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25 Aug 2016

Guns ‘n’ Butter “Guns 'n’ Butter” 1972 Jazz Prog Rock






Guns ‘n’ Butter “Guns 'n’ Butter” 1972 excellent Jazz Prog Rock 

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This awesome but underrated record from this unjustly forgotten US band from Boston was released on Cotillion Records in 1972 and contained very ambitious, well-arranged and truly inspired, jazzy progessive rock with memorable and complex tracks, full of interesting ideas. 

Their music was characterized by fine electric guitar and Hammond phrases mixed with excellent and intensive violin, flute and sax solo parts. Because the Guns & Butter line-up was predominantly Jewish, there was more than a hint of traditional Jewish music in thier sound, which gave them a unique and distinctive sound. This beautifully varied and simply stunning music can be compared to early Kansas, Jethro Tull and Darryl Way’s Wolf. Unfortunately the record went completely unnoticed and as a result the band split up…. 

his Boston outift’s proto prog moves sound both curiously dated for their release date and totally gripping with 27 years hindsight, with a horn-centric and violin laced approach that jibes more with the moves of UK groups from a few years earlier, like East Of Eden, Titus Groan and Blodwyn Pig than much else going on Stateside, save perhaps It’s A Beautiful Day. ….. 

Boston based Guns & Butter may be the best example, from the early 70s United States scene that is, of the UK progressive rock movement as headed by the Dawn, Neon and Transatlantic labels. Even the vocals have a certain English affected smoothness to them. The lead instruments are primarily guitar, violin and saxophone (with some additional flute), and the compositions are very complex yet compact. There’s a distinct psychedelic aura around this, and it sounds more like a 1969/70 release than anything from 1972. I’m most reminded of the first two East of Eden albums, though I also hear bands like Diabolus and Raw Material creeping in. Side 1 is magnificent, while Side 2 is merely great (though it features the best song on the album 'Lady Grey’). …. 

This band from Boston had its seeds in late-60’s with old-time friends Jeff Lyons (vocals), Peter Cohen (bass), Paul Cohen (guitar) and Peter Tucker (drums) jamming together and swirling around concerts of famous bands.In early 1970 they recruited Richard Ploss on flute/sax/clarinet and headed for a personal musical approach.Shortly after they were joined by Classical-trained violinist Lenny Federer.Federed, who has been travelling around the world since a little kid -propably due to his parents’ occupations- had settled in Boston around the time and attended the Boston University.Tired of the Classical orchestrations, he searched for a new challenge and Guns & Butter was exactly what he was lookining for.Turning point comes, when the band was offered a set of lives at Lennie’s on the Turnpike club, owned by Lennie Sogoloff.They came to the attention of Marshal Chess, business manager of the Rolling Stones, and they were offered a place in the list of Atlantic bands.They released their self-titled debut in 1972 on Atlantic’s sublabel Cotillion. 

“Guns & Butter” has to be one of the most challenging albums of the premature US Prog scene of the 70’s.While dominated by 60’s Psych and Pop leftovers, it has a demanding instrumental background, not easily found in American groups of the time.They have been compared to British Prog pioneers EAST OF EDEN and this is a very good reference point.The omnipresent use of wind instruments and the Classical touches provided by Federer’s impressive violin executions led to series of complicated and intricate arrangements with a rock attitude, but influenced by the principles of Jazz and Classical Music.The vocals are like coming from a mid-60’s Psych Pop album, clean, expressive, but not quite suitable to the irritating musicianship.On the other hand the instrumenal passages are pretty fascinating, featuring endless interplays between sax, flute, guitar and violin, containing lots of unexpected breaks and often opening the doors for a more guitar-driven Psychedelic Rock style.The atmosphere is dominated by a rich palette with plenty of driving violin parts, jazzy sax solioing and some very good flute work.Anywise they have been very much influenced also by the early albums of JETHRO TULL.I am surprised that these guys surpassed the standard bluesy values of US Rock and their style was rather ahead of its time. 

They have dissapeared like falling in a black hole after this album.Many years later Jeff Lyons was detected in the line-up of a Power Pop band called Angry Young Bees, with whom he played in a sole single around 1981. 

Rich, emphatic and quite innovative early-70’s mix of Jazz, Classical and Rock Music, showered consistently by psychedelic influences.Warmly recommended, especially taking the country and time of realease into consideration. ……… 

*Jeff Lyons - Vocals 
*Lenny Federer - Violin, Viola 
*Paul Cohen - Guitar 
*Richard Ploss - Flute Saxophones 
*Peter Cohen - Bass 
*Peter Tucker - Drums 

Tracks 

1. I Am - 4:23 
2. Time Has Wings - 2:54 
3. Look At The Day - 2:38 
4. Sometimes - 8:32 
5. It Can’t Go On Like This - 3:10 
6. Our Album - 3:04 
7. Lady Grey - 3:48 
8. Family - 2:33 
9. Elysium’s Butterfly Comes - 2:33 
10.The Wanderer - 5:26 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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