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Plain and Fancy

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mighty Baby - Live In The Attic (1970 uk, marvelous experimental blues, folk, jazz and psych rock, Sunbeam release)

Mighty Baby was the short-lived band that followed the Action, one of the finest and most unheralded outfits of the ‘60s British rock/pop explosion. Upon finding no label willing to support them while making what is now known as Rolled Gold, a seamless fusion of Sunset Strip folk-pop and Northern soul, the band imploded, with the bulk of the members finding identity in the hippie subculture. 

As Mighty Baby, they came as close as England would to having its own version of the Grateful Dead, in terms of the musical journeys this group would take. Live in the Attic represents material from the two years in between their albums, and for fans, it’s a great opportunity to hear how this band developed. 

The first three tracks come from a live recording in 1970, where the band was opening for Love at Lanchester University, and represent the altogether loose, free, vibrant style of on-the-spot improvisation of which these seasoned musicians were capable. The lengthy “Now You See It” builds to a satisfying peak, and is followed by three-minute rockers “Stone Unhenged” and “Sweet Mandarin.” The remainder of the disc comes from a live allnighter in Olympic Studios. 

Two tracks are represented here: “Now You Don’t,” split into four parts, and the slightly melancholy “Winter Passes.” Of these selections, the former represents a big step for Mighty Baby, as they allow free-form rock jamming to coalesce into a big, bright, groovin’ machine, particularly as it reaches the third section.

The set comes complete with sleevenotes, rare photographs and an introduction from their bassist, Michael Evans, making it simply essential for all fans of the band. 

1.Now You See It - 14:59
2.Stone Unhenged - 3:11
3.Sweet Mandarin - 4:16
4.Now You Don’t (Part 1) - 11:31
5.Now You Don’t (Part 2) - 8:50
6.Now You Don’t (Part 3) - 6:52
7.Now You Don’t (Part 4) - 10:23
8.Winter Passes - 3:12
All compositions by Mighty Baby

Mighty Baby
*Mike Evans - Bass
*Alan King - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Roger Powell - Drums, Percussion
*Martin Stone - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*Ian Whiteman - Flute, Keyboards, Saxophone, Vocals

1971  Reg King


adamus67 said...

Previously unreleased material, recorded in 1970 between their two official LP releases. The first three tracks, in decent fidelity, are taken from a live gig in support of Love in March 1970, highlighted by the nearly 15-minute instrumental "Now You See It," which fuses their love for John Coltrane's Indian-influenced jazz with more rock-oriented instrumentation and rhythm. In contrast, the two other songs from that concert, "Stone Unhenged" (another instrumental) and "Sweet Mandarin" (which, like all of the songs on this disc, were not included on their pair of official LPs), are run-of-the-mill country-blues-rock – the kind of thing you could imagine an obscure local support band to the Grateful Dead playing in 1970, for instance. The remainder of the CD was cut in the studio soon after the March 1970 concert, and is devoted mostly to the four-part, 40-minute improvised instrumental "Now You Don't." This again draws from both the exotic jazz of Coltrane's final years and the more straightforward power of psychedelic rock, and fairly impressively, rather in the way – as much as some Mighty Baby fans might find the comparison odd or inappropriate – Soft Machine did on their early-1970s jazz-rock recordings. Closing the set is another cut from those studio sessions, the brief and seemingly incomplete "Winter Passes," which heads off in another direction, its mellow early-'70s-styled rock with Crosby, Stills & Nash-ish harmonies gliding into an extended instrumental laidback jazzy passage. The extended instrumental pieces far outdistance this CD's vocal numbers in quality, and partly for that reason, on the whole the disc is erratic enough that it can't be considered on a par with the albums Mighty Baby officially released at the time. But as none of the songs appear on these albums, and those instrumental numbers in particular show sides of the band not fully displayed on those LPs, this should be considered as a vital missing piece to the Mighty Baby discography by fans of the band, if not quite something that could be considered an actual fully developed unreleased album.

Thank you my friends Marios & Laurent. :)

MIF said...

Really a great post, thanks to Laurent & Marios

Logan said...

I've heard one other Mighty Baby track, off the Revelations- Glastonbury Fayre compilation, and liked it very much. This album is a little sketchier-sounding than what I expected, like a rock jam/fusion rhythm section lacking an inspired soloist. I wouldn't compare them to the Grateful Dead for that reason alone (not a huge Dead fan here but Garcia's solos could be very interesting). Anyway thanks for posting this, anything of this nature is always welcome.

Woody said...

No es de mi música favorita, pero se agradece el trabajo de compartirlo. Muchas gracias. Thank you very much.

Psychedelic Ranger said...

That's My Kind Of Music!!!
It Reminds me,among other things,the "Sweet Smoke" Material (1970-73).
Thanks A Lot!!!

stringfellow hawk said...

Thanks for this