ODIN - ODIN-(1972-great prog)
One of the truly great, but totally unknown prog rock albums. For the longest time, I thought they were a British band residing in Germany, just like Nektar. Well, it turns out they're partially British, with German and Dutch musicians as well. Regardless their sound is pretty much in the early '70s British style and would fit along side many of the British bands of the time, like Quatermass, Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster, ELP, etc. The album was released on the swirl Vertigo label, and due to its obscurity, one of the more desired titles on the label. The band consisted of Jeff Beer on keyboards, Ray Brown on bass, Stuart Fordham on drums, and Rob Terstall on guitar, all credited to vocal duties, aside from the drummer. If you love the sound of the Hammond organ, this album is a total must, often Jeff Beer played his organ with fuzz tone, not unlike Deep Purple's Jon Lord, or Peter Robinson's work with Quatermass (whose style was much closer to Lord's in that band than say, when he was in Brand X, which was much more similar to Robin Lumley's). In fact the band covers a song that Quatermass covered as well. The album starts off with "Life Is Only", a totally killer piece stuffed with cool guitar and organ solos. There are some passages that bear more than a passing resemblance to ELP, in fact it's the only piece on the album to feature ELP-like passages. "Tribute to Frank" is a jazzy instrumental that brings to mind some of Zappa's instrumental works, so unsurprisingly the tribute would be to Frank Zappa. "Turnpike Lane" features a lot of wordless vocals, and at times almost reminding me of certain Italian prog bands. Of course, the guitar and organ solos are more typical of British bands. "Be the Man You Are" finds the band doing a nice, laid-back acoustic piece. Certainly the vocals are no CSNY, but still a nice piece. There's also a cover of "Gemini", which Eric Burdon & the Animals covered for their album Love Is, and for those who know, Quatermass on their one and only album from 1970. This version features an extended guitar solo that neither Quatermass (because that band never had a guitarist) or Eric Burdon & the Animals version never had. "Eucalyptus" is a rather laid-back instrumental piece with some early string synth (not exactly sure what it was, but too early for Solina, and the Eminent 310, which did exist in '72, while being made in Holland, for some reason didn't get much use outside of Italy and to a lesser extent, France). "Clown" goes back to the heavy style that is most typical for this band. The album was luckily reissued on CD, and given the kind of music this is, this album would be perfect for Repertoire Records out of Germany to reissue. Instead a small German label called Living in the Past got a hold of it, making it not as easy to get a hold of, but if you can find a copy, get it! Certainly the music is dated, the heavy organ/guitar format of the music makes it obvious that this was the early '70s, but as long as the music is great, as this album demonstrates, I don't care. Truly an amazing and forgotten gem of British prog. If you like early '70s guitar/organ-driven prog, this album is a total must.
Sahara - For All the Clowns(1975krautrock)
Favourite track Souce Part 1 and 2. Album worth a listen but not a classic. Interesting use of instumentation and interludes sounds a bit like Alan Parsons in places.