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10 Dec 2016

Whalefeathers “Whalefeathers” 1970 US Psych Blues Rock




Whalefeathers “Whalefeathers” 1970 US Psych Blues Rock
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From Cincinnati, Ohio, this outfit used to gig frequently with Westfauster and played a heavy, keyboard-dominated blend of music. Their albums have distinct psychedelic influences and, although both have their moments, are sometimes a bit messy. Both albums are sought-after by collectors. 

Lenny LeBlanc went on to become a successful Christian music artist, whilst Mike Wheeler who played with the band in their last two years, went on to work with Grammy-winning Nashville songwriter Mike Reid. Wheeler also led an act called Wheels, who recorded on Boardwalk, with an album produced by Craig Fuller, and who toured with Little Feat in ‘78. He’s also worked more recently with Paul Barrere. ….. 

Thankfully proving that despite having a fairly rubbish band name that includes the word `Whale’ in it still provides great prog-related music (also looking at you, Satin Whale!), late Sixties group Whalefeathers from Cincinnati, Ohio released two albums in their fairly short time together, the debut `Declare’ in 1970 and this self-titled follow-up a year later. With a sound somewhat similar to groups such as Cream, Vanilla Fudge and Nosferatu and favouring blues-based soloing, confident soulful vocals and plenty of Hammond organ soloing, if anything the band sounded more embryonic and Sixties flavoured than anything else, with the `proggy’ elements coming from the improvised jamming passages they liked to stretch out with, not unlike what many of the numerous other `proto-prog’ groups were delivering at that time. 
Opener `World of Pain’ is a powerful rocker with searing electric guitar runs and trickles of Hammond organ seeping in before culminating in two bluesy finales. `I Don’t Need No Doctor’ is a sprightly and gutsy R n'B-flecked rocker with winning group harmonies and vibrant up-tempo bursts, and `It’s a Hard Road (Back Home)’ is a stirring slow-burn blues come-down with plentiful piano, electric guitar and organ solos. `Bastich’ that opens the flip-side shows the most exciting potential displayed by the band, the first minutes a reaching build of dreamy group harmonies before a tough slow-rocking second half. `Pretty Woman’ is all grooving bluesy rocking swagger, and the ten minute closer `Shadows’ provides the closest the album comes to prog thrills by delivering lengthy extended jamming soloing from all the musicians. With endless runaway Hammond organ, smouldering guitar runs, purring thick bass constantly punching through and thrashing drum attacks, it presents the band that their most wild and unhinged and is the standout moment of the whole LP - very tasty stuff! 

Whalefeathers disbanded two years after this album in 1973, but during their time they got to perform concerts alongside higher-profile acts such as the Allman Brothers, Edgar Winter, Grand Funk Railroad, Badfinger and others. They left behind two very admired albums that are still enjoyed today, with a steady demand for reissues over the years giving the band and their works a small but sure status of an obscure rock band of note. Fans of hard-driving Hammond rockers with killer guitar playing, light psychedelic flavours, a large dose of the blues and early proto-prog sounds will likely find plenty to interest them here, and it’s an energetic, cool and addictive album from a talented lost group well worth exploring. 

Three stars as a prog album, four stars as a red-hot rock album….by Aussie-Byrd-Brother ….. 

From Cincinnati, Ohio, this outfit used to gig frequently with Westfauster and played a heavy, very keyboard-dominated blend of music, accompanied by heavy lead guitar injections. Their self composed material is adventurous and creative … both of their albums have distinct psychedelic influences…“Declare” is the most progressive LP, with long jamming tracks, spacious instrumental parts swamped in keyboards and distorted guitar overload. It also includes a cover version of a Saint Steven track! On the same label (NASCO) as The Electric Toilet. 

