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17 Jul 2017

Clark Hutchinson "A=MH2" 1969 UK Prog Psych Raga Rock












Clark Hutchinson  "A=MH2" 1969 UK Prog Psych Raga Rock

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As virtuoso musicians and members of Sam Gopal's Dream, Clark-Hutchinson (Andy Clark and Mick Hutchinson) were well-known to regulars at legendary London clubs such as UFO and Middle Earth when they decided to branch out as a duo. Recorded in two intense overnight sessions in May 1969, A=MH2 is a scorching blend of jazz, raga, blues and psychedelia that has long been established as one of the key recordings to have emerged from the UK psychedelic underground. It's presented here as a 2CD set, together with their March 1969 recording debut, an unreleased collection of acid blues that features some equally stunning musicianship. The package comes complete with detailed notes and previously-unpublished photos, making it the most comprehensive edition of this groundbreaking music ever assembled.......

The late 1960s were a time of raw innovation, cultural blendings, genre bendings, and what-the-hell experiments. In A=MH2, Mick Hutchinson took the blues guitar stylings of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack and The Groundhogs and blended them with the trance-inducing rhythmic pulse of Indian music. Ragas for blues guitar, in a word.
The results were not entirely successful, but nonetheless proved highly influential. Guitarists as diverse as Peter Green, John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock have cited this LP as a major influence, and Mick's talents were equal to any of them. Filled out by the saxes, keyboards and drums of Andy Clark, this album is an amazing historical document of a time when artists were free to try anything.....By Robert Carlberg..............

Back in 1969 ANDY CLARK and MICK HUTCHINSON decided to branch out from their band SAM GOPAL’s DREAM and produce an album and as a duo they recorded their first album release in two twelve hour sessions in London during May.

Promoted by their then record company Decca via their underground label NOVA as a ‘powerful hard rocking blues band’ whose album was ‘years ahead of it’s time’. In effect they produced a classic album that still today is much sought after.

The bonus tracks on this CD were actually their March 1969 recording debut, an unreleased collection of blues and rock that showcases their stunning musical ability but sadly the ‘suits’ at the record company deemed them too ‘blues’ and instead instructed the band to produce a fusion of psychedelic, jazz, blues album with a classical bent ‘A=MH2′ fitted that bill and was released in February 1970!.......

...the true star of this recording is none other than Mick Hutchinson's guitar. In fact, the entire album is basically a guitar solo album in disguise. The other instruments might set the scene, but it's the unstoppable guitar, delivered with a wide tonal range (and untouched by any studio effects!), which dominates throughout and creatively leads you as through imaginative roads.

The eight bonus tracks - which were rejected by the record company at the time due to their bluesy nature - are in fact fine blues rock numbers. Unlike the released album, these are all songs that feature vocals, and they echo the 1968 Super Session by Bloomfield, Kooper and Stills with their eager, lively and uplifting, blues rock and Hutchinson's wailing electric guitar ("Make You" even benefits from a Hendrix feel)........Maelstrom Zine (January 2014).............

Personnel: Andrew Clark (vocals, chant, flute, bagpipe, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano, organ, bass drum, maracas, gong); Mick Hutchinson (guitar, flute, piano, bass guitar, bongos, timpani); Franco Franco (drums).Liner Note Authors: Ian Sippen; Peter Shertser; John Peel.Recording information: Decca Studio Two, West Hampstead, London (03/20/1969-03/23/1969); Recorded Sound Studios, London, WI (03/20/1969-03/23/1969); Decca Studio Two, West Hampstead, London (05/21/1969/05/23/1969); Recorded Sound Studios, London, WI (05/21/1969/05/23/1969).Arrangers: Michael Hutchinson; Andrew Clark .Psychedelic raga-rock guitar-dominated instrumentals can be a gas -- just listen to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's "East-West" or the Mystic Tide's "Psychedelic Journey," or even some of Robbie Krieger's solos on long Doors tracks. This 49-minute rarity is comprised of five long, doodling, Indian-blues-fusion instrumentals, and some vocal chanting is heard. There's some skill applied by the players, who are reasonably nimble, using throbbing Indian-influenced tempos as the backdrop. ~ Richie Unterberger................

Still a cult plate! "A = MH2" is such a typical product of the late 1960s, a strange mix of psychedelic rock, free jazz, blues, and Indian influences that was at that time extremely progressive. Mick Hutchinson and Andy Clark were the London psychedelic scene of the second half of the 1960s and met Sam Gopal's Ragarockformation Sam Gopal's Dream, whose performances in Middle East were one of the most exotic and the most compelling of the scene. At the end of the 1960s, the two played as a duo, which bore the practical name Clark-Hutchinson.

In March 1969, the duo went to the Decca studio for the bassist Walt Monahan and a presumably pseudo-drummer, Franco Franco, to record their debut album. In London Bluesrevival was now announced, so that the whole thing should become a Bluesscheibe. The final result did not come to the decision makers of Decca however, and disappeared once in the drawer. The latest CD-Reissue of "A = MH2" by Sunbeam Records, these already 1994 as "blues" posthumously on CDs appeared as bonus CD. A rather harmless, for the time very typical Bluesrock can be heard there, which is quite solidly played, but also not further remarkable. However, the fact that the whole thing was not published is quite surprising. Such a bluesrock was at that time in England quite popular. Perhaps Decca did not want to put their straight successful Act Ten Years After out of their own house?

