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15 Nov 2016

Mighty Baby “Mighty Baby” 1969 UK Psych Rock -100 Great Psychedelic Rock Albums

























Mighty Baby “Mighty Baby” 1969 UK Psych Rock -100 Great Psychedelic Rock Albums…. 
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watch review by psychedelic baby…..
An overlooked late-sixties psych-rock gem, Mighty Baby’s self-titled 1969 debut somehow got lost amongst all the ‘Atom Heart Mothers’ and 'In The Court Of The Crimson Kings’ upon it’s initial release. Although a fairly straight-forward of R'n'B, folk, rock and psychedelic influences, which, technically-speaking at least, is closer in spirit to the likes of The Beatles, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane than it is to any of the genre’s popular progressive rock acts, 'Mighty Baby’ showcased an inventive and surprisingly-experimental outfit whose West coast-leanings contrasted nicely with their UK beat-group origins. Songs, such as the impressive, country- flecked rocker 'A Friend You Know But Never See’ start as seemingly-simplistic late-sixties psych-tinged rock, before breaking headlong into complex, overlapping rhythms that spin off into Jerry Garcia-inspired oblivion and back again via semi-progressive instrumental passages that feature Cajun violins, bluesy-guitars and folk-pressed vocals. Fans of The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Wizards From Kansas, as well as early rainy-day UK psych purveyors The Move, Tomorrow and The Magic Mixture should find much to admire on this enjoyable album, and whilst there may not be the complex keyboard passages, rampant experimentation and surreal conceits that ordain the best 1970’s prog, Mighty Baby’s brand of all-encompassing Beatles-ish psych-folk-rock remains refreshingly unique. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010……by stefro……. 

This hour-long CD is one of the best bodies of British psychedelia ever released. It contains the complete Mighty Baby album from Head Records, expanded to 13 tracks with the addition of five tracks cut by the Action during its 1967 transition period. The opening number, “Egyptian Tomb,” sets the tone for the entire album – in terms of content, structure, and beat, it sounds like the early Allman Brothers, or maybe the Grateful Dead in one of their harder-rocking moments, jamming with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on an impromptu version of CSN’s “Pre-Road Downs.” The beauty of the original Mighty Baby album tracks is that they’re psychedelia with a solid beat, none of that noodle-rock that drugged-up Brits usually engaged in. “A Friend You Know But Never See” mighthave passed muster on the Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers album. Other songs noodle around too much, but overall this is some of the most energetic psychedelia to come out of England, and anyone who enjoys psychedelic guitar will love Martin Stone’s and Alan King’s work on this album. The bonus tracks, all “lost” demos, are even better: highly rhythmic, driving rock (check out “Understanding Love”) with lots of spacy guitar and tougher-than-normal flower-power introspective lyrics, with some gorgeous harmonies dressing it all up – a near perfect meld of garage rock and psychedelic sensibilities….by Bruce Eder…..allmusic….. 

When the Action broke up in the late 60s, they reformed minus Reggie King as Azoth. The Azoth name was short lived, leading the band to settle on Mighty Baby. The Action had played the club circuit for years, releasing many excellent mod singles before plunging into the world of psychedelia. This band had always worked hard, and now they were finally given the luxury to record a long player. 

Mighty Baby’s album was released in 1969 off the small independent Head label. At this point, Mighty Baby could technically and instrumentally hold their own against rock’s finest: The Grateful Dead, King Crimson, Collosuem, Caravan and the Allman Brothers. The album is miles away from the soulful, sweaty mod garage of their mid 60s singles and could best be described as a melding of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young harmonies, Allman Brothers guitar improv and Notorious Byrd Brothers psychedelia. 

Few debut openers are as good as the revolutionary Egyptian Tomb. It’s a sleek, powerful piece of psychedelia with strong west coast style guitar interplay. At 5:30 minutes, this great song never falls flat and is definitely one of the defining moments of British acid rock. Same Way From The Sun has a similar stoned vibe with psychedelic echo and sounds like it could have been lifted from a really good latter day Byrds album. 

The spacious, pounding A Friend You Know But Never See, yet another highlight, rocks really hard with some interesting raga style guitar and has a strange mountain air aura. Other works such as the rural I’m From The Country provided a sound Mighty Baby would further explore on their next album, the equally brilliant Jug of Love from 1971. 

Mighty Baby along with the Action and various band member’s solo careers are one of rock’s great lost family trees. During their peak they were innovative and unstoppable, thus the “English Grateful Dead” label really doesn’t do them any justice. 
by Jason Nardelli ……… 

In 1968, the Summer of Love was exerting it’s influence on pop and fashion trends and, in the UK, many of the previous year’s Mod movement were heeding the call to 'get your head together, man’ and go 'progressive’. The Action had been one of the most respected of London’s mod bands but in late '68, founder members guitarist Alan King, bassist Mike Evans and drummer Roger Powell were joined by pianist lan Whiteman and ex-Savoy Brown guitarist Martin Stone in a brand new band Mighty Baby. The group’s 1969 debut album Mighty Baby was strong on melody and instrumental technique and Egyptian Tomb is a perfect summation of what the band’s recorded music was all about. “Live”, they extended their performances, as did most groups of the era. Stone’s guitar soloing being lauded for its imaginative approach. They cut a second album A Jug Of Love before disbanding. Stone later formed Chilli Willi And The Red Hot Peppers while King became a member of pub-rock band Ace. This CD reissue combines their first album with 5 tracks made when King, Evans and Powell were still The Action and the sleeve notes by Record Collector magazines John Reed chart the history of one of the best of the late 60s/early 70s “head” bands…… 

Mighty Baby is an album that encapsulates all that was wonderful and magical about the psychedelic age. I’ve listened to a lot of early psychedelic and progressive music, and to be honest it can be a real mixed bag. For every King Crimson or Mothers of Invention, you get a half-dozen Curved Airs or Mouses (and even they weren’t the worst!). Interestingly, the pros and cons of late-60s psychedelic varied enormously depending on whether you were in England or the US. 
American bands had edge, a political message and were bona-fide rock bands with an experimental side. Think Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, The United States of America or Quicksilver. Yes, they could do folky vocal harmonies and acoustic niceties, but their towering moments were generally displayed when they cranked up the volume to max and unleashed torrents of musical fire on ecstatic hippy audiences all set on ending the Vietnam War and bringing love to the masses. The downside was that most of these bands, even the best ones, could get bogged down in directionless jamming, or they too often displayed such a glaring lack of musical and lyrical virtuosity that they very quickly ran out of pertinent and arresting things to say or record. Not many lasted the distance, and those that did never managed to recapture the glory of the 67-70 period. 