The mighty WHALEFEATHERS featured continuous strong bluesy overtones with a mind melting unhurried methodical pace that enveloped many of the bands tunes, tunes filled with blues-predisposed melodies. As a result of the bands pace, many of the song structures have a ‘bassy plod over a slow emotional solo’ which seems derivative of many of the olden days blues-based projects. The quintet’s 1970 debut, Declare, however, is heavier rock and less blues drenched in a progressive sound with psych edges all throughout. Yes, melodious progressive rock around ethereal atmospheres and loded with a lot of organ, strong vocals & intense acid guitar freak outs… included is a good slowed take on Moby Grape`s great “Omaha”…… 

Line-up / Musicians 

Michael Jones — guitar, vocals 
Ed Blackmon — organ, piano, vocals 
Leonard LeBlanc — bass, vocals 
Stephen Bacon — drums, percussion 

Tracklist 
World Of Pain 8:25 
I Don’t Need No Doctor 3:31 
It’s A Hard Road (Back Home) 5:04 
Bastich 6:20 
Pretty Woman 3:26 
Shadows 10:28 

Grupo Amigos “Paloma Mensajera” 1973 Peru Psych Rock reissued by Guerssen Records Spain











Grupo Amigos “Paloma Mensajera” 1973 mega rare Peru Psych Rock reissued by Guerssen Records Spain 
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Originally released as a demo pressing in 1973, Paloma Mensajera by Peruvian band Grupo Amigos is without doubt one of the rarest albums from the South American psych scene. Only a handful of copies were pressed for the band members and needless to say, an original copy is impossible to find now. The band was formed by some long-time friends of Saúl and Manuel Cornejo, both from legendary Peruvian bands Laghonia and We All Together. Manuel Cornejo played drums on the album recordings and Saúl was the session engineer. Influenced by groups like The Beatles, The Byrds, The Stones, Badfinger, Shakers and of course Laghonia and We All Together, the music ranges from terrific guitar psych-rock like “Dirty Girl” (which sounds like an outtake from Laghonia’s first album) to British sounding pop-psych (“Mr. Taylor’s Train,” “Psychiatrist”) harmony pop á la Byrds on “Looking for Home,” a few rockin’ tunes and some beautiful mid-tempos which show their We All Together influence. They alternate between English and Spanish in their lyrics. On this Guerssen reissue, you’ll find the complete recordings of Grupo Amigos, including their only album and a killer non-LP 45 recorded the same year. Features a booklet with liner notes and rare pictures, and Guerssen’s usual carton slimcase. Taken from the original master tapes…~ ~ 

Originally editedas demo in 1973,“Paloma Mensajera” of Peruvian Grupo Amigos is undoubtedly one of the rarest albums of the South American psychedelic scene. Only a few copies were pressed and needless to say it is virtually impossible to find a copy now. 
The group was formed by old friends of Saul and Manuel Cornejo, both of the legendary Peruvian bands Laghonia and We All Together. Manuel played drums on the album, and Saul was the sound engineer. 
Influenced by bands like Beatles, Byrds, Stones, Badfinger, Shakers and of course , Laghonia and We All Together, the music ranges from brutal psych-rock like “Dirty Girl” (which could be included perfectly on the first album Laghonia and strain insurance), to pop-psych British school (Mr. Taylor’s Train “or” Psychiatrist “), harmony pop to the Byrds in” Looking for home “and some precious midtempos that show the influence of we All Together. All this alternating English and Castilian in the letters. 
in this first vinyl reissue can find the complete recordings of Grupo Amigos, with the whole album and two songs from their single of the same year overwhelming. Accompany an insert with notes and rare photos. Sound remastered from the original tapes and 500 copies only!…..~ 

Tracklist 
A1 Dirty Girl
A2 Dama
A3 El Tren Del Senor Taylor
A4 Son Las 5
A5 Ensueno
A6 Everybody Is Free
B1 Psiquiatra
B2 Mujer
B3 Buscando Un Hogar
B4 En El Campo
B5 No Sabes Que Me Siento Bien
B6 Atardecer De Verano 

