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27 Jan 2017

Soul Caravan “Get In High” 1967 German Soul Jazz Funk

Soul Caravan “Get In High” 1967 German Soul Jazz Funk 
Get In High is a 1967 album by Soul Caravan, a German group who performed soul music, which lead to the hardness of the funk. They evolved into Xhol Caravan, where they became a favorite among Krautrock fans. ………….. 

Xhol Caravan, known first as Soul Caravan and later as simply Xhol, was one of the first bands participating in the launch of the Krautrock movement in Germany in the late 1960s. Their music draws from varied influences and fuses rhythm and blues and free jazz with a psychedelic rock sensibility. 
The band was formed in Wiesbaden, Germany in early 1967 by three men (Tim Belbe on saxophone; Hansi Fischer on saxophone & flute; Klaus Briest on bass guitar) along with three Americans (Gilbert ‘Skip’ van Wyck on drums and singers James Rhodes and Ronnie Swinson). Early concerts consisted mostly of cover versions of American soul artists, such as Otis Redding and James Brown, but the band soon began to rely almost entirely on its own material. 

After adding Werner Funk on guitar, the band’s first studio album, Get In High, appeared on the German CBS label in December 1967. It exemplified the band’s early soul sound, and featured a remake of the classic American soul tune “Shotgun” along with original compositions that incorporated African-American themes and elements, including “Kerd-I-Wai (African Song)” and “So Much Soul.” The live recordings Soul Caravan: Live 1969, Altena 1969, and Xhol 1970 spotlight this R&B sound, while also including improvisational pieces more indicative of the band’s later period, stretching in some cases well beyond 25 minutes in length. (The “Freedom Opera,” for instance, heard on the 2001 Motherfuckers Live album but recorded in 1968, clocks in at nearly 50 minutes.)  

The political disturbances of 1968 were reflected in the band’s move towards a more jazzy, psychedelic sound and a change of name to Xhol Caravan. Swinson left the band and returned to the United States at about this time. 

Xhol Caravan 
Organist Gerhardt Egmont “Öcki” Von Brevern joined at the start of 1969 as the band moved away from soul and towards a more jazzy sound.[1] Rhodes left in August 1969, as did Funk, leaving the band without a guitarist. Van Wych took over vocal duties. The band’s second album, Electrip, reflected the move away from R&B, fusing free jazz and psychedelic rock with a satirical, sometimes X-rated sense of humor, as fellas studio manipulation of sounds and timbres. 

After Electrip, the band released two more albums, both on the small Ohr label and both with the band name reduced to Xhol, partly to avoid confusion with the British Canterbury Scene group Caravan. Fischer left to join Embryo in 1970, because he did not want to turn professional and was unhappy with what he saw as a move away from fresh compositions towards drug-fuelled improvisation This reduced the band to a quartet of Belbe, Öcki, Van Wych, and Briest. 

The 1970 album Hau-RUK contained two 20-minute-plus improvisations recorded live in a German bar earlier that year.[2] Xhol’s last LP, Motherfuckers GmbH & Co. KG, consists of several pieces recorded more or less live in the studio.[3] Recorded in 1970, the album would not be released until 1972 due to creative differences between Xhol’s members and Ohr label boss Ralf-Ulrich Kaiser. These differences even influenced the packaging of the album: although Ohr/Metronome usually lavished great care on the sleeves for its records—commissioning custom artwork with glossy lamination and gatefolds for even single LPs—the sleeve for MF consisted merely of hand-scrawled text on a box containing the master recordings of the album. 

The band dissolved in April 1972. Some fresh recordings were made in 1974 by Belbe, Öcki, Van Wych, and Fischer, one of which was eventually released as a bonus track on the CD issue of Hau-RUK. Belbe, Fischer, and Briest played reunion concerts in the late 1990s and early 2000s before Belbe’s death in August 2004……… 

As in any self-respecting galaxy, the krautrock sports cult groups. Can, Amon Düül II, Kraftwerk … the list is long and impressive, especially when we know the contribution of each of these groups to music. But there is also a good bunch of little-known groups, less celebrated and influential, who nevertheless put their gaiters in the middle: these are the famous second knives. Although little known and cults, therefore, they are no less able to release interesting albums, and that win to be rediscovered. Ah, and I forgot the krautrock bands that did not break through because no talent, but natural selection helping, I did not find them. 

So good, but what relationship with an album classified soul? And then what is XHOL CARAVAN? But everything is bound, pardi! Not that soul has to krautrock, or vice versa, but because this chronicle will serve to present XHOL CARAVAN, a second knife of the kind - hence the first paragraph. To be honest, if one does not know its basic krautrock, it will be difficult to fall on this group. Moreover, as an individual, it was only by investigating the path of the Embryo musicians that I discovered XHOL CARAVAN. Indeed, the blower Hansi Fischer, who worked on the first albums of the group of Christian Burchard, was also part of this training, in all its forms. Because also one thing about XHOL CARAVAN is that it has not kept the same name all the time. Indeed, it was first called Soul Caravan, before changing to XHOL CARAVAN then Xhol, quite simply. These successive changes form in the absolute a bag of discographic nodes, hence the fact that I gather the four albums under the same name, for practical reasons. 