In Britain, it was something of the reverse effect. With softer drugs, and no war to get riled up about, English psych-prog tended to be a bit soft, or seriously pretentious. The best moments yielded some truly fantastic, genre-defining albums (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd, Disraeli Gears by Cream, In Search of the Lost Chord by the Moody Blues or The Pretty Things’ SF Sorrow are true classics), with a musical variety and lyrical depth that most Yank bands were incapable of, steeped in the blues/folk/jazz/traditional musical histories of England, Europe and the US. But most of the output from the time has aged poorly, and gets bogged down by the kind of pretentiousness that makes you want to yank your hair out, and which sadly would become one of the defining characteristics of the next decade’s prog-rock scene. 

Mighty Baby avoided all such traps on their debut. Indeed, they somehow instead managed to combine the best of both psychedelic scenes while all the while excising all the above-mentioned flaws. Amazing! The result is Mighty Baby, a gloriously inventive album, and a lost gem of British rock. 

Erroneously, Mighty Baby are often referred to as a British Grateful Dead. The one thing they did share with Jerry Garcia’s band was a sense of vocal harmony, and like the Dead, used their combined voices as a way of compensating for their lack of a true lead singer in the Eric Burdon/Grace Slick mould. But Mighty Baby is a much harder-hitting, more lucid album than anything The Grateful Dead ever produced, with more aggressive guitar solos and rhythm. 

This is not to say it’s not adventurous, or trippy. Quite the opposite, in fact. Lead singer, saxophonist and keyboardist Ian Whiteman was a jazz fan in the Soft Machine-mould, and displayed a strong interest in Eastern and North African music, adding rich horn textures and exotic flourishes to Mighty Baby’s rock groove. Opening track 'Egyptian Tomb’ is a glorious demonstration of his skill, a subtle blend of hard-rocking energy and outlandish flights of fancy, as bursts of sax wrap themselves around driving guitar riffs and soaring organ solos. The lyrics are deeply mystical, serving as a mirror of the album’s bizarre cover, with musings on ancient Egypt and the enigmatic figures and rituals of that culture. Closing track ‘At a point between fate and destiny’ (with a typical late-sixties title) reprises the exotic flavour of ‘Egyptian Tomb’ and brings to mind images of a deep, red sun setting over a barren desert. This music is mystical, almost haunted, clearly as adventurous and far-reaching –if not more so- as anything by Soft Machine or Pink Floyd were doing at the same time. In fact, for me it is closer to what seminal German band Agitation Free would release a couple of years later, making Mighty Baby something of a rarity in Britain at the time - a British prog/psych band with the sensitivity of Krautrockers. Yet it’s also perfect hippy music, dreaming of another reality, and provides a great signpost for the prog-rock scene of Yes and ELP that was to follow. 

But, unlike so many of their contemporaries, Mighty Baby don’t get bogged down in their ambitions. Each song is perfectly mastered, the instrumentation concise but masterful. ‘Egyptian Tomb’ may be weird, but don’t expect an overdose of sitars or incomprehensible time signatures. Here we have dazzling guitar work-outs and pounding bass and drums to keep the song steady and groovy. ‘I’ve been down so long’ has echoes of blues, but is played like a traditional English folk tune, with gorgeous harmonies and a discreet arrangement. ‘House without windows’ shares similar themes to ‘Egyptian Tomb’, and is in fact almost creepy in its lyrical content, but is a full-blooded rocker with a fierce driving rhythm and some scorching guitar solos. 

In many ways, Mighty Baby does indeed owe more to the American West Coast bands such as The Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane than it does to its British contemporaries. It rocks, it’s more concise and focused, and it doesn’t cross endlessly and confusingly from one genre to the other. But, just as you think you’ve got it nailed, it will surprise you with a strange lyrical musing or a burst of unexpected sax. The spacy organ of Whiteman will suddenly surge into the mix, ousting the guitars and catapulting the song you’re listening to into some strange arcane land. But unlike with the American bands, there’s no room here for 10-minute instrumental jams or boring drum solos. The songs are what matter, and they are all the more glorious because of this singular focus and drive. Mighty Baby is a rich and textured record, a true slab of adventurous psychedelic music, but one that doesn’t forget to rock, to roll and to rumble. I honestly can’t think of a better compliment!……………. 

The music scene underground English of the late sixties and early seventies is a real asset of enormous interest, historical and cultural importance, a movement (if that, very improperly, can be defined), which greatly contributed to the evolution musical structures of that period rock. Musicians and groups that often proposed placeable music outside the commercial standards of the time, often promoting the research aspects, the sound synthesis of unpublished trials, or that - in the most reductive of hypotheses - placed themselves in opposition to the ’ prevailing and growing invasiveness of the music business on the musical choices expressed by the artists. And if sometimes the choice was forced, because of discs never promoted, unsold, concert never or poorly paid, never mind: passion, honesty, fair attitude of making music without compromises on the edge of the reputation and solid investments financial justified enough the fleeting appearance of these artists in the magma boiling of youth music. 
The Mighty Baby story, excellent active riding group between Sixties and Seventies (although the story of musicians winds through a large period of time), is no exception to the rules codified in the rock at the edge of the showbiz . 

The first nucleus of the group was founded in 1963 as Boyfriends (later shortened to initials Boys). The training includes the singer Reggie King, Alan “Bam” King on guitar, bassist Mike Evans and drummer Roger Powell. At first the boys are essentially the backing band of singer Sandra Barry, to the entrance of guitarist Pete Watson in 1965, a prelude to the change of initials in Action. 
The interest shown in the complex by George Martin (producer, arranger and musician with The Beatles, looking for artists for its new label Air) could open the doors of fame to the London club, but the five singles released between 1965 and 1967 do not get much success while demonstrating the qualities of Reggie King and Co., can produce a marked music to a beat-tinged soul and psychedelic. 
In a few high and low, from the deck of the records you need to extract at least two beautiful versions of classic rhythm and blues: “Land Of A Thousand Dances” (big hit of Wilson Pickett) and the excellent cover of “I’ll Keep On holding On ”. In particular, the second song, originally played by the Marvelettes, is imprinted in the memories of the scene “mod” London era thanks all'accattivante melody grafted on a garage-rock structure. No coincidence that the two songs open and close the CD “The Ultimate Action,” published by Edsel in 1990 as a providential culmination of the material of Action produced by George Martin. 

