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27 Mar 2017

Dantalian's Chariot "Chariot Rising" 1967 Tenth Planet 1995 UK Psych Rock 100 GREATEST Psychedelic Records (Record Collector Magazine)













Dantalian's Chariot  "Chariot Rising"  1967 Tenth Planet 1995 UK Psych Rock
100 GREATEST Psychedelic Records  (Record Collector Magazine)

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Zoot Money's Big Roll Band was one of the biggest live acts in Swingin' London. They where among the top stage bands playing their mixture of mod jazz/soul/R&B in the most popular clubs and released a bunch of excellent 45's and two fantastic LPs. But by 1967 a new breeze was blowing and bringing winds of change into the music scene. Bands like The Pink Floyd, Tomorrow or The Soft Machine had ignited a revolution in sound, and Money saw it was the time for a new move. Along with guitarist Andy Somers (a.k.a. Summers, later of The Police) and drummer Collin Alen from the Big Roll Band, plus bassist Pat Donaldson, he formed Dantalian's Chariot and hit London's psychedelic underground clubs with a new sound and looks (the band dressed in white and painted their instruments and amps also white, so they'd give an impressive image when a psychedelic light show was projected upon them while in stage). They recorded one of the best singles of the era: 'Madman Running Through The Fields', wich coupled with 'Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud' became their only release back in 1967. However, as the legend of the band grew, rumours of existing recordings made in 1967 for an unreleased LP spread among collectors and afficionados, until they finally became true when UK label Tenth Planet released the sessions as 'Chariot Rising' in LP format in 1995, and its brother label Wooden Hill put out the CD version one year later. When Dantalian's Chariot split that same 1967 its members would go to other important bands such as Eric Burdon and The Animals, The Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers, Stone The Crows, Focus, John Mayall's band, a.o. Andy Summers, of course, later went on to international fame when he joined forces with Sting and former Curved Air drummer Stewart Copeland in The Police. Now at last again available in vinyl format through Wah Wah Records, issued under license from Zoot Money and featuring a cool period-style colour sleeve, front laminated and with backflaps , plus an insert with info and photos. Ultra limited edition of ONLY 500 copies on a nicely front laminated cover with backflaps......

The sudden arrival of British psychedelia threw up some odd stories, but surely none odder or more notorious than that of Dantalian’s Chariot. Like other established acts – the Beatles, the Stones, Donovan, the Pretty Things, even the homely Hollies – these experienced Beat-era musicians drastically changed tack to embrace the new counterculture, yet no others did it so publicly, nor with such apparent commitment, nor did they fail so spectacularly in spite of critical acclaim and huge hype.

Keyboardist/vocalist George “Zoot” Money had helmed his Big Roll Band since 1961, playing fiery R’n’B to enthusiastic Soho Mod club dancers whilst selling precious few records. Seeing the psychedelic scene suddenly burgeon around them, Money, guitarist Andy Somers and drummer Colin Allen threw themselves bodily on to the bandwagon, announcing abruptly in July 1967 that the Big Roll Band no longer existed and that henceforth they would be Dantalian’s Chariot – Dantalian being a Duke of Hell, referred to in The Key Of Solomon. To emphasise the point they kitted themselves out completely in white – kaftans, guitars, amps, even a white Hammond – and put together a light show so sophisticated that the Pink Floyd hired it on occasions. From their first self-penned recording sessions EMI released a single, “Madman Running Through The Fields”. Despite critical approval it stiffed chartwise, and a subsequent attempt to release an album, appropriately titled Transition, on CBS subsidiary Direction also stalled when the label insisted that its psychedelic elements be diluted with more familiar Money fare and the release credited to the Big Roll Band. This too sank without trace, and a miffed Money finally junked the Chariot in April 1968. Retrospectively, “Madman” became THE essential Brit psych track, much sought after by aficionados as it appeared only rarely on anthologies. The other tracks from the initial sessions attained legendary “lost” status for almost thirty years, until compilers at tiny label Tenth Planet decided to assemble them as the “true” Dantalian’s Chariot album, this finally appearing on vinyl in 1995 with an extended CD release the following year.

