- Audio CD (6 May 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Original recording remastered
- Label: Esoteric
- ASIN: B000TV4MO0
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,453 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Rare Bird ~ Remastered with Bonus Tracks Original recording remastered
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Rare Bird are perhaps best remembered for having the distinction of being the first act to be released on Tony Stratton Smith's gloriously eclectic label Charisma records (also the home of GENESIS, THE NICE and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR to name but a few) and for their excellent 1970 hit single Sympathy . Like fellow future Charisma stable mates Van Der Graaf Generator, Rare Bird was formed around the principle of keyboard dominated progressive rock which eschewed the use of guitars. In December 1969 their eponymous debut album was released to great critical acclaim, (also becoming a US Billboard chart hit) and was followed in January 1970 by the release of Sympathy b/w Devil s High Concern . The single reached the UK Top 30 and was a subsequent major hit throughout Europe.
Top customer reviews
'Iceberg' opens with church organ over slow defined electric piano chords then drums...then they go berserk as the piano and organ chase each other around the keyboards. Steve Gould's noble voice enters...not for long though before Dave Kaffinetti's electric piano steals the show...then it's Graham Field's turn. It's all heavy but at the same time melodic. Field & Kaffinetti weave some magic over the fast drum'n'bass via extreme keyboard dexterity. (10)
'Times' has a rather raucous vocal but then halfway through the organ work really captures the imagination...once again this segues into electric piano. (8)
'You Went Away' has Steve Gould in more control here...before the organ carefully paves the way for his vocal onslaught...soft organ...there's an insane ending via a drum solo. (9)
'Melanie' again an aggressive style opening before commencing a truly melodic trip through minor and major chords. (9) "Melanie beautiful Melanie I love you so"
'Beautiful Scarlet' an opening chord sequence to die for. Fast melodic organ. What a sound when the organ and piano pump in unison - a sound that's gone for ever. (10) "The angel's here...to cast out fear Leader Of hope...sever the rope"
'Sympathy' their main claim to fame...less frantic strong on lyrics which was surprisingly a huge hit really everywhere in Europe except the UK where (in Feb'70) it only managed #27. (9)
'Nature's Fruit' another single type track. (8½)
'Bird On A Wing' gentle heaviness...pretty organ airs...then builds into an electric piano blitzkrieg. (8)
'God Of War' timpani and '67 Pink Floyd like organ plasters into an express train effect...has to be heard to be believed. (9½)
A genius album but which at the time got lost to the mainstream. Sure it's heavy and there tends to be a certain "made up in the studio quickly" sort of approach about it all...but what sets Rare Bird apart is that they always tried to be melodic and lyrical rather than purely bombastic...definitely a rare breed of an act at the turn of the 60's/70's. "Beautiful Scarlet there's a tear in your eye the winter went slowly The summer's gonna pass you by"
Most regretfully, after these two albums the band drifted towards uninspiring mainstream (AOR), however the solo album of Graham Field for Sony - "Fields" (1971)[[ASIN:B003ODL3W4 Fields - is very interesting, while "Runner" of Steve Gould at al. is really just a pale shadow.
Beware: (1) there is US "Fields" Fields album - has nothing to do with "Rare Bird", although bloody good; (2) There is also a live bootleg around - usually with the same/similar artwork - avoid it: most regretfully, recorded direct through console, and the voice of Steve Gould can be merely heard - but still it breaks through!
If you'll miss the music - and you will for sure - try (although not related):
The Power of the Picts and Captain Marryat; and then - Eagle Rock,A Time Before This ~ Remastered AND - don't forget Pampered Menial (Bonus Tracks)- David Surcamp had an unusual voice of extreme power
So this, like many groups first album, is a band who haven't yet realised their full potential, a flawed gem, but is still worth getting if only for the magnificent 'Sympathy'.
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