By the end of 1966 Watson leaves his companions, replaced in the following months by two musicians who will contribute to substantially change the musical expression of the group. At first comes into training preparation instrumentalist Ian Whiteman (keyboards, woodwinds, percussion, vocals, formerly a member of Ben Carruthers and the Deep), then it was the turn of the excellent blues guitarist Martin Stone, a musician who has the interesting shoulders experiences with Stone’s Masonry, author in 1966 of a 45 whose side a (the brilliant blues instrumental “Flapjacks”) can be found in the “Anthology of British Blues vol. 2” (Immediate, 1969) and with the Savoy Brown Blues Band (their first LP “Shake Down” in 1967 on Decca label). 
Entered into the orbit of the former manager of The Yardbirds, Giorgio Gomelsky, during the 1967 Action recorded a series of demos , originally intended for the creation of an album called “Brain” that will never be published. The material has been ordered in recent times, in an attempt to reconstruct the original work, and you can listen to it on CD “Rolled Gold” is placed on the market in 2002 by the label Reaction. 
Definitely the most interesting of the five songs recorded by the group in 1968, probably at Morgan Studios, all of Ian Whiteman signature. Reggie King in the spring has left the formation to dedicate himself to a solo career (publish an excellent self-titled album in 1971 for United Artists, with the participation of several components Mighty Baby) and the vocals are recorded by “Bam” King, but they are especially the most advanced instrumental set-up and setting of the most sought arrangements to make interesting the material passing that, in fact, anticipates the turning point of the progressive band. The first publication of these songs only takes place in 1985, on the EP “Action Speaks Louder Than Words” (Castle); in 1994 they will be included as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the first album of Mighty Baby edited by Big Beat. 

The time is now ripe for a decisive change of approach and style. Already in the course of 1968 “Bam” King, Stone, Whiteman, Evans and Powell for a few days change the name to Action in Azoth, but the turning point came at the beginning of 1969, when the group renames definitely Mighty Baby. 
The complex has undergone opportunity to shine by participating in the Cambridge Free Festival (June 1969) and in August to the second edition of the Isle of Wight Festival. 

The first self-titled album Mighty Baby was released in October 1969 by the London-based record company Head tiny house, the second overall production, under the expert supervision and producer Guy Stevens presented by a beautiful design front cover made by the artist Martin Sharp at the time art director of Oz magazine and already the author of the album covers Cream such as “ Disraeli Gears ” and “Wheels of Fire”. 
There is in the music of Mighty Baby innate predisposition for the song format that cleverly complemented by excellent instrumental contributions and characterized by a pleasant and sometimes exhilarating feeling of freedom of expression, right in the album debut of complete manifestation. The proposal reveals refined and full of originality, at the same time full of tangible interpretive power, as part of compositional structures that prefer harmonic and melodic choices of undoubted charm, complex computations, however, are easy to use. The Stone and King guitars dominate the sound, supported by a precise rhythm section, with horns and keyboards Whiteman and beautiful vocals to offer a definitive all'assetto essential contribution of the compositions. 
“Egyptian Tomb” is a song by the solid rhythmic structure that employs a refined arrangement soul-jazz inside which is housed the rock-blues guitar Martin Stone; the surreal melodic maelstrom of “A Friend You Know But Never See” leads to unpredictable cycles of concentric jam executive vitality charges, and “I’ve Been Down So Long” includes the certain instances Californian brand of country-rock, mixing the raw material with inflections romantic and shaping sounds in a deadly progression free form ; on “Some Way From The Sun” emerge psychedelic flashes of alienating beauty, encased in electrical awareness of song structure driven by Stone guitar; “House Without Windows” presents a clear impact rock guitars and polished in support of yet beautiful melody keyboards; the brilliant rock'n'roll of “Trials Of A City” leads to a tense jam instrumental and precedes “I’m From The Country”, that without giving up a brief interlude of sour guitar choose the carrier path of a folk-tasty country; the enigmatic “At A Point Between Fate And Destiny” closes the album as part of a magical dense atmosphere of ecstatic and mysterious romance. 
Songs ever-changing climate, with great ease, overflowing between fiery guitars and sustained rates in flashes of poignant lyricism. In short, one of the great, neglected masterpieces of music underground progressive English. 

Unfortunately the album sells very little and the label Head already in the space of a year it sinks under the weight of an inevitable financial crisis. The Mighty Baby however, does not give up and, after helping Robin Scott as a backing band for the recording of his album “Woman From The Warm Grass” (Head, 1969), continued their road dotted mainly by numerous performances live in small free festival (the Atomic Sunrise Festival in March 1970 at the Roundhouse in London and still the Cambridge Festival in August 1970) but also by taking part in a great event which the Isle of Wight Festival in ’ August 1970. 
This period of the Mighty Baby music is presented with an album released posthumously in several editions (the one edited by Sunbeam guarantees the double cD support / Lp), Live in the Attic , which collects some live recordings retrieved by the supporting performances the UK tour of Americans Love (March 1970), as well as traces made at Olympic Studios. From these tapes show a strong training in developmental stage, capable of expressing a mature sound, modeled on challenging but well laid out broad instrumental improvisations that clarify the nature free form of their music, especially in live performances where obvious similarities emerge the Grateful Dead of the psychedelic period. 

