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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Karakorum - Prison Bitterness (1969 uk, extraordinary psych prog rock, 2021 digi sleeve release)

For many reasons 1969 was a remarkable year and the beginning of a hugely exciting new era for me....

Kingsley Ward (co-founder of Rockfield Studios) had asked if I would check out a new band that had been bugging him all summer. He wanted to help them and knew they offered something quite different. I first met Karakorum at their next rehearsal within a dilapidated chapel located in the grounds of Harewood Park (Herefordshire).

Of course the music on this album will speak for itself, but on that day, I was instantly blown away not only by their undoubted individual talent as musicians but also because they were each fearlessly original, creative and engagingly different. The band gradually became one of the most intriguing acts to play many of the University/College venues, concert halls and British club circuits - notably London's iconic Marquee Club and the famous Liverpool Cavern Club. It soon became apparent that Paul, James, Martin, and later Rich, were individually unique. They soon began to gain acknowledgements from fellow musicians.

The club/pub scene in London traditionally provided a 'shop window' for A&R reps to discover the latest 'happening' bands. Karakorum was indeed such a band but despite having generated a lot of curiosity and interest, the record industry was not quite ready for them. As time went on, the band's response was to consider changing musical direction. Ultimately, we drifted apart.

Karakorum was an exceptional band and the British music industry had clearly missed out on signing what I still believe would have become one of the UK's finest bands. I'm delighted that after all these years and through this album their creative spirit and musical genius has been allowed to surface once again.
by John Vigar

1. Arnold Collins In Drag - 3:46
2. Living My Life - 3:01
3. Prison Bitterness - 4:07
4. Breakfast - 5:22
5. When The War Is Over - 4:34
All songs by James Williams, Martin Chambers, Paul Cobbold

*James Williams - Guitar, Vocals
*Martin Chambers - Drums
*Paul Cobbold - Bass, Keyboards


  1. Never heard about this band. But seems to be up my alley. Thanks, very appreciated.

  2. Thanks for Karkakorum's (surprisingly brief) "Prison Bitterness." Never heard of them previously, but that's the same Martin Chambers who became the Pretenders' drummer.