In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

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

Plain and Fancy

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

Monday, July 8, 2013

Aura - Sativa (1976 us, groovy fiery funky psych, 2011 reissue)

Aura was a San Francisco psych-funk band that formed in 1974 and played extensively throughout Northern California. By 1976, the band recorded their first and only album at Pacific Recording Studio in San Mateo. The original title of the album was Sativa, but out of fear that promoting the joys of marijuana would be too controversial, the band omitted the title and just left it as Aura. 

Over the ensuing decades though the Aura album has grown in stature to become a collector's item. In 1991, the Oakland hip-hop band, Oaktown's 357 (MC Hammer's Salt-N-Pepa type band) sampled 'Mess Up Your Mind' for their song 'Turn It Up,' which raised the Aura album to cult status. The Lemon Drops producer Reggie Weiss wrote the psych-funk title track, 'Sativa' (a parody of The Champs hit song 'Tequila,' with water pipe sound effects and blistering guitar leads by former Lemon Drops guitarist, Eddie Weiss) and 'Skyrocket' (with manic fuzz guitar). 

The lead singer in Aura was Paulette Collins who still performs around the Bay Area today with an all-girl group called The Taylor P. Collins Band. Replete with rare band memorabilia and previously unreleased bonus tracks, Aura is now available from the original master tapes for the first time on CD. The album is a piece of Bay Area history and a psych-funk masterpiece that cannot be overlooked in today's pervasive hip-hop world.
from CD Liner-notes

1. You Got Something (P. Collins) - 3:20
2. Clap Your Hands (P. Collins, R. Kutulas) - 2:43
3. First Taste of Love (P. Collins, R. Kutulas) - 3:14
4. It's a Feeling (E. Weiss) - 2:18
5. Gonna Make It (P. Collins) - 3:22
6. Sativa (E. Weiss, A. Taylor) - 2:47
7. Mess Up Your Mind (P. Collins, E. Weiss, R. Kutulas) - 2:47
8. Don't You Worry (C. Haskell) - 3:17
9. Trying to Hold it Down (E. Weiss) - 2:38
10.Skyrocket (R. Kutulas) - 3:22
11.Catch a Falling Star (D. Harley) - 3:32
12.Evil That Brings You Down (E. Weiss) - 2:40
13.It's a Feeling Early Version  (E. Weiss) - 2:16

*Paulette Collins - Vocals
*Eddie Weiss - Guitar
*Jeff Ervin - Saxophone
*Jean Hintermann - Trumpet
*Robin Kutulas - Piano, Organ, Mellotron
*Rick Kutulas - Drums
*Al Taylor - Conga
*Cobe Haskell - Bass

Free Text


Anonymous said...

many thanks for this..i didnt know that released cd...

Holly said...

Thank you, marios!

Cositronico said...

Very good. Thankx a lot.

adamus67 said...

Oakland's Aura are usually described as psych/funk or similar, but the sound on their sole LP, 1976's The Aura (originally to be titled Sativa, until the drug reference got someone running scared), is more Bay-Area Latin rock than anything, sounding an awful lot like early Santana, right down to the ripping guitar leads and massed percussion. OK, so it's probably funkier than most of Santana's output, while the female vocals and brass lead the music more in that direction, but this really is more Latin than anything. The album was apparently rediscovered through hip-hop crew Oaktown's 357's sampling of Mess Up Your Mind, leading crate-diggers to search out originals and an eventual reissue, under its original title, by Lion Records.

So, is it any good? Yes, is the simple answer, tracks like propulsive opener You Got Something, the funky Sativa and freak-out closer Skyrocket lifting the album above other, second-division Latin rock/funksters. The same can be said for Eddie Weiss' guitar work, his acid-drenched (sorry) leads being singled out for particular praise. Robin Kutulas plays Mellotron (a studio machine?), with strings doubling the Hammond on You Got Something and full-on string and flute parts on First Taste Of Love, although it's not exactly what you'd call a major feature of their sound. All in all, definitely a lost classic, at least of its kind, which is more than you can say for many so-called 'buried treasures'.

Thx Marios.

Unknown said...

AS members of this 1976 band we are grateful for peoples interest in this 70's classic album. Rick Kutulas is still performing extensively in the bay area With the band Mark Bettencourt and the Aftermath. Robin Kutulas continues to write music.