Even more surprising is, however, what Decca has published some months later. Clark and Hutchinson went back to the studio in May 1969, this time alone. The result - "A = MH2" - was in any case more strange than the blues recordings of March.

Mick Hutchinson and Andy Clark improvise here, presumably inspired by the use of a variety of consciousness-enhancing substances, through five long numbers, which, as already mentioned in part, connect rock, meditative, jazz, classical influences, psychedelic and exotic. E-guitar exams (Hutchinson) meet Clarks keyboard and rhythm guitar accompaniment, complemented by rudimentary percussion, flute and sax motifs, rare vocals, and repetitive bass guitars. Meditatively the music drifts, over long ranges "Indian", like Raga excursions with Rockinstrumentarium. Krautrock was evidently not only cultivated in Germany. If you did not know better, you might also suspect that the here offered spice comes from some Munich artist's commune (Amon Düül leave greet). However, Hutchinson's guitar playing is beyond any doubt, and the whole thing is quite structured. There were no amateurs here.

Whether "A = MH2", as can be read on the back of the Sundance CD edition, is "one of the key recordings to have emerged from the UK psychedelic underground". The music does not sound psychedelic at all, more progressive in the sense at that time, especially on the basis of the quite distinct classical influences. However, anyone who appreciates music from that underground, protoprogressive and freer sound mixes, will also like this album. Some of the songs are too long, so it takes a little bit of patience to keep the album in mind. The disc is pretty cool!
Mick Hutchinson and Andy Clark improvise here, presumably inspired by the use of a variety of consciousness-enhancing substances, through five long numbers, which, as already mentioned in part, connect rock, meditative, jazz, classical influences, psychedelic and exotic. E-guitar exams (Hutchinson) meet Clarks keyboard and rhythm guitar accompaniment, complemented by rudimentary percussion, flute and sax motifs, rare vocals, and repetitive bass guitars. Meditatively the music drifts, over long ranges "Indian", like Raga excursions with Rockinstrumentarium. Krautrock was evidently not only cultivated in Germany. If you did not know better, you might also suspect that the here offered spice comes from some Munich artist's commune (Amon Düül leave greet). However, Hutchinson's guitar playing is beyond any doubt, and the whole thing is quite structured. There were no amateurs here.

Whether "A = MH2", as can be read on the back of the Sundance CD edition, is "one of the key recordings to have emerged from the UK psychedelic underground". The music does not sound psychedelic at all, more progressive in the sense at that time, especially on the basis of the quite distinct classical influences. However, anyone who appreciates music from that underground, protoprogressive and freer sound mixes, will also like this album. Some of the songs are too long, so it takes a little bit of patience to keep the album in mind. The disc is pretty cool!.....by....Achim Breiling ...........

Back in 1969 ANDY CLARK and MICK HUTCHINSON decided to branch out from their band SAM GOPAL's DREAM and produced an album and as a duo they recorded their first album release in two twelve hour sessions in London during May. Promoted by their then record company Decca via their underground label NOVA as a "powerful hard rocking blues band" whose album was "years ahead of it's time".

In effect they produced a classic album that is still today is much sought after. The bonus tracks this CD were actually their March 1969 recording debut, an unreleased collection of blues and rock that showcases their stunning musical ability but sadly the "suits at the record company deemed them too "blues" and instead instructed the band to produce fusion of psychedelic, jazz, blues album with a classical bent "A=MH2" fitted that bill and was released in February 1970!.......

1st album (well not really but more about this later) by UK duo Clark-Hutchinson, or Andy Clark and Mick Hutchinson, two multi-instrumentalists and prominent figures on London’s late 1960s Psychedelic and Blues scene. Mick, a superb guitarist, plays also some keyboards and Andy plays anything from drums, percussion, keyboards, flute and saxophone. Listening to this extraordinary album it’s really difficult to believe that two musicians, using rather primitive studio technology available at the time, were able to create such massive and complex sound. But sound aside, the music is what makes this album such an extraordinary experience. Based on modal and Indian music and using the slowly developing raga as a model, they create a most amazing amalgam of Jazz, Psychedelic and World Music, which at the time was revolutionary and pioneering. Hutchinson’s lengthy guitar solos are a prime example of jazzy improvisation and one of the first Jazz-World Fusion attempts, which will be later perfected by John McLaughlin in Shakti. The overall contemplative nature of the music and the imaginative ornamentation by additional (overdubbed) instruments create a mystical atmosphere, which is seldom found on other album. This expanded edition also includes the real first album by Clark-Hutchinson, recorded just a couple of months earlier, but rejected by their record label, which remained unreleased until now. Although based on Blues as a guiding model (both Andy and Mick loved the Blues), it follows much the same “working model” of the two musicians overdubbing several instruments, although a bass player and a drummer were used on these sessions. The resulting album is at least as good as any other UK Blues album recorded at the time by John Mayall, Savoy Brown, etc., with Mick’s scorching guitar solos providing the icing on the cake. With extensive liner notes and great sound quality this is a well-deserved reissue of one of the most groundbreaking musical projects of the late 1960s. A true blast from the past!....by....Jazzis ....

Tracklist
A1 Improvisation On A Modal Scale 10:00
A2 Acapulco Gold 7:00
A3 Impromptu In 'E' Minor 8:30
B1 Textures In 3/4 11:00
B2 Improvisation On An Indian Scale 13:05 

Bonus..

6. Bad Loser
7. Crow Jane
8. Can’t Carry On
9. Seymour’s Boogie
10. Put You Down
11. Someone’s Been At My Woman
12. Make You
13. Summer Seemed Longer

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