Crack "Si Todo Hiciera Crack" 1979 Spain Symphonic Prog






Crack  "Si Todo Hiciera Crack" 1979 Spain Symphonic Prog
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Crack was a Spanish progressive rock symphonic group from Gijón; Composed by Álex Cabral (bass), Alberto Fontaneda (guitar, flute and voice), Mento Hevia (keyboards and vocals), Manolo Jiménez (drums) and Rafael Rodríguez. (guitarist). His only work was published in 1978. It was an LP entitled “Si todo Hiciera Crack”, considered one of the best albums in the history of Spanish symphonic rock. His influences range from Jethro Tull, especially noteworthy in the inclusion of the flute, and Genesis, on keyboards; To groups of Italian symphonic rock like Locanda Della Fate or the Premiata Fornería Marconi, influences detected in the vocal treatment. The lyrics are in Spanish. His music is based on mellotron and piano sounds, as well as the flute and guitars, both acoustic and electric….. 


This Spanish band came from Gijon, the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The members were Alex Cakrul (bass), Alberto Fontaneda (guitar, flute and vocals), Mento Heria (keybaords and vocals), Manda Jimenez (drums) and Rafael Rodriguez (guitar). 

Their only album “Si Todo Hiciera Crack” from CRACK is one of the jewels of the Spanish progressive rock. It contains seven tracks, all with a beautiful harmony between keyboards, guitar and flute. There are hints of early GENESIS (sensitive piano chords and moving Mellotron waves) and JETHRO TULL (flute) but the typical Spanish climate and the elaborate compositions makes this album to an enthralling and emotional experience. 

Crack was the name of this band from the north of Spain, Gijón to be more precise. And this was sadly one of those bands that only released one album and then disappeared; I said sadly because when you hear this kind of brilliant music, you wonder why they did not continue composing and sharing their talent with us. 

Their only album was entitled “Si Todo Hiciera Crack”, released in 1979 and composed of 7 songs that together reach 40 minutes. The first one is “Descenso en el Mahëllstrong”. An instrumental and exciting opener that will let you appreciate the talent they had. The piano plays a main role here, having first a delicate sound but later turning faster and in some way powerful. There is also a magnificent flute sound all over the song. The symphonic and Spanish passage is obvious here, so with this song you can expect what’s next. 

“Amantes de la Irrealidad” is the first track that features vocals, of course in Spanish. There is a predominant male voice but you will also appreciate some female ones. The music is softer with nice piano and acoustic guitar. Later it changes and sounds like if you were inside a fairy tale, walking through a happy land, I believe that feeling was made on purpose because if you translate the title it would say “Fantasy Lovers”, so I believe it has something to do. The music in general is beautiful, with excellent keyboard passages and nice guitar solos. 

“Cobarde o Desertor” begins with vocals since the very first minute, those vocals have that distinctive Spanish sound. The music is nice, good bass notes and odd sporadic keyboard moments, this is not a bad, but by far not the best song on this album. “Buenos Deseos” is another short song, folk with symphonic, great keyboards and drums and there is also a choir, I believe made as well by keyboards. The sound is gentle and comfortable, the vocals are good and the bass lines sound strong but also gentle. 

“Marchando una del Cid” starts precisely with a sound of people marching, military drums you know. Then it changes with the introduction of that special flute sound. All the instruments make an excellent job: bass, drums, piano and guitars, of course accompanied by those flute and keyboard masters. A couple of minutes later vocals appear and a classical piano appear. The music has its ups and downs, changes everytime on both music and atmosphere. The vocals are showing a lot of passion, while the music sounds fast and sometimes even nervous. The symphonic sound prevails here. There is a kind of interlude where the piano disappears for a second but later it returns faster and powerful. Later some brilliant keyboard solo appears while the rhythm of the whole song keeps the same form. This is an extraordinary composition. 

“Si Todo Hiciera Crack” is the longest track. Melodic, melancholic in moments and adventurous in others. With a soft and charming sound produced by the vocals (male and female) and by the instruments. This time I feel again like a character of a fairy tale, the music has fantasy inherent so you can travel to new lands and worlds. The keyboards are the best thing here, sometimes with exceptional solos and sometimes just as “filler” which are not really. The previous song and this one are the strongest points of this brilliant album. 

“Epílogo” represents what the name suggest, just the final part of this story. It is short and instrumental passage full of flute and exquisite drumming. A Beautiful way to finish this great album. 

