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I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

CMU - Open Spaces (1971 uk, brilliant prog, jazz, blues, folk rock with marvelous female vocals, 2008 Esoteric remaster)

CMU stands for Contemporary Music Unit (no less), and were one of the few progressive rock bands to feature both male and female vocals. With influences mainly from psych and blues, their debut "Open Spaces" occasionally reminds a bit of Affinity, especially on the passages sung by Larraine Odell.

The opener "Henry" is one of the better tracks, based in a nice melody and with tasteful, atmospheric arrangements consisting of piano, guitar, bass, drums and some almost inaudible flute. "Voodoo Man" sounds like something Arthur Brown could have done, and the heavy chorus in the middle introduces the raspy voice of James Gordon, who together with guitarist Ian Hamlett is the main reason for the bluesy touch of this album. Hamlett really proves that point on the instrumental "Slow and Lonesome Blues" that is actually a bit faster and more energetic than what you would expect from such a title. "Chantecleer" starts slow, dark and moody with some haunting pairing of vocals from Odell and Gordon, but builds quickly up to a fast, organ-driven and almost funky tune where an influence from Arthur Brown again can be detected.

The second side opens with "Japan", an attempt at traditional Japanese folk music that sounds surprisingly authentic, especially when considering that the band just used their usual instruments. "Clown" is a lightweight and whimsical tune, but catchy enough to be worthwhile, and Gordon's vocals has an unusual operatic twist here. One of the most best melodies on the record can be found in "Mystical Sounds", a ballad dominated by Hamlet's flute and Odell's voice. The title-track is a lengthy, mystical and atmospheric journey with lots of dreamy, wordless vocals from the two singers, and keyboardist Terry Mortimer also contributes with some spooky violin here

1. Henry (L. Odell, R. Odell) - 4:42
2. Voodoo Man (L. Odell, R. Odell) - 4:35
3. Slow And Lonesome Blues (Ed Lee) - 5:06
4. Chanticleer (J. Gordon, L. Odell, Ed Lee, T. Mortimer) - 6:10
5. Japan (Sanders, arr. CMU) - 2:44
6. Clown (J. Gordon, Ed Lee) - 2:34
7. Mystical Sounds (L. Odell, R. Odell) - 3:11
8. Open Spaces (Ed Lee, T. Mortimer) - 11:34

*Jim Gordon - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Ian Hamlett - Guitar
*Larraine Odell - Vocals
*Leary Hasson - Keyboards
*Roger Odell - Drums
*Ed Lee - Bass
*Terry Mortimer - Guitar, Fuzz Guitar, Organ, Piano

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DanP said...

I'm familiar with this already and like it very much.

Larry said...

I am look forward to hearing this. Thank You

adamus67 said...

I've got it already,pretty cool.Anyway,thanks

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

spaceboy5367 said...

Looking forward to hearing this. Jim Gordon? I take it this is not "the" Jim Gordon (famous drummer who went mad and hacked his Mom to bits). Thanks again Marios, great page you have here!

Anon said...

If din't make a note about findings, shold search again, and here I am. Thanks for this lossless.

Hotroder said...

A stretch back too rockasteria's Archive for this one.
I thought i had this in flac but noooooo....,glad the link is still alive,thanks Marios.

juan manuel muñoz said...

thanks, thanks, thanks. Cheers

marc said...

great band!

Adam Flynn said...

fantastic album, thanks for this. New to your blog but have waded through most of it, appreciate the effort you've put in and I've found some absolute gems so far! The Trees album is a big one for me as well.

Unknown said...

This is a fabulous album from start to finish.

Jim Gordon does sound like L.A. Woman era Jim Morrison but that's no bad thing.

And the band prove their worth on the breathtaking final track Open Spaces, which veers firmly into Dark Star territory.

Thanks a million for sharing this album Marios.


Saturday 7th February 2015 7.26pm GMT

wcpaeb said...

Great record, thanks Marios and DJCarlis

Anonymous said...

link - Dead ! Please update link !

Marios said...

Anonymous, CMU - Open Spaces reup...

Anonymous said...

Marios, thank you very much !