After the hype and the wait, the music itself turns out to be rather different from the anticipated unrelenting heavy-psych trip: indeed, it’s an eclectic mix that reminds me more of the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s ambiguous psych credentials. The brilliant “Madman” offers scything backwards cymbals, floating flutes and rippling guitar figures as well as suitably lysergic lyrics, but underneath all this is a tautly constructed pop song, not one of your rambling improvs a la “Interstellar Overdrive”. Some songs follow the distinctively British whimsical personal-narrative psych groove: “Fourpenny Bus Ride” and “Four Firemen” could have come from the Kinks or S.F. Sorrow-era Pretty Things. Others seem purely ersatz psychedelia; the instrumental “This Island” resembles a Morricone spaghetti-western outtake lugubriously decorated with Somers’s electric sitar, and “High Flying Bird” sounds almost like a music industry parody of the San Fran hippie scene, like the Flowerpot Men’s infamously insincere “Let’s Go To San Francisco”. “Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud” is a winsome acoustic pop song penned, along with two other tracks, by the staff writing team of Tony Colton and Roy Smith. Only the thunderous “World War Three” really approaches “Madman” as a heavy psych tour-de-force. And although the musicianship is excellent throughout, Zoot’s brassy, bluesy vocals simply don’t fit the psych template.

An interesting and enjoyable period piece, then, but not the anticipated Holy Grail of psychedelia, despite its enduring reputation. And what became of the musicians who had thrown themselves so wilfully into the psych stewpot? Money went on to work with Eric Burdon’s LA-based Animals and various third-division British prog acts. Bassist Pat Donaldson fell into folk-rock, helping found Sandy Denny’s short-lived Fotheringay and touring with Richard Thompson. Colin Allen drummed on John Mayall’s Blues From Laurel Canyon and subsequently joined Stone The Crows. And after a brief dalliance with Soft Machine, Andy Somers eventually changed his surname to Summers and became one-third of the Police, no less. Listen to his textural backings on “Madman” and hear unmistakeably the genesis of his unique Police guitar style....Rising Storm review..............

Tapestry Of Delights:
When Money broke up The Big Roll Band, he formed this suitably named psychedelic outfit who performed frequently at London’s Middle Earth and UFO clubs. They were certainly a talented outfit. Andy Summers, of course, later played with The Police, and Colin Allen went on to play with John Mayall and Stone The Crows. They recorded just one single for Columbia, The Madman Running Through The Fields. Penned by Money and Andy Summers it was perhaps one of the finest pieces of psychedelia recorded in the UK, this single is now very sought-after. The song was later covered by Eric Burdon and The Animals (with a line-up including Zoot Money and Andy Summers) on their Love Is album and is also on Transition (Direction 863231) 1968 by Zoot Money. The 45’s flip side was a Tony Colton/Ray Smith ballad with appealing vocals.

Dantalion’s Chariot’s live appearances were amazing. They took to the stage in white robes and had what was generally regarded as the best light show in town. The only problem was this ensured they made heavy financial loses with every appearance. They also appeared in ‘Pop Down’, a Fred Marshall film about the excesses of Swingin’ London seen through the eyes of two visitors from outer space named Sagittarius and Aries. The film, by all accounts, was appalling but it did feature music from Blossom Toes and an embryonic Idle Race as well.