This is an album I like so much, forty minutes of great music made by this one shot Spanish band. Though it is not especially a masterpiece, it could be considered as a fabulous addition to any prog lover, and a must have for the symphonic prog ones……. 

Crack was a band formed in northern Spain, Gijón to be precise. And unfortunately one of those bands that only released an album and then disappeared; the proggers mourn with sadness because his kind of music was brilliant! 

His only album was titled “Si All Hiciera crack,” released in 1979 and consists of seven songs, which together reach 40 minutes. 

The first track is “Descent into the Mahëllstrong”. An exciting and exciting instrumental that shows all the talent they had. The piano plays a major role here, after a sound delicate, then it becomes more agitated, powerfully. There is also a magnificent sound of the flute in all the song. The Spanish symphonic presence is obvious here, and there’s more to come … 

“Lovers of unreality” is the first track that presents the vocals, of course, in Spanish. There is a predominant male voice, but the female vocals are chilling, strongly influenced by Mrs. Annie Haslam Band RENAISSANCE . The music is softer with good piano and guitar. Later, it changes and sounds as if you were inside a fairy tale, walking through a happy land. Probably this atmosphere created in the music was intended to live up to the title “lovers of fantasy”, has much to do. The song is muto is beautiful, with excellent keyboard passages and good guitar solos. 

“Cobarde the Deserter” begins with the vocals from the first minute, those voices have that sound Spanish badge. The music is nice, good bass notes and strange sporadic moments of keyboard. 

“Buenos Deseos” is another short, well folk song with great symphonic interventions, keyboards and drums, and there is also a choral. The sound is soft and comfortable, the vocals are good and the bass lines sound strong but at the same time soft. 

“Marching un del del Cid” begins precisely with a sound of people marching, military military drumming. It then changes with the introduction of a special flute sound. All tools do an excellent job: bass, drums, piano and guitar, of course accompanied 

By this flute and keyboard as “master.” Minutes later vocals appear a classic piano. The vocals are showing a lot of passion, while the song sounds fast and sometimes even “nervous.” Symphonic sound prevails here. There is a kind of interlude where the piano disappears for a second, but then it returns faster and more powerful. Later, some shiny keyboard soloes appear while the rhythm of all music retains the same shape. This is an extraordinary composition. 

“Todo Todo Hiciera crack” is the longest track. Melodic, melancholic, in moments and “adventurous” and daring in others. With a soft and lovely sound produced by the vocals (male and female) and instruments. It feels like a fairy tale character again, music has an inherent fantasy to travel to new lands and worlds. The keyboards are sensational and brilliant in this song, sometimes with exceptional solos and sometimes just as “fill in”. The previous song and this are the strengths of this brilliant album. 

“Epilogue” represents what the name suggests, just the final part of this story. It is a short and instrumental passage full of exquisite flute and percussion. A beautiful way to finish this great album. 

There are forty minutes of good music made by this Spanish band. A fabulous addition to any prog lover, especially for symphony prog lovers. 

Musicians 

- Alex Cabral / bass 
- Alberto Fontaneda / guitar, flute, vocals 
- Mento Hevia / keyboards, vocals 
- Manolo Jiménez / drums 
- Rafael Rodríguez / guitar 

Tracklist 
1 Descenso En El Mahëllstrong 5:28 
2 Amantes De La Irrealidad 6:16 
3 Cobarde O Desertor 4:57 
4 Buenos Deseos 3:55 
5 Marchando Una Del Cid (Part 1, 2) 7:47 
6 Si Todo Hiciera Crack 10:13 
7 Epilogo 2:19 

