth" EMI-Harvest fired the band), through the following months the musicians played live in England (most of all in London), with an appearance at the third edition of "Clitheroe Festival" (Clitheroe Castle of Clitheroe).

Then, on 16 November, thanks to Blackhill's manager Peter Jenner, who has placed The Sharks to Chris Blackwell's label, TEB signed a contract with Island Records for a new album, based for the first time on proper songs composed and played by Marchant, who got inspiration from the Tarot. The agreement scheduled this track-list: "Cosmic Wheel", "I the Key", "Hierophant", "Magus", "New Horizon" and "Tent Dimensional Landscape".

Sweeney to Hollingworth ("Melody Maker", 1972): "Mike has been hanging around the group for some while. We heard the songs, and well, it seemed only natural that he should come in. It's a tremendous jump for us, I mean, we've never done songs before. It's right to say that Thirdies are feeling a little schizophrenic at the moment. I mean, there's that album out from Macbeth, and that's totally avant-garde, and there's us playing songs".
"So what of these songs?" - asked the journalist. "Well, at the start, we teated them in a sort of Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen type of way. But we became dissatisfied with the limitations of eight bars, 16 bars. We decided that we really wanted to open out. They certainly aren't pretentious songs, there's no pseudo rubbish about them. There's no Lucy in the Sky with feedback. But they are songs that fit the Third Ear".


"They are all based around the Tarot, and they are purely descriptions of the cards and their meanings. It's meant a lot of work, changing from a purely instrumental band, but it really seems to be working. And people certainly like it".
The album, despite of all the enthusiastic anticipations, would be "disastrously recorded at Island and rejected" (Paul Minns to me in 1996) and it's been realised by Angel Air just in 2004 as "The Magus". 

Later, Sweeney had strong opinions about it: "(...) At the time I was surrounded by idiots who were hoping I had a few quid! They dragged me in there - even now that Simon House swears it's a masterpiece - I had this rodie, Ron Cort, whose father was a hire car wallah, rolling in it - Ron really went to town on that album - he got acetates made, he got a single made. It was crap - even I didn't know what I was doing - the singer was terrible, we had vocals. All the songs were based on the tarot, but strangely enough, his father [vocalist Mike Marchant's father] was a vicar and all the songs were based on hymns" ("Unhinged", Spring 1990).

I don't know what do you think about, but for myself Glen was right and these video tracks are surely interesting (of course!) but not comparable to the deep dowsing research done for "The Dragon Wakes", recorded two years before by Sweeney, Minns, Bridges, Buckmaster, Coff and House...

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1 comment:

  1. I just can't believe all these documents are still circulating... it seems nobody knew about this video. The second piece is stunning: a sort of Third Ear High Tide Band! On the first song the vocals actually sound better live that on the studio version in my opinion...
    Another amazing discovery from the infinite archives.

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