Friday, September 23, 2016

Cactus - 1970 - Cactus


01. Parchman Farm 3:05
02. My Lady From South Of Detroit 4:20
03. Bro. Bill 5:10
04. You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover 6:44
05. Let Me Swim 3:50
06. No Need To Worry 6:00
07. Oleo 4:49
08. Feel So Good 6:00

Bass – Tim Bogert
Drums – Carmine Appice
Guitar – Jim McCarty
Vocals, Harp – Rusty Day

Cactus may have never amounted to anything more than a half-hearted, last-minute improvised supergroup, but that don't mean their eponymous 1970 debut didn't rock like a mofo. The already quasi-legendary Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of Bogert and Appice may have provided the backbone of the band's business cards, and soulful, ex-Amboy Duke Rusty Day brought the voice, but it was arguably former Detroit Wheels guitarist Jim McCarty who was the true star in the Cactus galaxy, spraying notes and shredding solos all over album highlights such as "You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover," "Let Me Swim," and, most notably, a manic, turbocharged version of "Parchman Farm." The fact that Cactus chose to tackle this classic blues song just a year after it'd been blasted into the fuzz-distortion stratosphere by Blue Cheer betrays -- at best -- a healthy competitive spirit within the early-'70s hard rock milieu, and at worst it suggests something of a mercenary nature to Cactus' motives, but that's an issue for the surviving bandmembers to duke it out over in the retirement home. And we digress -- for the blistering closing duo of "Oleo" and "Feel So Good" (complete with bass and drum solo slots) easily certifies the Cactus LP as one of the best hard rock albums of the then brand-new decade

The New Cactus Band - 1973 - Son Of Cactus

The New Cactus Band
Son Of Cactus

01. It's Getting Better 03:50
02. I Can't Wait 03:27
03. Hook Line And Sinker 03:55
04. It's Just A Feelin' 04:11
05. Lady (Spend My Life With You) 04:28
06. Ragtime Suzy 02:47
07. Blue Gypsy Woman 03:21
08. Senseless Rebel 03:27
09. Man Is A Boy 03:29
10. Hold On To My Love 04:13
11. Daddy Ain't Gone 03:14

Duane Hitchings - keyboards, flute, vocals
Mike Pinera - guitar, vocals
Roland Robinson - bass, vocals
Jerry Norris - drums, vocals
Manuel Bertematti - drums, vocals

The New Cactus Band, led by Duane Hitchings, released one album (Son Of Cactus) and featured nobody of the original Cactus. Mike Pinera, formerly of Blues Image and Iron Butterfly, came in on guitar, along with Roland Robinson on bass and Jerry Norris on drums. The band then toured live in the Midwest and on the East Coast in mid 1973 with Captain Beyond drummer Bobby Caldwell and former Gregg Allman bass player Charlie Souza. The New Cactus Band soon disbanded. In the late '70s Rusty Day formed another version of Cactus in Orlando, where he had relocated. This version of Cactus featured Steve Dansby on guitar, Dan Keylon and later John Sauter on bass, Frankie Robbins and later Gary Moffatt on drums. Frankie Robbins' brother Dennis along with Dan Keylon also played with the Rockets and Jim McCarty. There are no known studio recordings from this era, though live recordings do circulate. On March 6, 1982, Rusty Day died from gunshots as a victim of a drug deal gone bad.

I own thousands of LPs, but this has always been a favorite. This LP was bashed by the critics, probably since it is NOT the original Cactus, ok, maybe they should have used a different name, (they evolved into Thee Image and cut 2 LPs under that name). This album DOES have Duane Hitchings (keyboards) who was on the last Cactus LP from 1972, "Ot & Sweaty", and the excellent work of guitarist Mike Pinera (of Blues Image and Iron Butterfly, Ramatam, Classic Rock All Stars), bassist Roland Robinson and Jerry Norris. Musically, it is a VERY STRONG and EXCELLENT LP. Not exactly like the original Cactus, but it certainly, without any doubt, stands on it's own, equally as great as any great LPs from the 70s. It shines throughout, and is one of Pinera's best LPs. Another lost LP, the self titled Steel, which is excellent, (if you can find a copy), from 2 years earlier, (Epic-1971), also has Hitchings, Robinson and Norris. Robinson was an overlooked bassist who passed on recently, who worked on these and LPs with Hendrix, Buddy Miles, Mar-keys, etc. Hitchings has worked with countless artists, Rod Stewart, Steve Perry, Buddy Miles, etc, and both him and Pinera worked and recorded w/ Alice Cooper. If you love 70s rock, you'll enjoy this. Thanks to the people who made this possible. A grossly under-rated classic!!!

