Speaks his mind on music & movies!
The album opens with a couple gong strikes, the band starts to filter in with the violin laying down a riff, the drums come in and then boom, guitar and violin play together with the guitar taking a wicked solo and the band still doing their thing in support. This was hard and heavy, no holding back playing and CB loved it. Guitar and violin trading licks sounded fantastic and right up CB’s alley. This first tune introduced the band to CB and it couldn’t have been better. What a great sound. The drums were great. Second cut ‘Miles Beyond ‘ opens with some cool keyboard by Jan Hammer with Billy Cobham’s drums and Rick Laird’s bass laying down a terrific beat. Then some great sounding guitar. Jerry Goodman and John McLaughlin do their thing again with the violin/guitar sound. Then Mac takes a solo that is out of this world. Fast and furious. The band comes back in to join him. What a sound! John takes another solo and soars with it. What a great sounding tune. What a great sounding record. They did sound like an orchestra but with a hard rock/jazz edge.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this album. A friend’s older brother was the one that told me about it. “Quit messing around and listen to this album”. The other thing he said was the guitar player and drummer were two of the best. After the first side I wasn’t going to argue with him (plus he wasn’t the kind of guy you argued with. He was big and mean).
‘One Word’ opens side two with Cobham doing a drum roll that sounds wicked. He goes to town on this one. Rick Laird does some nice work with a bass solo. The rest of the band are playing underneath building the sound. This sounds so cool. Mac comes in with a some fantastic guitar and trades licks with Hammer and Goodman. This is some loud, hard, great music that CB was digging. The boys are in a hard groove. I could sit in this one for a while. Everybody backs off and this is where BC takes over. CB was a sucker for drums solos. The band comes back in and finishes up with a flurry (sounds like boxing match). They change it up on the next one. CB was liking that about these guys. All the changes in tempo, but that edge was always there. The music seemed to be building looking for a release and when they did it was good. ‘Open Country Joy’ starts out with Jerry Goodman playing some softer violin with the band giving a softer support then Boom! John rips in with Jerry and Jan doing the same thing. So much for a softer sound. They do bring it back down. Love those changes. The album goes out with a march, a ‘Mahavishnu Orchestra’ march.
CB absolutely loved this record. He heard about all the great guitar players that were around at the time. This was the first time he heard about John McLaughlin. My buddy’s brother was right. This guy was something else. His playing blew CB away. The same went for Billy Cobham. Special musicians. The rest of the band was up to speed. Jan Hammer on keyboards does some nice work. Rick Laird was laying down the bass with all this fire around him. CB was (and still is) a fan of violin in this kind of music. He heard it a few times in the music he was listening to, Rick Grech with Blind Faith and David Cross with King Crimson. The Goodman/McLaughlin combo reminded CB of the Fripp/Cross pairing that he had recently been turned onto. More inter play between Goodman/McLaughlin.
This album has a real hard edge to it and that among other things really appealed to Babyhead’s ear. The playing on the album is top notch but John M’s guitar is the killer for CB. His playing along with other guitarists like FZ , Robert Fripp etc were really opening his mind to different styles. It sounded so good. Very lucky to have been turned onto John and this band.
This is a good album, check it out or re- visit. It’s on fire!
( Note : CB should say, that at this time in his listening career, bands and music like this, King Crimson, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Yes, Miles Davis, Return to Forever, Genesis, Pink Floyd, ELP, Jack Bruce, Zappa, were getting lots of spins on the old turn table. He was still in the process of discovering a few of them )