on 4 October 2008
Had seen a few recommendations on other sites for this CD. I can only add my voice to them. This is serious quality Psych/Proto-Prog circa 1969,from this Birmingham band.
The highlights [and there are plenty of them] include the single "Mr.Armageddon",a powerful,psychedelic brass-heavy tune that will have you humming the brass riff in no time at all.My favourite tune and a real tour de force is the album`s 6th tune "You Must Be Joking". This has a quite brilliant chorus[imagine Hendrix with a Hammond] and is a keyboard led gem of a song,[there are no guitars on this album,although one of the keyboards are stuck through a Wah-Wah occasionally,which tends to sound like a guitar,especially on this track]. Other highlights include the bouncy,"Lay Me Down Gently",the album`s only cover,"Coming Down/Love Song For The Dead Che",[originally done by The United States Of America].The last highlight is the closing tune of the album proper,"Times Of Light And Darkness",with the last in a long line of catchy brass riffs and a great track to boot.
There is nothing bad that i can say about this release,the only thing that might put people off,though i like it,is the voice of the band`s main songwriter and keyboardist,Norman Haines. In his low register,his voice has a cockney/early Bowie lilt to it. When he really pushes his voice is when he sounds at his best,[witness "Mr.Armageddon" and "You Must Be Joking,for that].
Apparently this album was originally released about 12 months later than it should have been. That,and the fact that the band had had a previous minor hit single in a Ska vein,meant that this album pretty much sank without trace when it did finally see the light of day. That`s a damn shame because this is a minor classic. Highly Recommended!.
on 27 August 2012
They were Birmingham-based band included on start Chris Wood who was later a founder member of Traffic.Their rare album is truly artefact from connoisseurs of prog-jazz-soul rock.There's a many stunningly powerful songs in the mould of psychedelic prog-soul crossover with brass.Produced by Gus Dudgeon for Parlaphone in february 70',also includes versions of one of the best rare and cult bands from US,Coming Down and Song for Dead Ché.(Writen by Joseph Byrd with his cult band The United States of America).They were split-up soon and Mick Hincks and Bob Lamb departed to form Dog That Bit People.Norman Haines formed a band called Sacrifice(who did not record)but EMI released an album of their material credited to the Norman Haines Band-it is also one of the very rarest UK prog rock albums.The brass section is:Bill Madge,Dick Heckstall-Smith,Chris Mercer,Lyn Dobson,Mick Taylor and Henry Lowther.