Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Baba Scholae - 1969 - 69

Baba Scholae

01. 1984 - Melancolia Street - 8.40
02. Half Day - 4.03
03. Will Meant Ciment - 2.10
04. Julius - 2.14
05. La Chasse Au Serpent A La Flute - 1.55
06. Go Down Sunset - 2.31
07. Telegram - 0.31
08. Song My (My Lai) - 3.29
09. Kaleidoscope - 2.02
10. Keep Rythmique - 4.04
11. Just Like George - 1.01
12. White Bird - 3.53
13. She's An Indian In Minor - 2.13
14. Song For A New Connection - 2.58
15. L'oeil Du Maitre - 4.44
16. 1984 - Melancolia Street - 11.24

Lyrics and Music for all songs Labat de Rossi, Holbrook, Vigh, Baytis, Jones, Woodbine, Piat.

Steve Baylis - Drums
John Arthur Holbrook  - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Alan Jones - Bass
Jean-Yves Labat De Rossi - Flutes, Saxophone, Bombard, Keyboards, Vocals
Jules Vigh  - Guitar, Melotro
Woody Woodbine  - Lead Vocals

This is an archival release that was originally recorded in 1969 but never released until 2012. The original lineup from 1967 involved musicians from France led by Jean-Yves Labat de Rossi who plays flute, keys and sax mainly. Later, after moving to the USA he met Todd Rundgren and became his synth player on his UTOPIA project. 

Back to the 1967 lineup for a minute... they would go to London and open for TRAFFIC thanks to producer Tommy Weber and his contacts in the UK but it wasn't a good experience as someone stole all their music equipment before the show but they still played with borrowed instruments, although it didn't go over well and the band went back to France and broke up. Jean-Yves eventually went back to London thanks again to Tommy Weber and with some British musicians they recorded this album professionally but with all the in-fighting they broke up before releasing the album to the public. 

In the liner notes they stress that this recording is a true recording from the master tapes with no remastering or sound treatment of any kind. This is an album that Prog fans should enjoy as BABA SCHOLAE were intent on making something fresh and different to what was going on in 1969. Of course you can tell it's from the late sixties mainly from a couple of the more commercial sounding tunes but I like how innovative some of this would have been for 1969. 

"1984-Melancholia Street" is easily the longest song at over 8 1/2 minutes and a top five for me. An experimental intro gives way to piano, bass and drums before it cams down quickly with strummed guitar, flute and vocals. The processed vocal melodies are interesting 2 minutes in and then back to the previous theme. An excellent instrumental section follows then back to the processed vocal melodies as themes are repeated. A powerful sound arrives around 4 1/2 minutes with electric guitar and drums standing out. It's jazzy a minute later. Nice. Vocals are back after 6 1/2 minutes to the end.

"Half Day" opens with flute and bass leading the way early as drums join in as the tempo picks up and vocals follow. Catchy stuff. Some 60's sounding vocal melodies follow. I like the sax that is at times dissonant starting after 2 minutes and it continues to almost 3 1/2 minutes as drums and bass support. "Will Meant Ciment" has a catchy beat with intricate sounds coming and going. Interesting stuff and we get an explosion before 2 minutes that lingers to the end.

"Julius" is a poppy sounding track with vocals, acoustic guitar, drums and bass. A real toe-tapper. "La Chasse Au Serpent A La Flute" is the only track with mellotron and it's strings in the background. We get flute and acoustic guitar along with spoken vocals. "Go Down Sunset" like "Julius" is quite catchy and commercial sounding. "Telegram" is a short piece of acoustic guitar, drums, spoken vocals and a sample of running water.

"Song My(My Lai)" is a top five for me. This is the most powerful of the lot including aggressive guitar and vocals. A nice change of pace and it ends in a haunting manner. "Kaleidoscope" is uptempo with plenty of guitar before it settles with vocals as these passages are contrasted. "Keep It "Rythmique"" opens with bass, acoustic guitar and vocal melodies. I like this. It picks up after a minute. Drums and an exotic sound take over. This one has some unique sounds in it compared to the other tunes. It's okay. 

"Just Like George" is Zappa-101. The humour and funny voices scream Frank and the Mothers. No doubt an influence. "White Bird" is a top five and one I really enjoy. Strummed guitar to start as reserved vocals join in. It turns fuller with drums and more. So good! "She's An Indian In Minor" is a top five as well. Just a feel good vibe for me on this one. I like the bass and flute especially. 

"Song For A New Connection" is cool as we get a strong Jazz feel. Yes my final top five tune right here. We get vocal melodies and check out the drum work late and the bass throughout. "L'oeil Du Matre" is experimental and slightly avant I'd say. Spoken words can be heard in the background as well. 

Well I'm really glad I picked this one up. There's a really good interview with Jean-Yves in the liner notes plus some other info in French and English. While it's disappointing that this didn't get the release it deserved back in 1969 we can be thankful the master tapes were kept and in great condition. This is well worth checking out.

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