On the morning of June 25, 1971 the Mighty Baby close with their performance on Glastonbury Fayre Festival, an event remembered as one of the most legendary music underground English, rare chance to overcome the traditional barriers between audience and musicians, with music, dance, theater, poetry and the opportunity to impromptu performances. The London-based group was not even included on the bill but also performed at Glastonbury and, with the unreleased “A Blanket In My Muesli”, it was even included in the album triple published in celebration of the event (does not appear, however, in the film that optimally documenting the festival atmosphere and some very thick performances - among other, notable those of Arthur Brown and Terry Reid). The recorded live at Glastonbury is a long jam instrumental, safe under the rhythmic aspect and with a good performance on lead guitar by Martin Stone. In the heat of the sound is linked to the solutions of the first self-titled album and the Parties more reflective approach dilated atmospheres and calm of the second Lp, A Jug Of Love , which, in a few days, the group will start recording at Sound Techniques from London. 

A Jug Of Love (Blue Horizon, 1971) is the last musical note of the Mighty Baby. The album’s release is accompanied by one of the only 45 laps published by the band, including on side A discrete “Devil’s Whisper”, not present on the album but in line with its sound content, and on the B side a different version the great “Virgin Spring reduced and still perfectible”. The reissue of the album cd (Sunbeam, 2006) recovers the songs of 45s, plus two new songs interesting. 
The second and last thirty rounds of King and fellow veers longer on average compositions, although not necessarily more complex, showing a very relaxed sound, refined and nostalgic traits. Compositions which, although within very defined structures, reflect the sound evolution of the group borrowed in particular from live performances, with a writing method that tends to develop and expand the tracks through the interaction between the musicians and the ’ instrumental improvisation. The initial title track highlights well the characteristics of the entire work, based on a beautiful nostalgic melody, with a laid back and relaxed arrangement that only occasionally steer slightly towards more rock sound. The Martin Stone blues guitar is always in mind, but the Californian mold atmospheres are around the corner, as shown by the choral introduction of “The Happiest Man In The Carnival”. 
“Keep On jugging” seems out of the repertoire of ’ Eric Clapton vintage, thanks to a rolled blues with great technical properties, although a bit wordy. Even “Tasting The Life” and the final, graceful, “Slipstreams” keep calm and thoughtful balance, which is the sound of the entire work brand. The album’s expressive peak, and perhaps of the entire artistic career of Mighty Baby, it is represented dall'etereo Impressionist flight of “Virgin Spring”, whose poignant melodic suspension, sublimated by the remarkable work of Stone to the acoustic guitar and the Whiteman floor, gives light to one of the most significant of all the ballads’ underground English. 

At the end of 1971 the Mighty Baby close its own history of band, unknown to the public but able to score a small but significant segment in the history of rock music…….by Giancarlo Nanni 

The music scene underground English of the late sixties and early seventies is a real asset of enormous interest, historical and cultural importance, a movement (if that, very improperly, can be defined), which greatly contributed to the evolution musical structures of that period rock. Musicians and groups that often proposed placeable music outside the commercial standards of the time, often promoting the research aspects, the sound synthesis of unpublished trials, or that - in the most reductive of hypotheses - placed themselves in opposition to the ’ prevailing and growing invasiveness of the music business on the musical choices expressed by the artists. And if sometimes the choice was forced, because of discs never promoted, unsold, concert never or poorly paid, never mind: passion, honesty, fair attitude of making music without compromises on the edge of the reputation and solid investments financial justified enough the fleeting appearance of these artists in the magma boiling of youth music. 
The Mighty Baby story, excellent active riding group between Sixties and Seventies (although the story of musicians winds through a large period of time), is no exception to the rules codified in the rock at the edge of the showbiz . 

The first nucleus of the group was founded in 1963 as Boyfriends (later shortened to initials Boys). The training includes the singer Reggie King, Alan “Bam” King on guitar, bassist Mike Evans and drummer Roger Powell. At first the boys are essentially the backing band of singer Sandra Barry, to the entrance of guitarist Pete Watson in 1965, a prelude to the change of initials in Action. 
The interest shown in the complex by George Martin (producer, arranger and musician with The Beatles, looking for artists for its new label Air) could open the doors of fame to the London club, but the five singles released between 1965 and 1967 do not get much success while demonstrating the qualities of Reggie King and Co., can produce a marked music to a beat-tinged soul and psychedelic. 
In a few high and low, from the deck of the records you need to extract at least two beautiful versions of classic rhythm and blues: “Land Of A Thousand Dances” (big hit of Wilson Pickett) and the excellent cover of “I’ll Keep On holding On ”. In particular, the second song, originally played by the Marvelettes, is imprinted in the memories of the scene “mod” London era thanks all'accattivante melody grafted on a garage-rock structure. No coincidence that the two songs open and close the CD “The Ultimate Action,” published by Edsel in 1990 as a providential culmination of the material of Action produced by George Martin. 

By the end of 1966 Watson leaves his companions, replaced in the following months by two musicians who will contribute to substantially change the musical expression of the group. At first comes into training preparation instrumentalist Ian Whiteman (keyboards, woodwinds, percussion, vocals, formerly a member of Ben Carruthers and the Deep), then it was the turn of the excellent blues guitarist Martin Stone, a musician who has the interesting shoulders experiences with Stone’s Masonry, author in 1966 of a 45 whose side a (the brilliant blues instrumental “Flapjacks”) can be found in the “Anthology of British Blues vol. 2” (Immediate, 1969) and with the Savoy Brown Blues Band (their first LP “Shake Down” in 1967 on Decca label). 
Entered into the orbit of the former manager of The Yardbirds, Giorgio Gomelsky, during the 1967 Action recorded a series of demos , originally intended for the creation of an album called “Brain” that will never be published. The material has been ordered in recent times, in an attempt to reconstruct the original work, and you can listen to it on CD “Rolled Gold” is placed on the market in 2002 by the label Reaction. 
Definitely the most interesting of the five songs recorded by the group in 1968, probably at Morgan Studios, all of Ian Whiteman signature. Reggie King in the spring has left the formation to dedicate himself to a solo career (publish an excellent self-titled album in 1971 for United Artists, with the participation of several components Mighty Baby) and the vocals are recorded by “Bam” King, but they are especially the most advanced instrumental set-up and setting of the most sought arrangements to make interesting the material passing that, in fact, anticipates the turning point of the progressive band. The first publication of these songs only takes place in 1985, on the EP “Action Speaks Louder Than Words” (Castle); in 1994 they will be included as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the first album of Mighty Baby edited by Big Beat. 