Rumours of an unreleased Dantalion’s Chariot album were untrue, but in 1995 David Wells’ Tenth Planet label pieced together an album of previously unreleased material by the band, plus both sides of their 45. Soma, which appeared in two parts, one on each side of the album, with Andy Summers (who co-wrote it with his tutor Narzir Jarazbhoy) on sitar, was a fine Eastern-sounding remnant from 1967. Fourpenny Bus Ride and, to a lesser degree, Four Firemen were reasonable examples of whimsical psychedelic pop, but of the previously unissued material the jarring World War Three and jazz-tinged High Flying Bird (not the popular US West Coast standard, although it is an ode to the beautiful people of San Francisco), both Money/Summers collaborations, are the high points. By contrast Coffee Song and Recapture The Thrill were inconsequential mainstream recordings. However, overall this album is recommended…

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band was one of the biggest live acts in Swingin’ London. They where among the top stage bands playing their mixture of mod jazz/soul/R&B in the most popular clubs and released a bunch of excellent 45’s and two fantastic LPs. But by 1967 a new breeze was blowing and bringing winds of change into the music scene. Bands like The Pink Floyd, Tomorrow or The Soft Machine had ignited a revolution in sound, and Money saw it was the time for a new move. Along with guitarist Andy Somers (a.k.a. Summers, later of The Police) and drummer Collin Alen from the Big Roll Band, plus bassist Pat Donaldson, he formed Dantalian’s Chariot and hit London’s psychedelic underground clubs with a new sound and looks (the band dressed in white and painted their instruments and amps also white, so they’d give an impressive image when a psychedelic light show was projected upon them while in stage). They recorded one of the best singles of the era: 'Madman Running Through The Fields’, wich coupled with 'Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud’ became their only release back in 1967. However, as the legend of the band grew, rumours of existing recordings made in 1967 for an unreleased LP spread among collectors and afficionados, until they finally became true when UK label Tenth Planet released the sessions as 'Chariot Rising’ in LP format in 1995, and its brother label Wooden Hill put out the CD version one year later. When Dantalian’s Chariot split that same 1967 its members would go to other important bands such as Eric Burdon and The Animals, The Soft Machine, Kevin Ayers, Stone The Crows, Focus, John Mayall’s band, a.o. Andy Summers, of course, later went on to international fame when he joined forces with Sting and former Curved Air drummer Stewart Copeland in The Police..

A close facsimile of what Dantalian’s Chariot’s unreleased album would have sounded like, taken from ten tracks recorded in 1967, several of which were previously unissued. “Madman Running Through the Fields” is essential listening for anyone who likes Pink Floyd, with its happy-go-mad lyrics, astral organ, Syd Barrett-esque guitar, and sudden quiet breaks into pastoral flute passages. Nothing else here is nearly as striking, but it’s decent, somewhat prototypical early underground British psychedelia, though the songwriting can be kind of forced. The wistfully ebullient “Sun Came Bursting Through My Clouds” (the B-side of “Madman”) is probably their best secondary effort; instrumentally oriented explorations like “Soma” and “This Island” get freakier......

Among the more obscure British psych acts of the late 60's, this outfit is responsible for one of the best singles of the genre. Their 1967 release of "Madman Running Through the Fields" has been comp-ed on numerous collections of Britpsych, and is included here, along with a host of previously unreleased mat'l as well. Most of this doesn't approach the dizzying heights of their trademark single, but are still quite good, and well worth investigation. The back cover features their entire story in detail. Grades - 2 A's, 3 B's, 2 B-'s, 1 C+, and 2 C's. Limited numbered press of 1000 copies.....by...tymeshifter ............

New repress of this early Wooden Hill CD, originally released in 1996. "Legendary unreleased album by 1967 British acid rockers with Zoot Money and Andy Summers at the helm. Taken from the original master tapes, this release features every known Dantalian's Chariot recording including the classic 'Madman Running Through The Fields.' Lavish 20-page booklet featuring extensive liner notes, photos, quotes, etc."............

