Thursday, July 7, 2016

Graham Bond - 1972 - Faces and Places Vol. 4

Graham Bond 
Faces and Places Vol. 4

01. Wade In The Water
02. Big Boss Man
03. Early In The Morning
04. Person To Person Blues
05. Spanish Blues
06. Introduction By Dick Jordan
07. The First Time I Met The Blues
08. Stormy Monday
09. Train Time
10. What'd I Say

Bass, Harmonica, Vocals – Jack Bruce
Drums – Ginger Baker
Organ, Saxophone [Alto], Vocals – Graham Bond
Tenor Saxophone – Dick Heckstall-Smith

Producer – Giorgio Gomelsky

Recorded live at Klook's Kleek Club in London, 15th October 1964
1st Issue

This nine-track concert gig has appeared in various guises and through various labels (most notoriously Springboard International in the U.S. in the late '70s), and it has a dubious reputation on vinyl. In 1988, however, it appeared on CD under this title, and it finally seemed to justify the trouble it took to record. The Graham Bond Organization's studio recordings were admirable, sometimes impressive, but never essential parts of the British blues boom, leading one to wonder precisely what -- apart from the presence of two future members of Cream -- the group's reputation was based on. The answer is on these sides, recorded by Giorgio Gomelsky "under extreme difficulty." Listening to the band rumble and surge through standards like "Wade in the Water," "Big Boss Man," "Stormy Monday," and "Early In the Morning," it's easy to understand how they got signed and what the record companies were looking for, and also why they didn't get it -- this is gritty stuff, loud R&B with some jazz elements, Dick Heckstall-Smith blowing up a storm on sax, and more than a little stretching out (especially by Baker, whose solos here (check out "Early In the Morning") are more enjoyable than most of what he did with Cream), all of it pretty intense and none of it easy to capture in the studio. The audience and the urgency of concert work were both essential to the group's functioning. On the technical side, there's some distortion, even some overload, and Jack Bruce's bass isn't captured in its more resonant form (and what electric bass on any live recording before about 1968 ever was?), but the electricity is here, along with the immediacy, and this CD may be the way to best appreciate this band. --- Bruce Eder, AllMusic

What was it like to be sitting in a club in London during the 1960s with one of the top R&B bands of the time playing on the stage in front of you? This is probably about the nearest you can get with the Graham Bond Organisation rocking Klooks Kleek. Former members of Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, the Graham Bond Organisation contained Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker who later made up two-thirds of Cream. At the time, London was full of blues bands, many of which, like the Graham Bond Organisation, had developed from roots in the jazz clubs of the capital.

The album was recorded towards the end of 1964 in-between the release of the band's two albums. Jack Bruce had left by the time the second album was available so presumably it was not long after this gig.

The album opens with the powerful Wade in the Water. This is a taste of what is to come later in the gig. Released as the b-side to the second single Tammy, the instrumental Wade in the Water is far more representative of the band. The track acts as a good introduction, showcasing the different instruments. Listen out for the amazing bass guitar solo in Big Boss Man. This sounds like a guitar solo but bear in mind that Jack Bruce is playing bass.

Early in the Morning is introduced as a Ginger Baker song but, like Wade in the Water it is a traditional song that has been arranged by the group and again it is an instrumental. Person to Person Blues features Graham Bond on vocals.

The instrumentals continue with Spanish Blues. Presumably this has a Moorish influence as the track sounds more Middle Eastern than Spanish!

Train Time will be familiar to Cream fans. This is noted as a group composition although Cream's BBC Sessions credits it to Jack Bruce. The track features a superb harmonica performance by Bruce.

The final track is the Ray Charles standard What'd I Say. (