Enbor “Enbor” 1979 Basque Prog Folk








Enbor  “Enbor” 1979 Basque Prog Folk
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ENBOR were a short-lived Electric Folk Rock group,who produced two albums in late-70’s/early- 80’s.They came from the region of the Basque country in Spain and their line-up included no less than 7 members,most of them contributing on vocals as well.Their first eponymous album was released in 1979 on Elkar Label. 
Lying somewhere between pleasant Electric Folk and slightly CAMEL-esque mellow prog rock,“Enbor” is a nice album in terms of balance and composition,totally sung in the Basque dialect.Clocking at 33 minutes,this album offers the listener three musically positive elements.Firstly it’s the smooth yet carefully performed guitar work of Inaki Gutierrez, Joxe Portela and Ramon Gardeazabal with a sensitive edge and delicate melodies,both electric and acoustic.Especially the slow-tempo rhythms come close to the style of ANDY LATIMER.Secondly,there are some really pleasant male and female vocal harmonies in here.The warm voices of the singers are all over the album and making the album even deeper in its sensitive section.Last, but not least,the wind instruments and their smooth interplays with the rhythm section are really awesome.The dreamy flutes and the clarinet passages of Inaki Urettxaga will reward every fan of decent folk rock purchases. 

Thougt not that well known like other Basque folk bands (ITOIZ, HAIZEA etc.) or having even a complicated sound, ENBOR certainly deserve a place in the book of progressive rock for their careful blending of rock,wind instrumentation and multi-vocal arrangements .Folk Rock fans around the world,this was made for you!3,5 stars is my accurate rating… by apps79…. 
Basque folk from the mid-70s he was the most representative example of the evolution of the trunk. Like other contemporary groups ( Wind , Izukaitz ), England, he was influenced by folk and progressive rock, which he combined with touches of popular music and jazz. He made a short career, but published two discs, Bole ( XOXO , 1979) and link in (XOXO, 1980), are a precious piece of time between the collectors. 


Part Amaia Careaga (vocals), Joxe Portela (vocals and acoustic guitar), Ramon Gardeazabal (guitar), Iñaki Arnal (bass), Manu Urretxagak (saxophone, flute, clarinet, flute), Javi Robadorrek (drums) and Iñaki Gutiérrez (voice and guitar) was founded in 1978 in Bilbao. Experienced in various rock groups Portela and around Bilbao were Gardeazabal. Foreign teams were early versions, in English, but they were united by Amaia Co. began singing in English. On the other hand, Urretxaga and Gutierrez Gernika group were in the past. The latter group was disbanded, they were all united in the trunk. 

They were joined by the two different ways of understanding music stem. On the one hand, and Amaia Co. were coming from Gernika, folk and choral music related, and other Gardeazabal, Portela, Arnal and Robador, rock the world, and especially the progressive and symphonic rock, the held. However, at the end of the 70s folk and progressive rock had begun to tie the threads together to build, and the Basque Country were, each with its own nuances, moving between the two areas were the team: Itoiz , Wind, Itziar, Izukaitz … 

Tree trunks in the spring of 1979 he gave the first concert in Basauri, and immediately came to record an album with the label XOXO. Robert SUHAS Nive ’s keyboard player in Saint Jean de Luz studio (Bacchanales) were introduced in September bole (XOXO, 1979) record, and they spent a month there. Ziburuko evening-night stay at a hotel, and they were going to record the album Jean Phocas technician. The album finally was released in December xoxo. He combined effects of progressive rock and folk groups in which three voices singing in harmony, giving great importance to him. Music Most Portela and Gardeazabal were written, and the words, however, Koldo Izagirre ( “ love you ” , “ you do not know ” ), Mikel Arregui ( “ My wave bleeding ” , “ well not have anybody ” ) and Gabriel Aresti ( “ Storms ” ) were written, among others. 

He gave a few concerts in the winter of 1980 the team, but the team also suffered changes. Careaga Amaia and Javi had left the band Robadorrek, Iñaki Gutierrez direct tenikari work was passed, and instead Josean Torrontegi (drums; Gernika ) just did not go in. As a result, the development of musical trunks, and with just one song (Portela) disappeared from their first songs were so common vocal harmonies. This is a little bit away from the folk and symphonic rock group the way he put it. 