All tracks recorded in 1967.
The CD issue is the equivalent of Tenth Planet's vinyl release (TP015; from 1995 in a limited edition of 1,000 numbered copies) of recordings by legendary 1967 British acid rockers, with Zoot Money and Andy Summers. This CD issue of "Chariot Rising", which has been taken direct from the original mastertapes (rather than the second generation copy used for the vinyl edition), features the thought-to-be-lost sitar based outtake "This Island" as well as every known Dantalian's Chariot recording including the photos, quotes and assorted archive material. This release is assumed to be as close as anyone will ever get to piecing together the Great Lost Dantalian's Chariot Album................

A close facsimile of what Dantalian's Chariot's unreleased album would have sounded like, taken from ten tracks recorded in 1967, several of which were previously unissued. "Madman Running Through the Fields" is essential listening for anyone who likes Pink Floyd, with its happy-go-mad lyrics, astral organ, Syd Barrett-esque guitar, and sudden quiet breaks into pastoral flute passages. Nothing else here is nearly as striking, but it's decent, somewhat prototypical early underground British psychedelia, though the songwriting can be kind of forced. The wistfully ebullient "Sun Came Bursting Through My Clouds" (the B-side of "Madman") is probably their best secondary effort; instrumentally oriented explorations like "Soma" and "This Island" get freakier....by Richie Unterberger.............

In the late 1960s, after scoring a hit with "Big Time Operator", the Big Roll Band metamorphosed for a while into the prototype psychedelia outfit Dantalian's Chariot. Sharing bills with the likes of Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett vintage), Soft Machine and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, there were a lot of goings-on with white khaftans, lava lamps and sweet-smelling incense at the most underground of clubs, but despite all this and an inspired crop of songs, for various reasons no more than a single, "Madman Running Through The Fields", saw the light of day until the fabled "Chariot Rising" album was released thirty years on in 1997.

A brief stint with Eric Burdon's American-based New Animals followed, and Zoot decided to stay in the USA for a bit. At this point he began picking up acting roles, starting a parallel career which has continued ever since with character appearances in many high profile film and TV dramas.

On the musical side Zoot featured with (amongst others) the Grimms, Ellis, Centipede, Kevin Coyne and Kevin Ayers before signing up in 1980 to Paul McCartney's label, MPL, to record the Jim Diamond-produced Mr. Money.

In addition to his live music and acting talents Zoot is no mean songwriter - his song "It Never Rains But It Pours" was recorded by Jimmy Witherspoon, for example, and he has also written for such artists as Lulu, Maggie Bell and Long John Baldry. His prodigious musical knowledge is also called on from time to time as a radio programming consultant, and more recently Zoot turned producer for two very different artists: soul diva Ruby Turner ("Call Me By My Name" - Indigo Records, 1999) and up-and-coming indie singer-songwriter Woodstock Taylor ("Road Movie" - Cuppa Records, 2002)................

Andy Somers of Dantalian’s Chariot, later to join The Police and change his last name back to Summers

Dantalians Chariot - Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud


Dantalians gig ad UFO


Dantalian’s Chariots in 1967























Zoot Money - keyboards, vocals
Andy Summers - guitar, sitar
Pat Donaldson - bass
Colin Allen - drums 
+
- Nick Newall - flutes, saxophones
- Geoff Condon - trumpet, flugelhorn
- Ray Smith, Tony Colton - backing vocals

Singles:
“Madman Running Through the Fields”/“Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud” (Columbia (EMI) DB 8260) 1967
“Madman Running Through the Fields”/“Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud” [Reissue] (Columbia (EMI) CF 123) 1967

Albums
Chariot Rising (Wooden Hill WHCD005) 1996 (Originally recorded 1967)

Chariot Rising ( Tenth Planet Records UK) LP only 1000 Copies

Tracklist
1 Madman Running Through The Fields 4:09
2 World War Three 4:06
3 This Island 3:53
4 Fourpenny Bus Ride 3:40
5 Four Firemen 3:27
6 Sun Came Busting Through My Cloud 3:03
7 Recapture The Thrill 3:51
8 Soma
Written-By – Jarazbhoy*
6:10
9 Coffee Song 2:46
10 High Flying Bird 3:42 







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