The time is now ripe for a decisive change of approach and style. Already in the course of 1968 “Bam” King, Stone, Whiteman, Evans and Powell for a few days change the name to Action in Azoth, but the turning point came at the beginning of 1969, when the group renames definitely Mighty Baby. 
The complex has undergone opportunity to shine by participating in the Cambridge Free Festival (June 1969) and in August to the second edition of the Isle of Wight Festival. 

The first self-titled album Mighty Baby was released in October 1969 by the London-based record company Head tiny house, the second overall production, under the expert supervision and producer Guy Stevens presented by a beautiful design front cover made by the artist Martin Sharp at the time art director of Oz magazine and already the author of the album covers Cream such as “ Disraeli Gears ” and “Wheels of Fire”. 
There is in the music of Mighty Baby innate predisposition for the song format that cleverly complemented by excellent instrumental contributions and characterized by a pleasant and sometimes exhilarating feeling of freedom of expression, right in the album debut of complete manifestation. The proposal reveals refined and full of originality, at the same time full of tangible interpretive power, as part of compositional structures that prefer harmonic and melodic choices of undoubted charm, complex computations, however, are easy to use. The Stone and King guitars dominate the sound, supported by a precise rhythm section, with horns and keyboards Whiteman and beautiful vocals to offer a definitive all'assetto essential contribution of the compositions. 
“Egyptian Tomb” is a song by the solid rhythmic structure that employs a refined arrangement soul-jazz inside which is housed the rock-blues guitar Martin Stone; the surreal melodic maelstrom of “A Friend You Know But Never See” leads to unpredictable cycles of concentric jam executive vitality charges, and “I’ve Been Down So Long” includes the certain instances Californian brand of country-rock, mixing the raw material with inflections romantic and shaping sounds in a deadly progression free form ; on “Some Way From The Sun” emerge psychedelic flashes of alienating beauty, encased in electrical awareness of song structure driven by Stone guitar; “House Without Windows” presents a clear impact rock guitars and polished in support of yet beautiful melody keyboards; the brilliant rock'n'roll of “Trials Of A City” leads to a tense jam instrumental and precedes “I’m From The Country”, that without giving up a brief interlude of sour guitar choose the carrier path of a folk-tasty country; the enigmatic “At A Point Between Fate And Destiny” closes the album as part of a magical dense atmosphere of ecstatic and mysterious romance. 
Songs ever-changing climate, with great ease, overflowing between fiery guitars and sustained rates in flashes of poignant lyricism. In short, one of the great, neglected masterpieces of music underground progressive English. 

Unfortunately the album sells very little and the label Head already in the space of a year it sinks under the weight of an inevitable financial crisis. The Mighty Baby however, does not give up and, after helping Robin Scott as a backing band for the recording of his album “Woman From The Warm Grass” (Head, 1969), continued their road dotted mainly by numerous performances live in small free festival (the Atomic Sunrise Festival in March 1970 at the Roundhouse in London and still the Cambridge Festival in August 1970) but also by taking part in a great event which the Isle of Wight Festival in ’ August 1970. 
This period of the Mighty Baby music is presented with an album released posthumously in several editions (the one edited by Sunbeam guarantees the double cD support / Lp), Live in the Attic , which collects some live recordings retrieved by the supporting performances the UK tour of Americans Love (March 1970), as well as traces made at Olympic Studios. From these tapes show a strong training in developmental stage, capable of expressing a mature sound, modeled on challenging but well laid out broad instrumental improvisations that clarify the nature free form of their music, especially in live performances where obvious similarities emerge the Grateful Dead of the psychedelic period. 

On the morning of June 25, 1971 the Mighty Baby close with their performance on Glastonbury Fayre Festival, an event remembered as one of the most legendary music underground English, rare chance to overcome the traditional barriers between audience and musicians, with music, dance, theater, poetry and the opportunity to impromptu performances. The London-based group was not even included on the bill but also performed at Glastonbury and, with the unreleased “A Blanket In My Muesli”, it was even included in the album triple published in celebration of the event (does not appear, however, in the film that optimally documenting the festival atmosphere and some very thick performances - among other, notable those of Arthur Brown and Terry Reid). The recorded live at Glastonbury is a long jam instrumental, safe under the rhythmic aspect and with a good performance on lead guitar by Martin Stone. In the heat of the sound is linked to the solutions of the first self-titled album and the Parties more reflective approach dilated atmospheres and calm of the second Lp, A Jug Of Love , which, in a few days, the group will start recording at Sound Techniques from London. 

A Jug Of Love (Blue Horizon, 1971) is the last musical note of the Mighty Baby. The album’s release is accompanied by one of the only 45 laps published by the band, including on side A discrete “Devil’s Whisper”, not present on the album but in line with its sound content, and on the B side a different version the great “Virgin Spring reduced and still perfectible”. The reissue of the album cd (Sunbeam, 2006) recovers the songs of 45s, plus two new songs interesting. 
The second and last thirty rounds of King and fellow veers longer on average compositions, although not necessarily more complex, showing a very relaxed sound, refined and nostalgic traits. Compositions which, although within very defined structures, reflect the sound evolution of the group borrowed in particular from live performances, with a writing method that tends to develop and expand the tracks through the interaction between the musicians and the ’ instrumental improvisation. The initial title track highlights well the characteristics of the entire work, based on a beautiful nostalgic melody, with a laid back and relaxed arrangement that only occasionally steer slightly towards more rock sound. The Martin Stone blues guitar is always in mind, but the Californian mold atmospheres are around the corner, as shown by the choral introduction of “The Happiest Man In The Carnival”. 
“Keep On jugging” seems out of the repertoire of ’ Eric Clapton vintage, thanks to a rolled blues with great technical properties, although a bit wordy. Even “Tasting The Life” and the final, graceful, “Slipstreams” keep calm and thoughtful balance, which is the sound of the entire work brand. The album’s expressive peak, and perhaps of the entire artistic career of Mighty Baby, it is represented dall'etereo Impressionist flight of “Virgin Spring”, whose poignant melodic suspension, sublimated by the remarkable work of Stone to the acoustic guitar and the Whiteman floor, gives light to one of the most significant of all the ballads’ underground English. 