That year’s second album, link in (XOXO, 1980), he recorded the team Galdakao XOXO studio, again with the help of Jean Phocas. Part of it was adapted to the formation of the quintet, the album had many collaborators: Carlos Gimenez (piano), Pako Diaz (drums), Aitor Amezaga (keyboards) and Amaia Kareaga itself (voice). Portela stated, XOXO study was good, but the way in a hurry and “not very comfortable” album had to be recorded. When the recording studio had to be dismantled, run in support of the initiative to record a live album at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre. Trunks “ contamination ” song took part in the disk, and aside Xixupika, Akelarre , Txomin Artola , cramps , erect and Niko Etxart also were explained. 

Link in its progressive rock trend is even more evident in the show, proof of which was the whole difference in the long pieces of the same name. Unlike the previous album, singing the words of one writer wrote, Luis Rodriguez. 

The disc was in the street, gave the team a few concerts, but because of some external actors (military service, work, studies), had stopped functioning trunks. About a year, the group was revived Gardeazabal Portela and other musicians (Joseba Gotxi, Fabian Akarregi, Javi Urrejola and Manolo Gallardo), and in addition to record a demo, also gave a few concerts. But it needs to work with the team again was taken away. They can not work and the team combined, and unlike other groups of the time, they would have preferred not to enter the field of pilgrimages…~…~ 
Line-up / Musicians
- Amaia Kareaga / vocals
- Joxe Portela / vocals and acoustic guitar
- Ramón Gardeazabal / guitar
- Iñaki Arnual / bass
- Iñaki Urretxaga / winds
- Javi Robador / drums
- Iñaki Gutierrez / voice and guitars
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Ekaitzak (6:38) 
2. Enu Olatu Odoldvak (3:17) 
3. Zu Maitatzea (2:50) 
4. Chorinoac Kaiolan (4:34) 
5. Ondoan ez dut inor (6:12) 
6. Zuek ez dazizue (5:35) 
7. Agurra (4:21

Brute Force “Brute Force “ 1970 US Soul,Jazz Funk








Brute Force “Brute Force “ 1970 US Soul,Jazz Funk
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Exact repro vinyl reissue. A funky rarity from 1970 which has Afro overtones and an almost Terry Callier-like folk vibe to it. This radical soul jazz classic features the blistering guitar-playing of Sonny Sharrock. Brute Force’s s/t LP was was their sole album, originally released on Herbie Mann’s Embryo label in 1970…~ ~ 

Brute Force was a soul-jazz band (slanted toward the soul end) that released a single self-titled album in 1970, produced by Herbie Mann. The band had a solid soul sound, which could head into slightly more out territory, as well. The band and Mann had a stroke of genius when they decided to recruit the band’s childhood friend and Mann bandmate Sonny Sharrock (who had also played with Pharoah Sanders at that point) to add some extra spice to the sessions. The results are so righteous and groovy, you’ll wonder where this album has been for the last 30 years. Imagine the Black Panthers recording Memphis Underground and you’re somewhere in the ballpark. Strong vocals on about half the tunes, great horn playing, dirty electric piano, killer two-bass grooves, and Sharrock’s ultra-aggressive soul playing make this album a solid winner. Sharrock fans will flip at this forgotten session, and DJs and crate-diggers everywhere would be well-served by picking this up. Right on, Brother!~ ~ by Sean Westergaard~~ allmusic~ ~ ~ 

Originally released in 1970, the debut album of sextet Brute Force was largely regarded as a tangent in the discography of famed guitarist Sonny Sharrock. Fair or not, after 30 years and a reissue on Sepia Tone, Sharrock’s guest role is sure to be the beacon that brings attention to this album again. This is a shame, partially because Sharrock’s work on the album is hardly revelatory by his standards, and secondly, because the six men who make up the band’s core lineup deserve a larger portion of the attention. 

Brute Force’s music is surely a product of its times. The breadth of their sound – which included a tenor sax, flute, electric piano, a pair of trumpets, two basses, drums, and conga drums – makes for some interesting arrangements, especially when Sharrock is added to the mix and allowed to play more than a punctuational role. “Monster” and “Right Direction,” two tracks upon which Sharrock wasn’t originally credited, contain some of his signature slide sound, running free along with the other instruments. The group’s ensemble hybrid of soul, jazz, and rock was nothing spectacularly new in 1970, but there are some “far out” moments, and their philosophical outlook, no matter how positive, is decidedly against the intellectual and political status quo. 

