on 5 April 2011
I always find it disappointing when a worthy piece of music hasn't been reviewed or rated, so here goes..
Originally released in1988 on Def American and subsequently re-released in1990 on Delicious Vinyl, (with an additional track,"Doraldina's Prophecies" and a change in song sequence), this sef-titled debut is often referred to as "The Blue Garden", on account of the cover artwork, and is the brainchild of Chris Goss.
He's perhaps better known as a producer, having worked with the likes of Kyuss, Soulwax, Stone Temple Pilots and Queens Of The Stone Age, to name but a few.
The band's name was inspired by the Black Sabbath same-titled album from the early 70's and the sounds and imagery found within can find influences from early Floyd and Hendrix to John Mayall and Cream (Ginger Baker was so impressed he played on the band's next album).
This debut is a triumph of the blues/rock genre and is, in my opinion, timeless.
There are occasions when it could be Page or Clapton on lead and puts me in mind of the dream sequences in Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same".
There's also a strong connection with Tame Impala's "Innerspeaker" (perhaps Kevin Parker's a fan !).
This album swings from out and out blues ("The Candy Song" and "The Eyes Of Texas") to full on rock ("Kill The King" and the excellent "Domino").
I'm surprised Mr. Goss hails from New York State because, at times, there's a real Southern boogie thing going on (think of pre "Eliminator" ZZ Top), particularly on tracks like "Lookin' To Get Rite" (are those maracas I can hear?) and "John Brown" (great slide guitar).
The album's produced by Rick Rubin, who's not a man known for getting involved in 'fluffy' projects or wasting his time, and it shows. It was a shrewd move on Goss' part, as a lot of self-produced albums lack breadth and structure
The (title?) track, "The Blue Garden", is my personal favourite and was sampled on Lemon Jelly's "88 aka Come Down On Me" on the 2005 album '64-'95.
This album offers a masterclass in blues/rock and I'm gobsmacked that it managed to slip under most people's radar unnoticed.
I'm also rather chuffed that my '88 original might be worth a few quid :)
on 22 August 2011
I stumbled across this album (vinyl version) around 16 or so years ago in Woolworths for the incredible sum of £1.99! I played the thing to death, never quite knowing why I kept going back to it. Odd, retro, almost unclassifiable but hauntingly memorable. I suppose the best description is Cream, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Doors put in a blender, then add a few more obscure 60/70's bands founder Chris Goss is into but most of us probably haven't even heard of. Goss's vocals avoid all the usual macho rock posturings but none the less sound powerful and at times 'spiritual' (the closest example being Cream). The band (although no Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones) gel really well, so much so this album rivals (and often surpasses) ANYTHING Zeppelin ever released. Unfortunately the band's personality chemistry didn't hold up on tour and they soon parted company (with the exception of mainstay/vocalist/guitarist Goss and (for a while at least) bassist Googe). The Masters were to return a few years later with the just as eclectic and almost as good 'Sunrise on the Sufferbus' (featuring Cream's Ginger Baker on drums). 'The Blue Garden' (as it is sometimes known) can be difficult (and expensive) to get hold of (CD or vinyl) - something of this quality really should be readily available, sadly it isn't (hence the generally high prices found on Amazon). The album was re-released by Delicious Vinyl with a different cover (taken from various pictures found on the original album), two extra tracks, and a totally bizarre and sacrilegious track re-shuffling! The Masters (or really Chris Goss) never again reached the musical heights achieved on this début (although came close with Sufferbus) - had the original band stayed together for future recordings it may well have been a different story. Check out the other Masters albums (especially Sufferbus) but this really is the original and best.
I bought this cd in 1988 after reading a review that likened the band to the likes of Sabbath/Zeppelin/The Doors,took a chance and never regretted it,I have to say i would throw a bit of ZZ Top and a whole lot of Blue Oyster Cult as influences as well.
The disc opens in grand style with the short but effective imstrumental 'Theme For The Scientist Of The Invisible' which finishes just as your wanting more before 'Domino' crashes out of the speakers with a riff that Sabbath would have been proud of back in 1971,next with its Doors like keyboard intro 'Blue Garden ' is upon us and immediately your captivated by Chris Goss' intoxicating vocals which wash over you,simply stunning.
And so it continues from the simple sing along lyrics of 'Gettin High' to the Zep' like 'Candy Song' or the laid back class of 'Magical Spell' which could have been ZZ Top in their heyday back in the 70's.
The remainder of the disc is more of the same swaggering riffs(The Eyes Of Texas/Sleep Walkin) and haunting lyrics(John Brown),this is the album Blue Oyster Cult should have made,their DNA all over final track 'Kill The King' with its foreboding intro evoking a sense of impending doom before bursting to life with a massive sleazy riff that the Cult would have been proud of.
This is arguably the best album of 1988,a wonderful release from Chris Goss (Guitar/Vocals) supported by Tim Harrington(lead Guitar), Vinnie Indovico (Drums) and the cryptically named Googe (Bass).This release is almost impossible to find now but a reissue with bonus track was issued in the 90's presumably remastered as well,i'll stick with this cherished disc and enjoy it time and time again.
on 25 October 2012
I thought that I would pile in and echo the sentiments of the other guys who have reviewed this. I bought this for the first time in 1989, never having heard it but based upon great reviews. Hearing it was a revelation and I would say without hesitation that it is one of the greatest rock albums ever made. It is a real one off. I had my CD stolen in a burglary a year later and replaced it many years after that at great expence. I've now managed to acquire it on vinyl. Anyone who owns this album treasures it because it is head and shoulders above the rest. There is not a weak point on the whole record. It's like a diesel powered mixture of Cream and OLD ZZTop (when they were good). Without this album there would have been no Queens of the Stone Age and so many more. Tim Harrington's razorwire guitar and Chris Goss's laidback, Jack Bruce-esque vocals drift over the thumping rhythm section of Googe & Vinnie Ludovico create a real musical masterpiece which the band never again matched over the length of a full album.
This album is quite rare and highly sought after by those in the know but even if you have to pay through the nose for a copy of this opus on LP or CD...pay it. It will be the best record investment you will make for a record which I have tried to, but still can't praise highly enough. Genius+
on 26 August 2011
Twenty years ago, I considered this to be the best album I'd ever heard. During hard times it got sold off, and I always regretted it, as it proved impossible to find a replacement. Now I finally have it, I think it may actually be better than I remember it - like, the best sound of any kind I've ever heard! Seriously, five stars isn't enough; can I give it ten?