At the end of 1971 the Mighty Baby close its own history of band, unknown to the public but able to score a small but significant segment in the history of rock music…….by Giancarlo Nanni …………………… 

The band’s biography is taken from the Oldies site, which in turn cites Colin Larkin’s Encyclopedia Of Popular Music (under license from Muze) as the primary source of the text, . 
This UK rock band, formed in 1968, was composed by Alan “Bam” King (born 18 September 1946 in Kentish Town, London, England, guitar), Mike Evans (bass) and Roger Powell ), All founding members of Action, one of London’s most vibrant mod groups. 
The later arrival of Martin Stone (born December 11, 1946 in Woking, Surrey, England, guitar, former Savoy Brown) and Ian Whiteman (piano and saxophone) completed Mighty Baby, a name suggested by John Curd, his manager . The band’s first self-titled album, obviously released by Curd’s Head Records, featured a skillful mix of strong melodies and instrumental dexterity, exemplified in the opening track, “Egyptian Tomb.” His improvisational prowess seemed more powerful in the live performances in which Stone’s imaginative solos matched Whiteman’s wind instruments and keyboards, creating a hypnotizing sound. 
The second album, “A Jug Of Love,” issued by Mike Vernon’s Blue Horizon Records in 1971, picked up that adventurous spirit, but the band’s potential was suddenly pruned when Whiteman, Evans and Powell, practitioners of Sufism, left To form Habibiyya, who recorded the album “If Man But Knew” in 1972, before its members became studio musicians, working mainly with Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny. Stone later formed Chilli Willi and The Red Hot Peppers with guitarist partner Phil Lithman, but then dropped out of music to become a used book seller. King, in turn, joined Ace, an esteemed pub rock band……… 

I first read about Mighty Baby while flipping through the AMG guide. Some time later I managed to procure this abandoned album, and the opening strains of “Egyptian Tomb” with off-beat sax honks, an Eastern vibe, and lyrics about people not knowing “what it is to have lived in a different place” indicated that Mighty Baby was no ordinary acid/jam/tripped-out band. With Reg King gone, the band opened their minds further, and pleasant acid-rock vibe, as if the happier Pink Floyd songs fused with the American West Coast and the prevailing country flair. In practice this meant mesmerizing guitar lines from Stone and King, the kinetic rhythm section holding over from their soul days, and the gentle invitation of rootsier sounds. The songs move from section to section with the guitars spinning the route. Sure, the band uses an expansion of the loved blues scales, but everything merges nicely: the discreetly religious lyrics (“A Friend You Know But Never See”), Whiteman’s occasional sax work, the lead guitars and a warm and friendly vibe. This duality means the band is sometimes reverential (“At a Point Between Fate and Destiny”), othertimes down-home rollocking (“Trials of a City”, the Dead-like “I’m From the Country”) but always enveloping. Like most jam bands their minds were focused on the music’s flow, but their eyes were on the sky and their manners gentle. Let the rough hands treat you kindly; grab some Mighty Baby, kick off your shoes, go into the fields and transfix yourself……… 


Biography by Bruce Eder 
The British psychedelic band Mighty Baby grew out of the Action, 
the Liverpool-based R&B outfit signed to Parlophone by George Martin in 1965. 
Long considered one of Martin’s best discoveries this side of the Beatles, 
the Action consisted of Reggie King (vocals), Alan King (guitar), 
Pete Watson (guitar), Mike Evans (bass), and Roger Powell (drums). 
After Watson left in 1967, 
he was succeeded by keyboardist Ian Whiteman and blues guitarist Martin Stone, 
a veteran of the Savoy Brown Blues Band. 
This new lineup evolved beyond the R&B/soul sound that the original Action had played 
and into a top-flight experimental group, 
incorporating the kinds of long jams and folk/blues influences that the West Coast bands 
were starting to export around the world. 

They hooked up with ex-Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky in 1967 and recorded an album’s 
worth of material that went unreleased. Reggie King was gone by early 1968 to record 
a solo album, and the remaining members went through a number of name changes, 
at one point calling themselves Azoth. 
In 1968, they hooked up with the managers who represented Pink Floyd and T. Rex and cut a 
new series of demo recordings featuring Whiteman (who wrote most of the songs) 
and Alan King on lead vocals. These demos were even more ambitious than the 1967 sides, 
extending the structure of the group’s songs with long, 
beautiful guitar progressions and soaring choruses. 
Unlike a lot of R&B outfits that tried the psychedelic route and failed, 
they were suited to the new music by inclination and temperament. 

The president of the band’s new record label, Head Records, 
for reasons best known to himself, chose “Mighty Baby” as the group’s new name. 
The self-titled album that followed was a masterpiece of late psychedelic rock, 
with long, fluid guitar lines and radiant harmonies; still, 
Mighty Baby didn’t sell very well, although the group continued to play live shows to 
enthusiastic audiences. Their record label folded in 1970, and the group eventually 
signed to the Blue Horizon label, where they released a respectable if not 
wholly successful second album, A Jug of Love. It was clear by then, however, 
that their moment had passed, both personally and professionally. 
Mighty Baby broke up in 1971, although several of the members periodically played together 
on various projects — Evans and Whiteman even played back-up to Richard and 
Linda Thompson in the late 1970’s. 

****This hour-long CD is one of the best bodies of British psychedelia ever released. 
It contains the complete Mighty Baby album from Head Records, 
expanded to 13 tracks with the addition of five tracks cut by the Action during its 1967 
transition period. The opening number, “Egyptian Tomb,” 
sets the tone for the entire album — in terms of content, structure, and beat, 
it sounds like the early Allman Brothers, 
or maybe the Grateful Dead in one of their harder-rocking moments, 
jamming with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on an impromptu version of CSN’s 
“Pre-Road Downs.” The beauty of the original Mighty Baby album tracks is that 
they’re psychedelia with a solid beat, none of that noodle-rock that drugged-up Brits 
usually engaged in. “A Friend You Know But Never See” mighthave passed muster on 
the Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers album. Other songs noodle around too much, 
but overall this is some of the most energetic psychedelia to come out of England, 
and anyone who enjoys psychedelic guitar will love Martin Stone’s and Alan King’s work 
on this album. The bonus tracks, all “lost” demos, are even better: 
highly rhythmic, driving rock (check out “Understanding Love”) with lots of spacy guitar 
and tougher-than-normal flower-power introspective lyrics, 
with some gorgeous harmonies dressing it all up — a near perfect meld of garage rock 
and psychedelic sensibilities………………………. 

