As Your Mind Flies By
02. Down on the floor (2:41)
03. Hammerhead (3:31)
04. I'm thinking (5:40)
05. Flight (19:39)
- part 1. As your mind flies by
- part 2. Vacuum
- part 3. New York
- part 4. Central Park
Bonus tracks on 2007 Esoteric Recordings remaster
06. What you want to know (Mono single version) (3:34)
07. Hammerhead (Mono single version) (3:23)
08. Red man (3:29)
- Mark Ashron / drums, vocals
- Graham Field / organ, keyboards
- Steve Gould / lead vocals, bass guitar
- Dave Kaffinetti / electric piano, keyboards
I remember this record having a different cover than the plain blue one; there was a kind of profile of the god Mercury or something, with the little rare bird that was on the first album’s cover. But I don’t know which release(s) of the album had that cover since my only copy is a very old cassette of dubious origin.
This is one of those bands that were pretty much a non-descript generic entity where I grew up at least, in the American heartland. These guys got lumped in with Uriah Heep, Procol Harum, Vanilla Fudge, Wishbone Ash, Steppenwolf, probably even Rare Earth as sort of psychedelic, sort of heavy rock, sort of bluesy, and sort of boring unless you were stoned. It wasn’t until many years later that it dawned on me Rare Bird were rare indeed for their first few years, being one of those few bands without a guitarist and featuring two keyboardists.
I still think they are a bit boring, mostly because this music hasn’t aged all that well in the past thirty-seven years. The recording quality is average at best, and I’m not just saying that because I’m listening to it on cassette. The organ mixes are quite flat, and there is that pervasive bass sound that many bands like this had in the very early seventies. If you heard a few minutes off this album and didn’t know the band or the music at all, you’d still place it between 1969 and 1971 without any problem whatsoever.
The most interesting track is of course the nearly twenty-minute long “Flight” with its heavy organ and keyboards tempo variations, the middle section that does that morph- to-feedback-and-noise like some of the Edgar Winter stuff from around the same time. Come to think of it, its possible Winter picked up some ideas from listening to these guys since his big breakthrough was three or four years after this came out, and this was a minor hit in the States. There’s also the strange ‘Bolero’ organ passage at the end which will really screw with your mind if it is altered at the time, and even if it isn’t this is a pretty innovative rendition of that Ravel classic. Not a very creative ending though, considering one has to invest nearly twenty minutes of their life to get to that point. A pretty typical funk-lilted short crescendo and then an abrupt cease. Sort of leaves a guy hanging.
The other four tracks are pretty average fare. “What You Want to Know” is a plain sort of love song with fairly heavy organ; “Down on The Floor” slowly builds on a piano and solo vocal pattern but also ends too abruptly to really complete a thought; and “I'm Thinking” sounds as if it might have been intended as a radio single.
Only “Hammerhead” offers varied keyboards that aren’t dominated by organ, and lyrics that seem to be anti-war, or at least anti-establishment, but in a sort of medieval dragon-slaying sort of way. This is the stuff you expect to hear out of 1970, and well- done.
But two songs don’t make a classic, even if one consists of half the album. This is a decent record, probably not more than a collector’s item to those who don’t have fond personal memories of when this was new. But since there are undoubtedly several of those types of people around, and since I really don’t have anything majorly bad to say about this record. Recommended to prog fans who like old stuff that doesn’t age all that well.