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Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Firebirds - Light My Fire (1969 multinational, raw fuzz acid heavy psych)

The Firebirds, a completely anonymous British session band, released ‘Light My Fire‘. Now, the Doors hit of the same name doesn’t really show up on the album, although it’s main hook is alluded to in one song and even though one song IS called ‘Light My Fire’ that isn’t the one!

Stylistically, LMF doesn’t sound anything like Jim Dandy & The Knobs. In fact, the intended effect – a Hendrix Experience clone – ends up sounding like Jack Bruce of Cream fronting first LP Black Sabbath mocking the Experience! It’s incredible in just how over the top it goes: 

The guitar is brutal, taking on an almost ‘My War‘ era Greg Ginn (Black Flag) feel on the LP’s best track ‘No Tomorrows’. It just squeals with that tortured amp buzz, like Blue Cheer‘s ‘Vincebus Eruptum’ , but even dirtier, if you can believe that. If you’re a Tony Iommi freak, prepare to be surprised when you hear this guy pulling out the licks to ‘Paranoid’ two years before that song existed! 

The drummer is particularly entertaining in his  "Mitch Mitchell" approach. I think there may be one steady beat throughout the entire record. This guy is a fill machine- it’s absurd! Plus, the record contains a three solo suite “Free Fuzz / Free Bass / Free Drums”. The highlight here is “Free Bass”. 

The bassist isn’t really skilled enough to do a proper solo, and hearing him struggle through it is a Spinal Tap worthy moment. Like I said earlier, the singer has a Jack Bruce-ish quality, but then does himself no favors by employing Hendrix speak on ‘Gypsy Fire’. It must be heard to be believed!

Now, remember, this isn’t a real band – just some salary guys with guitars and no control over the end product. As such, the track ‘Warm Up’ is just not the same band. It may have a few of the same players, but it doesn’t even remotely approach the sound of the rest of the album. 
by Marshottentot

1. Warm Up - 2:30
2. Reflections - 4:23
3. By Baby - 5:29
4. Free Bass - 2:38
5. Free Drum - 4:31
6. Free Fuzz/Gypsy Fire - 2:39
7. No Tomorrows - 5:02
8. Light My Fire - 4:18

*Unknown session musicians

Free Text


Anonymous said...

I think the Firebirds was a U.S band who release this album in
Crown Records.

jp said...

On "l'encyclopedie du Hard-Rock", by Denis Protat, it is said that they were a US/Canada band, having also released "Hair" under the name "The 31 flavors" (same musicians) in 1970.
He agrees saying "Light my fire" was released by Crown Records (CROWN CST 589 - 1968, re-released in 2002 by Radioactive records) and says the band was also named "The electric firebirds" on some lp sleeves.

Marios said...

Thank you my friends,
I'm aware of these details,
I guess that it is right to describe them as an international band.

Laurent said...

Original US press: Crown CST-589 (1968). In my opinion this is certainly US musicians who played on this low budget album, even if it's not sure because we don't have their names. Warning because there's some historical errors on the book of Denis Protat, despite this i strongly recommend his 2 editions for all afficionados of 70's underground hard rock. What is true, is that's a good fire album, and the beautiful girl on the cover... light my fire.

adamus67 said...

Excellent psychedelic album, recorded completely anonymous by a session band,unknown musicians and released once the low-budget label for clear,that for untaxed profit. The LP contains a blend of guitar distortions and organ passages and generally it is almost rock-arche-type of that era! Okay so, for you younger readers, back in the 60’s up through the early 80’s, there was this phenomenon of the bogus record label. Companies like K-Tel and Ronco in the US and Crown in the UK would traffic in cheap imitation pop music predicated on siphoning monies from grandparents and other. Absolutely nothing is known about the band other than their albums have become highly sought-after for their over-the-top heavy psych-blues-rock mayhem that owes much to Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, & Blue Cheer's 'Vincebus Eruptum' (1968).

What is, so sweet hippie cover .... I also, familiar-sounding titles - 'Light My Fire' and 'Hair'. However, nothing could be more wrong - The Firebirds and its mutation - 31 Flavors - a British band playing music has nothing to do with American trip. What have we here? Heavy garage sound, a lot of fuzzing of guitars and pile of dirt. Probably is the same group that ,has realise 3 lp's with diferent name Group: The Firebirds - 'Light my Fire', 31 Flavors - ' Hair',Electric Firebirds - 'Dance Party Time'. (Also must tell that the the group name on cover is "The Firebirds", but at the vinyl labels is "The Fire Birds". The cover of the "Electric Firibirds" lp is the same as the cover of "Associated Soul Group"lp on Contessa Label!)

adamus67 said...

A rare reissue of the 1969 album, by The Firebirds, a blues-heavy psychedelic outfit similar to Blue Cheer and Iron Butterfly except with tunes! A thoroughly intriguing & engaging album that appeared on the Crown label (CST 589) in 1969. The album kicks off with a great instrumental version of "Light My Fire", by The Doors? Clearly, if, but in a bluesy version with a little fuzz (not butt) called Warm Up and kicking this very famous introduction to one of the most mysterious LP' primitive sounds,it should be noted that they are sessions created in 1968/69 and released recordings 1969. The power and technique fuzz, of Hendrix and then has a loose,re-occurring fire-related theme running through the album on tracks like "Warm Up" and "Gypsy Fire". While Hendrix distortions are reflected superbly on this record. Reflections plays them to perfection but more malicious tone that the band would exploit their tube amps. Clearly we see that our anonymous guitarist is the one carrying the baton in this band, voice and guitar at the same time as his idol Jimi certainly was. A low rate echoing and linking to the battery at the same time a few setbacks and impressive blows. The song reaches its climax when it explodes in true guitar solo and imposing a devastating rate changes and oil to the dying hippie community and feeding the resurgent wave of drug blinded and manipulated by impotence to do anything against the war in Vietnam.

The blues comes to our legendary band (as it should be) and is a bit overshadowed by the voice guitar aguardientosa sticking to other instruments but still not without a touch of rawness and that only one band correosidad butt drugs can have.

And speaking of drugs, clearly shows his influence in this band that has that touch of heaviness, sickness, mystery, dark and (for me) makes it one of the progenitors of the old but wise doom rock / Sound powerful and decadent before Black Sabbath. As classic blues everybody uses these magical power chords and blues make something easy to play, just a few rock bands I had discovered at that time, including Hendrix and Cream and the wave that followed them: Blue Cheer, Grand Funk, Iron Butterfly, Led Zeppelin, but only one exploded this distortion / fuzz: the Firebirds, "Gypsy Fire" is clearly inspired by Hendrix once again and give a perfect combination of power chords, fuzz, and those solos that only Jimi could do only a year before the debut album release of Black Sabbath. And I forgot the ''Free Bass'' is a demonstration of the skills of bassist but not impressive at all but hey, it's a good bassist and guitarist accordingly and recording drums that pull their own improvisations and solos. Are you more impressed! Some say that the Stooges' debut album was the heaviest of 1969, but I dethroned and give the crown to the Power Trio known as the heaviest album of 1969.

Overall an excellent album that is imposed at the height of greats like Black Sabbath and even the same Hendrix,or Blue Cheer. The rawness of the era is reflected in these recordings that were hidden for years in a basement and decadent devastating guitars screaming for some unjust cause, low very perfect and clean and to say the drummer, is an animal! I leave you to devour that song is nightmarish "No Tomorrows" certainly this album is one of all time, 'enigmas'.

Smokee Monkee said...

Thank you Marios, this is very interesting.
Has anyone considered that the titles for "Warm Up" and "Light My Fire" were mistakenly transposed?