The best tracks on Brute Force, however, are the least didactic. “Ye-Le-Wa,” penned by purported leader Stanley Strickland, is a full-on jazz suite, moving from contemplative, mellow sounds to a funk-infused swing, to lengthy solos, with vocals that, aside from the title of the song, contain little recognizable lyrical content. “Doubt,” which concludes the disc, is the most beautiful selection on the album, led by Strickland’s flute over the vibrato of Richard Daniel’s electric piano and well-placed percussion from Sidney Smart. Though the rest of Brute Force has high-minded ideals and directions for positive living, like “Do it Right Now” and “Right Direction,” it’s only during “Doubt,” and parts of “Ye-Le-Wa” that the sextet really reach the proverbial next level. 

By Adam Strohm~ ~ 

Say what you will about Herbie Mann’s admittedly spotty discography, but the same nose for talent that served him well in selecting the accompanists for his best albums - such as Impressions of the Middle East, Memphis Underground, and Push Push - also effectively lent itself to helping him sign intriguing artists to his label and Atlantic subsidiary, Embryo Records. Although his detractors will argue that the flautist was always quick to exploit the latest musical trend for his own benefit, these same people also have to admit that his sense for what was going to be the next big thing was usually right-on. Not to mention the fact that Mann often exhibited better taste in deciding what was released on Embryo than he did in regard to choosing material for his own albums. 

One of the finest titles in the imprint’s catalogue, the eponymous lone LP from 1970 by Brute Force contains elements of funk, soul, avante-garde jazz, and even traces of African music and will appeal to those who enjoy early P-Funk, Sly and the Family Stone, the Ohio Players, and contemporaneous material by Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. Unfortunately, very little is known about the band members, who included electric pianist, primary composer, and probable vocalist Richard Daniel, saxophonist-flautist Stanley Strickland, trumpeters Teddy Daniel, Jr. (Richard’s brother?) and Arthur Ray Brooks, bassists (two bassists?) Russel I. Ingles and Thomas Lee Williams, drummer Sidney Smart, and conga player Robert A. Jones. The liner notes reveal that the group came into existence in 1968 while its personnel were students at Central State University (formerly College), a historically black institution of higher learning close to Dayton, Ohio. According to one source, the band members had been childhood friends of free jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock, which explains his unmistakable presence on the proceedings. Indeed, his contributions help make what would have been a very good album a great one as his trademark feedback-laden guitar eruptions often emerge when the listener least expects them. Although Sharrock is credited on only three tracks, my ears tell me that he plays on all but one of them. That misinformation on the album sleeve could have been a typo or - perhaps for contractual reasons - intentional. At any rate, most of Sharrock’s other recordings are just a little too free for my tastes, so it’s nice to hear him play within the confines of an instrumentally advanced funk band, a setting in which I can better appreciate his formidable talents. 

All of the album’s cuts display the musicians’ virtuosity and reveal them to be one tight unit. Assuming that Richard Daniel is indeed the vocalist, he has a pleasant, silky-smooth voice that counterbalances Sharrock’s frenetic guitar salvos. The songs “Do It Right Now,” “Some Kind of Approval,” and “Right Direction” all have hooks aplenty and any of them could have been hits on the R&B charts with better luck and/or promotion. The instrumentals “Monster” (appropriately named) and “The Deacon” convincingly display the band’s chops as does the quasi-tribal chant piece “Ye-Le-Wa,” an ambitious jazz exploration that justifies its epic length. Another instrumental closes the LP, the mellow and atmospheric “Doubt,” which another reviewer describes as “the perfect come-down piece.” I couldn’t have said it much better myself, so I’ll just add that I think it sounds like something that would have not sounded out of place on either of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi or Crossings LPs.~ ~ ~ 

Tracklist 
A1 Do It Right Now
A2 Some Kind Of Approval
A3 The Deacon
A4 Right Direction
A5 Monster
B1 Ye-Le-Wa
B2 Doubt 

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