The psychedelic graft Action. 
Those who have followed the model industry of the early 60’s will quickly retapisser group members The Action, great live band behind the original line-up Mighty Baby, founded in 1968 and is on the ashes of the first named the second masterminded his plan to extend into the rock. 
Little wakeup call, The Action is a native of London North West (Kentish Town) and constituted in 1963 after, initially, support group office for Sandra Barry & The Boyfriends, reduced to Sandra Barry & The Boys. The Boys in question are named Reg King (singer), Mike Evans (bass), Roger Powell (drums) and Alan “Bam” King (guitarist). To the credit of this initial version, a single Really Gonna Shake on the Decca label (March 1964) that one has to Reg King. 
When Sandra Barry opts for a solo career, the quartet continues as The Boys, author of another single written by the same King, but that does not buzz. The Boys then change their name and are projected on the Action in 1965 and then a second guitarist, Pete Watson, completes the line-up. 
The catalog of Motown as directory. 
Driven by a singer with a beautiful soul voice (Reg King), his repertoire is mostly R & B and is to resume the standard catalog of Motown. This quintet draws attention 5th Beatles, the late George Martin, which attracts in the London studios of AIR, Associated Independent Recording, independent studios co-founded in 1965 by the latter with John Burgess on his departure from EMI. 

Under the leadership of Martin, The Action becoming a popular group on the London stage, including at the Marquee where he beats the input records; it also carries a handful of singles (Parlophone) which show the anchorage of this training in the R & B Land of 1000 Dances / In My Lonely Room Martha & The Vandellas, I’ll Keep On Holding On the Marveletes / Hey Sha-Lo-Ney, Baby You’ve Got It / Since I Lost My Baby Temptations, Never Ever / Twenty Fourth Hour, Shadows and Reflections / Something Has Hit me, the Harlem Shuffle / Was not It You. A planned album (Brain) never came out of his time; it is now available in Brain / Rolled Gold (1995). 
Ashdod, then Mighty Baby. 
In 1966, Pete Watson leaves the group, while Ian Whiteman (keyboards) and Martin Stone (guitar) join the; The action takes a while the name of Ashdod, moves on a field and psychedelic folk-rock. Beginning in 1968, Reg King then chose to separate from the group and its namesake Alan took over on vocals while Whiteman is positioned as the main provider in terms of writing. Signed by a minor label in 1969, Head Records, The Action (since reformed) settled permanently under the banner of Mighty Baby. 
Mighty Baby prowess is to have managed to combine the best of American and British psychedelic scenes. One can judge through the first of two albums, the eponymous inventive and rich Mighty Baby (1969), a mix of psych, jazz, beautiful vocal harmonies, borne of the best and most original ways by a mystical and enigmatic Egyptian Tomb (a huge piece on which the British psyche rock chick can legitimately do so), which is the name by which it is also called LP. 
Surely one of the most successful disc of psychedelic 60’s, pills circulating in the mantle proving very influential here. A classic deserving of a place among the top 10 of its kind. 
The English Dead. 
Compared to his time during his Rican, the Grateful Dead, Mighty Baby is far more than a copy-paste of the band to Garcia; it has its own personality, it is hard for a rail line-up technically, collectively and at the songwriting. Fans can judge through the round 70 engaging a result of this first album shining the spotlight on their authors. Mighty Baby Although the disc did not sell well, the group Mighty Baby brand spirits, as is the case of Wight Festival in 1970, he beautifully concludes the first day. We can judge the energy, cohesion and the quintessence of Mighty Baby by referring to the excellent Tasting The Life: Live 1971 recorded at Malvern Winter Gardens in 1970, and published by Sunbeam Records in 2010. 

“I knew Mighty Baby when he was still The Action and the group was then covers of Motown. I went to the Marquee where he performed regularly. Action When The Mighty Baby has evolved, it has become more psychedelic and I saw them grow on the London circuit. I did sessions of work with them and worked on some albums like Sandy Denny. I was interested in them, I was a bit in the same trip and our sufi period with Linda, we converged on the same musical and spiritual space that Habibi Ya, born when Mighty Baby broke up after Martin Stone and Alan King have taken divergent directions. ”(Richard Thompson) 
The discography successor Mighty Baby, A Jug Of Love (Blue Horizon / 1971), translated tipping his actors in Sufism. Linda and Richard Thompson hover over this choice. This spiritual orientation but keeps the group’s history influenced by acid and leads to more reflection. 
Spirituality to finish. 
A Jug Of Love, more refined, more peaceful, more ethereal, more intense in the game, more collective, marks the artistic outcome for those then most American of English. folk-rock album, country-rock veined psychedelic, it is full of beautiful and soothing ballads lines fluid and crystalline guitars, bright harmonies. Although different, this disc is needed as much as the one it replaces. 
A year later (1972), Mighty Baby splits. Martin Stone agrees with Chilli Willi & The Red Hot Peppers and Alan King founded Ace, while others insist on their spirituality by registering under the name of The Ya Habibi a Sufi LP and turning with Richard Thompson, converted to Muslim religion. The line-up behind The Action meet for a concert in 1998 in Ryde Town Hall and delivers his last live performance in Modstock Modesto (California) in 2004. Since then, the group feels to reactivate this beautiful British training ; You never know … RAZOR……. 