The adventure begins with Soul Caravan, which as the name suggests, is a soul band. So a German band, which plays of a kind then typical of the United States, that in mouth a corner, is not it? The surprise is however mitigated when it is learned that the song is then held by two African-American exiles, James Rhodes and Ronnie Swanson. The musicians, on the other hand, come well from the country of Goethe, and thus play music from the country that sells dream at the time. 

So, what does Get in High, ultimately only album tagged Soul Caravan? Not much, really. A lover of soul will certainly appreciate without daring to raise the album to the same rank as some references, while the one who does not know much (like me) will love the album without realizing its place in the genre. All the same, what Get in High proposes is not bad: soul that moves, that gives the peach (even banana), and that sunny who wants to listen well. In addition to some classical compositions, there are repeats, as is usual in soul. In particular, “Land of 1000 Dances”, already a classic in his day, becomes here the pivot of the album, with its energy and bantering gouaille. 

Nothing prefigures here from the turn of events for what will become XHOL CARAVAN, with the exception of one piece, and not the least. It is indeed necessary to turn to the final, “Psychodelic Soul”, to see something strange. The atmosphere is suddenly more incantatory, more oriental. The voices of Rhodes and Swanson emerge from powerful vocalizations, while the other musicians orchestrate a clearly different music. The psychedelic madness, but also societal, already knocks at the door of Germany, the festival of Essen 1968 is not far. This being so, in the absolute, it is not a great piece, but it is perfectly suitable to be considered very good. 

Soul Caravan, therefore, offers with Get in High an interesting disc. The soul practiced here does not seem to dishonor the genre, and remains very convincing. However, the call for a more experimental music, farther from the New Continent, will come to seize the group, which will change radically……………. 

Before Tangerine Dream, before Embryo, before Kraftwerk, before even the Ohr label, Xhol Caravan released what may be the first album to rightly own the name Krautrock. The band started as a straightforward soul group, Soul Caravan, and bastardized the name for the new direction the group was heading. Early innovators of the creative German sound, and borrowing heavily from that country’s love of jazz, Xhol Caravan would always be a historical footnote. Sadly the band disbanded before it could be granted legendary status 

XHOL was one of the first bands who participated at the send of the 60s to the launch of the Krautrock movement in Germany. Nevertheless their music cannot be categorised. Their roots came from rhythm'n blues with soul tendencies. With their second album “electrip” they rapidly found their own style which can be considered as an original fusion of free jazz, psychedelic rock and electronic experimentations. Very dynamic their jazz rock can sometimes be compared with the spirit of the psychedelic soul developed by SOFT MACHINE. However the unusual use of electric instruments and electronic manipulations made XHOL absolutely unique. After “Electric”, the band carries on their musical adventure with two great and totally free jazz rock albums. Dominated by endless, electric and cool improvisations “Hau Ruk” is a must for fusion and jazz lovers. Their last studio album “Motherf**kers GmbH” recorded in 1972 is a monument. All the compositions have their own feelings, sometimes delivering captivating and powerful blues, kraut, and jazz elements. However this album put the stress on a second fascinating side of XHOL’s musical universe: experimental organ works and psych/ folk interludes. This last album is nearer to Krautrock mesmerizing musical themes, more twisted, spacey and devoted to avant-garde. XHOL’s influence on a bench of german prog bands and on the adepts of free rock music in general is undeniable. …………. 

Line-up / Musicians 
- James Rhodes / vocals 
- Ronnie Swinson / vocals 
- Tim Belbe / saxophone 
- Hansi Fischer / saxophone 
- Klaus Briest / bass 
- Werner Funk / guitar 

Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. So much soul (3:09) 
2. Hey, hey, hey, what is this you are doing baby (2:35) 
3. Memories (3:30) 
4. Booking up (2:31) 
5. Get in high / Shotgun (5:50) 
6. Hold on, baby (2:24) 
7. African song (4:05) 
8. Just a fantasy (4:14) 
9. Land of 1000 dances (4:10) 
10. She is my baby (2:56) 
11. Psychedelic soul (5:13) 

Studio albums 
Get in High, 1967, originally on CBS Records, not currently available 
Electrip, 1969, originally on Hansa Records, CD released on Germanofon 1995 
Motherfuckers GmbH & Co. KG, 1972 (recorded 1970), originally on the Ohr label, CD released on Wah-Wah Records Sound 2008 
Live albums[edit] 
Soul Caravan: Live 1969, CD released on Garden of Delights label 2006 
Altena 1969, CD released on Garden of Delights label 2006 
Altena 1970, CD released on Garden of Delights label 2006 
Essen 1970, CD released on Garden of Delights label 2009 
Hau-RUK, recordings from July 1970, CD released on Garden of Delights label 2002 with an additional studio track (“Süden Twi Westen”) 
Motherfuckers Live, recordings from 1968–69, released on CD in 2001 by World Serpent with bonus disc of additional radio and live material 

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