Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Roger Bunn - 1969 - Piece Of Mind

Roger Bunn
Piece Of Mind

01. Road To The Sun
02. Jac Mool
03. Fantasy In Fiction
04. Jac Mool (slight return)
05. Crystal Tunnel
06. Three White Horses
07. Catatonia
08. Suffering Wheel
09. Guido The Magician
10. Powis Square Child
11. Old Maid Prudence
12. Humble Chortle
13. Jason's Ennui
14. 110o East + 107o North
15. A Weekend In Mandraxia
16. Life is a Circus
17. Falling Ships
18. In the Future
19. Lin-da's Jukebox
20. You and I
21. In love with you babe
22. Up for Grabs

Bunn was a master guitar player and specially a virtuoso on the double bass. Actually he was the first guitar player of Roxy Music. The story goes like this. Brian Ferry asked him to shave his beard and moustache and to dress properly for Roxy’s first tour (We all know Ferry's horrendous sense of fashion and clothing aesthetics). Well, Bunn was an incorrigible rebel and his answer was leaving the band for good.

That's how Bunn faded out of the mainstream music scene and that’s how a legend was born.

A great 'lost' album from the 1960s - we've heard that claim before - but this time it really was an essential and groundbreaking album that got 'lost'. Through replacing the Beatles at the Star Club, Hamburg and after a request to Paul McCartney, Roger Bunn recorded some demos at the Beatles office in London in 1968 and somehow the tapes were sent to Philips Records in Amsterdam. Dutch producer Frans Peters teamed Roger up with arranger Ruud Bos and some fine classical and jazz musicians to record in Holland. All the album songs - including music and lyrics by Roger and John Mackie - were very original and far ahead of anything that was happening in the UK and USA at the time. Remember that in those prehistoric pre-Euromusic days there was little co-operation between countries for projects of this sort. This LP was one of a kind and that's probably the reason the album got lost. Deals were struck for it to be released in Germany and the UK - but both were on labels that gave Piece of Mind minimal or no promotion. We have added seven demos and studio recordings to the set, among them Roger's predictive vision of "In The Future" and the cynical "You and I" which tell of a world of never ending wars and home computers. And "Life Is A Circus", a classic song of its time - recorded - but never released - by David Bowie. Roger tells his own story in the 36-page booklet which includes tales of the musicians he worked with and for in his struggles against the machinations of the powerful big labels and reward organisations of the record industry - both then and now. Piece of Mind is a difficult album to put in a musical bag, with its fusions of jazz, blues and rock - and it is easily seen why Roger's music influences others rather than allows itself to be influenced by anyone. But if you liked the 'Top Gear' sounds of the late 60s and had thoughts of travelling East to Afghanistan along with Roger on the Hippy Trail, you'll like it. And as you take the Coltrane/McCoy Tyneresque "Road To The Sun" you'll wonder why this album never got to be one of John Peel's fave raves.... About the Artist Roger Bunn was hardly ever a household name in music, even at the peak of his career during the last three years of the 1960s. He somehow managed to play with lots of important people and bands, and at major gigs -- and intersected with the early career of David Bowie, as well as playing a role in the founding of such outfits as Roxy Music -- but he only ever got known especially well among musicians, rather than to the public. During the mid-'60s, he worked with a wide array of players, including Graham Bond, Zoot Money, and Joe Harriott, and crossed paths with Jimi Hendrix. By his own account, he also used a massive amount of recreational, often hallucinogenic drugs across the years leading up to the late '60s, which caused a memory lapse on aspects of his life that lasted well into the 1980s. He played with the Ken Stevens dance band and in Marianne Faithfull's backing band, and also lost out to Mick Taylor in a bid to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. After a stint playing with the expatriate South African Blue Notes, Bunn ended up working alongside Glenn Sweeney and Dave Tomlin in a trio called Giant Sun Trolley, which played on the same bills as Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and Procol Harum at the UFO Club. He was, through the trio, part of "The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream," a renowned psychedelic extravaganza.

When I first listened to this album sent by Princess Guadalupe I couldn’t believe what my ears were telling to my brain. Questions started to explode out of my head at a dizzying rate:

> What’s this pop-psych artifact?
> Are these the best arrangements I’ve ever heard in a rock album for a long time?
> Can such an unknown album be this good?
> Jesus! Should I make room in my all time top 100 list for Roger Bunn’s Piece of Mind?

Well, I haven’t answered these questions yet but I truly hope you help me with them, by listening to this secret jewel that we just got.

These are the words that come to my mind while I listen to it: Jazzy, Orchestral Crooning, Extraordinary Horn Touches, Soul?, Singer-Author, Folk, Bing Crosby on Acid, Smart, Honesty , Beauty, Uplifting , Deep, Blue, Great Voice! What? Who?

The BBC DJ Pete Drummond said about Piece of Mind "It is a wonderful album. It’s far too musical and intelligent to succeed."

In 1969 Bunn entered the studio to record this album with the aid of the Dutch National Orchestra due to the fact that he got a contract from Phillips which is based in Holland. As far as our research has gone that was the last professional thing he did on a recording studio under his own name although he played double and electric bass with dance orchestras, Blues bands and Jazz ensembles as a session man. (Spontaneous Music Ensemble is probably the best known of all these combos)

But his story doesn’t end here. There’s another side of Bunn we need to mention. He spent his life fighting for different Human Rights organizations. Living of sporadic guitar and bass lessons, it seems that he decided to forget stardom and instead he became a rabid defender of the dispossessed and a paladin for the common man. (I haven’t mentioned that Bunn’s father was a highly decorated war hero, so there was a sense of duty and a deep wish of fighting for peace in him)

In the early 90’s he managed to get a cheap old computer that he used to fight Apartheid and Corporate Corruption with all his strength. In 1994 he founded MIHRA – Music Industry Human Rights Association.

The rest of the facts are the matter of legend. Very little has been published of his personal life and his last years.

He died on July 28th , 2005.

After having read his biography I believe he was a giant. Musically and Morally.

These are the things that are worth to get serious about.

Keep Fighting and…

Keep Listening..!!!


  1. Hello i just want to ask for the link ...Am i blind or are you forgetful :-) ?

  2. im getting old...


  3. How can this have not yet made your top 100? It's been in my top 50 since the early 70's and I am twitching with excitement at the extra tracks but have to wait 16 mins for the previous entry to download before I can start to download this - curse you filefactory!