Among fat balding record collectors and soon to be fat balding record collectors (I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle) the words 'Mighty Baby’ are spoken in hushed tones…And rightfully frickin’ so. The two lp’s the band made (s/t lp on Head in '69, A Jug Of Love on Blue Horizon in '71) are among the best to come out of the Peter North-like splooge of fine vinyl from the UK Underground rock scene in the late 60’s/early 70’s. 
The roots of Mighty Baby lie in The Action, a major mod band from London who formed in 1963 and gained a healthy following due to their powerhouse live shows and a clutch of five fine finger poppin’ singles released between the years 1965 and 1967 on the Parlaphone label. But as the mid 60’s turned into the late 60’s, purple hearts and parkas were being turned in for kaftans and acid tabs all around London. Musical barriers were being kicked down and conciousness was being broadened. The Action were there front and center in the blossoming of a new youth culture. 
'The change came about very naturally’ says Michael Evans, bass player for Mighty Baby/Action, 'from both a personal and a musical perspective’. The intial change came when The Action acquired guitarist Martin Stone and pianist Ian Whiteman into their fold. Stone was fresh from a stint of trying to psychedelicize Savoy Brown and Whiteman was not only a fine ivory tickler, but he was a shit-hot woodwind player. With two highly proficent and willing new members, The Action saw their opportunity to loosen up on their R&B roots, stretch out and (here’s that word y'all love so much) experiment. 
All the members of The Action had a love for Jazz since their schooldays. Mingus and Miles were all highly admired by the band, but the man they really adored was the king of freedom himself, John Coltrane. 'WeThe Action would take our Coltrane albums out on the road and listen to them’ says Evans. 'We were really able to develop our playing when Ian Whiteman joined us and that’s when we started playing our rock fueled version of “India”.’ Yes, you read it right. With a belly full of enthusiasm and a head full of blotter, The Action decided to tackle the beloved Coltrane piece 'India’, confusing their remaining mod audience and pleasing the dope soaked hippies to bits. 
The final hook in the mouth to morph The Action into Mighty Baby came when the band scored a slot supporting The Byrds. 'We supported The Byrds just when they were on the verge of going country’ sez Martin Stone. 'I was hooked..I wanted to be a country and western musician, fuck pop music! So (that’s when) we changed our name to Mighty Baby.’ This encounter not only inspired the name change but it took their take on 'India’ into another strange route. Years before The Allmans would merge the stormy beauty of Coltrane with a down home groove, Mighty Baby were down in the murk of it all. 
Before now, the only (somewhat) publicly available recording of The Babe’s version of 'India’ was on the highly rare 'Glastonbury Fayre’ triple lp set and that was only a portion of the performance. Those of us who weren’t even an itch in their daddy’s pants in 1969 could only dream and wonder what those THC-fueled marathon takes on 'India’ were like. Well, it looks like some patchouli-stinkin’ deity has parted the skies and bestowed upon us the release of Live in the Attic, a CDR released by Michael Evans and MB drummer Roger Powell on the 'Rolled Gold’ imprint. This thing features two (count 'em, two!) unearthed live versions of 'India’. 
The first version is taken from a set the band played supporting Love and starts off innocently enough with some subtle flute/percussion interplay between Whiteman and Powell. Soon Stone elbows his way into the proceedings and drives Powell to pound a maniacal beat on the toms while rhythm guitarist Alan King harnesses waves of feedback to potent results. Soon enough, Whiteman finds his way back to the piano and we have liftoff. Everyone levitates a huge swelling ball of sound with fervent energy. Notes fly like shrapnel and lysergic madness prevails until Powell hits a groovin’ shuffle and we’re taken into the backwoods for a mountain jam of sorts. It sounds like Ian and Alan are singing about somewhere in Missouri. Although the boys are singing about a place they’ve never been physically, they certainly know it by feel, with Stone peeling off a shoulder-rolling lick that could of fallen from the fingers of any of your fave US players. 
The second version goes on forty minutes and seems to have looser limbs than the first 'un. Not only that, but it seems to have a strangely clean recording for something that was sitting around for thirty plus years. I almost wanna accuse the boys of 'cheating’ and going into the studio and adding stuff onto it, but I know they wouldn’t do that…would they? This time the jam starts out modal. Powell sounds like he’s playing hand drums…King holds down the mode perfectly…and Stone allows space (not like 'deep space,’ I mean actual space) to be the guide on his choice of tones while Whiteman allows the music to bubble up to the surface for air with his ascending piano licks. Soon enough, everyone is warmed up and ready to go, but it seems when we get to the 'meat’ of the matter, the jam goes up and down like a roller coaster full of circus animals. The midway points come off pensive. The 'high’ points are chaotic and relentless and fly off the handle way more than the former jam. Towards the end, the 'midway’ points are moments created to regain composure so’s to dive right back into the eye of the storm. If I was in the crowd for this one and on a large amount of drugs, I think I would been taken outta The Roundhouse or wherever in a straight jacket. Cripes! 
As a historical document based on the music alone, this thing obviously can’t lose…BUT…taken as a whole product, I have to say I’m pretty disappointed. A meager CD-R with a printed-out cover doesn’t cut it for a nerd boy like me. To think this thing could of been accompanied with liner notes by Nigel Cross or photos from Colin Hills’ archives…Christ! it’s enough to make a fanboy cry! It would’ve been the reissue of the year if I had it my way…but I didn’t so I’ll just shut my trap. 
According to Evans, more live recordings of 'India’ are being dug up and considered for release. There might also be a proper CD re-issue of the second Mighty Baby LP A Jug Of Love which was bootlegged on CD a few years back and has gone for a king’s ransom for some time on the collectors’ market. For now, I suggest you just pass the pipe, create your own packaging for this sucker, and let it’s beauty float around your crash pad, sir…..by Tony Rettman….. 

Albums: 
Mighty Baby (Head HDLS 6002) 1969 
(reissued as Egyptian Tomb (Psycho 31) 1984; and on CD (Big Beat CDWIKD 120) 1994 along with some demos recorded in 1968 when they were still The Action) 
A Jug Of Love (Blue Horizon 2931 001) 1971 
(reissued on CD (Flash 58), with one additional track, A Blanket In My Muesli from Glastonbury '71) 

45: 
Devil’s Whisper/Virgin Spring (Blue Horizon 2096 003) 1971 


Line-up / Musicians 

- Alan King / guitars, vocals 
- Ian Whiteman / piano 
- Martin Stone / guitars 
- Mike Evans / bass 
- Roger Powell / drums 

Songs / Tracks Listing 

1. Egyptian Tomb (5:28) 
2. A Friend You Know But Never See (4:24) 
3. I’ve Been Down So Long (5:05) 
4. Same Way From the Sun (5:37) 
5. House Without Windows (6:10) 
6. Trials of a City (5:58) 
7. I’m From the Country (4:49) 
8. At a Point Between Fate and Destiny (4:44)

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