Saturday, April 8, 2017

Keef Hartley - 2014 - Live at Aachen Open Air 1970

Keef Hartley Band
Live at Aachen Open Air 1970

01. You Can't Take It With You
02. The Time Is Near
03. Halfbreed Suite
a. Intro. Sinnin' For You
b. Leaving Trunk
c. Halfbreed
d. Just To Cry
e. Sinning For You
04. Think It Over

Miller Anderson: Guitar, Vocals
Dave Caswell: Trumpet
Keef Hartley: Drums
Lyle Jenkins: Flute, Guest Artist, Sax (Tenor)
Gary Thain: Bass

The Keef Hartley Band with their felicitous mix of Rock, Blues, and Jazz, which has been counted since 1968 being one of the hippest live bands of their era. Until 1973 they recorded 7 albums and played numerous concerts. Nucleus of the often changing cast amongst founder and drummer of the band, Keef Hartley, have been most of all singer and guitar player Miller Anderson as well as bass player Gary Thain. During their performance in Aachen in 1970 they have been boosted by Dave Caswell (trumpet) and Lyle Jenkins (saxophone, flute). With this team they started on Saturday, July 11th, 1970 around evening on the festival stage at Reiterstadion in Aachen. The band only played 4 songs that day, which completely are contained on the available cd. Even the iconic 'Halfbreed Suite' of their homonymous debut album of 1968 lasted about half an hour. The Keef Hartley Band showed during their performance that they were really exceptionally gifted live musicians. Long lasting improvisations switching to tight organized arrangements, all belted by the bandleader behind his drum kit. Excellent as well: The guitar play of Miller Anderson, who also was responsible for most of the songs. The available recordings have been done semi-professionell with various mikes, which have been fixed at the light traverse, directly on audiotape. The quality is rough but a wonderful example of the fun playing the songs more than 43 years ago. Miller Anderson - who after the late Keef Hartley and Gary Thain - being the only original member of the legendary band, wrote some personal liner notes on this cd. Sireena Records is very proud to be able to presenting this rare sound-document.

A few words to Aachen Open Air 1970. It was held from July 10 to 12 in the Reiter-Stadium Aachen and was organized by three music-loving students. The festival was one of the very first open-air festivals in Germany and presented a mix of German and international rock bands. Admission cost DM 15,00 per day or DM 40.00 for all three days. But one had the pleasure to see experiencing acts like Pink Floyd, Free, Edgar Broughton Band, Caravan, Kevin Ayers, Deep Purple, Amon Duul II, Kraftwerk and, indeed, the Keef Hartley band live. Around 40,000 fans gathered on the three days at the festival site.

I have been a huge fan of this band since the first time I heard them way back. Finding any Live Recordings of them has been a near impossibility. This Recording is not done professionally, and sounds rough. Especially on the Vocals and Horns being frequently over saturated. The Guitar, Bass and Drums seemed to have recorded rather well though. The Performance is 5 Star. Miller Anderson's on fire during his Guitar Solos, especially the extended workout on "The Time is Near". My ears adjusted to the flaws of the recording fairly quickly and I was Transported back in time to this awesome event.
If you are a Miller Anderson Fan then I highly suggest you check this out. It's a shame that there are not more documents of this band from this era. I guess that we should be Grateful to have this!

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