The Fanz - 1977 - The Grand Illusion

The Fanz 
The Grand Illusion

01. What Is Real 5:35
02. Leaders Of The World 4:05
03. Dead End Street 3:45
04. Look To The Sky 4:20
05. Peace Maker 1:25
06. Jail Bait 4:30
07. Tired & Wired 3:40
08. Don't Hide It 3:25

Drums – Duffy Jackson
Guitar – Charles Michael
Keyboards – Danny Ray
Percussion – Little Kenny
Vocals – Mike Pinera

There is virtually no information to be found concerning The Fanz on the internet. All they left behind was this one album recorded in 1977. Mike Pinera, the former Blues Image guitarist as well as being a member of Iron Butterfly as they began to wane in the early seventies, is credited here with vocals as well as producing and engineering The Grand Illusion. First impressions of The Fanz is that it is mix of fuzzy blues with hints of psyche given the warm if tacky feel of a lounge act, but it's certainly an enjoyable time and a decent album despite the limitations of the recording. The songs are layered with wild solos and Pinera's vocals are put into the mix if only to beef up the songs to give them more cohesion and lose the open ended jam feel. There is nothing too deep or meaningful about the words but this is the albums strong point! It comes across just like a prototype stoner rock album, cosmic blues. "What Is Real" seems to start in the middle of a jam while somebody decided to hit the record button, it's that loose and wild with Pinera's semi coherent and ridiculous vocal lines (_"See My Love, What Is Real Now...SEE My Love..._") spewing up every now and then juxtaposed with some voice box, a nice touch and a classic seventies instrument. The drum sound is mean and tight and at first it might even come across that the drummer Duffy Jackson is a fusion freak but in fact there are two drummers here. Pinera's Blues Image were also noted for using two drummers simultaneously. Well, at least there is one drummer here while another chap, by the name of Little Kenny, is credited with percussion and he certainly loves his Chinese cymbal as he trashes the thing all over the album on a half beat kilter most of the time which can give the music, falsely, some jazz like almost esoteric like structure. The funky "Leaders Of The World" kicks in as smooth as silk and a very heavy and drifting piece of psyche with a neat chorus refrain of "_Leaders Of The World_" with a solid drum kick that punctuates every word. The verses are great and it sounds as if Mike is singing through a beacon with his nose pinched for spacey effect.

Overall The Grand Illusion is a bizarre album, slightly uneven and even erratic but it has got that something special, a chemistry that makes it work if here and there it can come across aimless. Though Pinera played guitar with most of his previous acts he only gets credited with vocals here but Charles Michael who handles the guitar parts does a competent job. There is a neat bass coming through the album especially on the hypnotic and trippy instrumental "Tired And Wired" yet none is credited, though it may well be Pinera and Michael looking after those duties, but what do I know, could even be the keyboard player but there must be a bass in the equation at some stage on the album. The playing, especially the massive guitar, on "Look To The Sky" is straight ahead blues in the vein of a Mike Bloomfield and it is one of the more straighter songs on offer and a fine lazy romp through the blues. "Peace Maker" is a one minute and twenty five second burst of drums and keyboards that might have come from a Spirit session, and in fact Spirit comes to mind on much of this album. Obviously not as refined and defined as the late Randy California's band but The Fanz do a good enough job at that cocky psyche swagger without it being a simple case for plagiarism. Maybe somebody from Florida could know a little more on this band. By all accounts this album was shifted in rather tiny quantities and remains something of an obscurity, though a reissue appeared on vinyl during the mid eighties but again in small quantities. The Grand Illusion is a decent album with plenty of variation to keep the average rock fan happy. Laced with a psyche sensibility and a penchant for sweet distorted blues and flurries of solos The Fanz are a band well worth checking out, but I don't know how this will actually happen since copies of this album are more or less non existent.

Ramatam - 1973 - In April Came the Dawning of the Red Suns

In April Came the Dawning of the Red Suns

01. The Land 6:22
02. Rainy Sunday Evening
03. Betty Lou 4:03
04. I Can Only Love You 5:33
05. Excerpt From Guitar Concerto #1 0:44
06. Autumn Now 3:50
07. Stars And Stripes Forever 2:15
08. Bounty On My Table 3:57
09. Downrange Party 4:53
10. Free Fall 1:00
11. Push A Little 5:20
12. Rhinoceros 3:05

April Lawton Arranger, Bass, Composer, Guitar, Harmonica, Orchestration, Organ (Hammond), Vocals
Tommy Sullivan Arranger, Bass, Composer, Guitar, Keyboards, Mini Moog, Orchestration, Piano, Saxophone, Vocals, Wind
Jimmy Walker Arranger, Composer, Percussion, Vocals

April Lawton's short rock & roll moment in the sun takes a better turn on Ramatam's second attempt, In April Came the Dawning of the Red Suns. Acoustic ramblings like "Excerpt From Guitar Concerto #1," where she plays solo for 44 seconds, are more inviting than much of what was on the group's self titled debut. Since her prowess was a big part of the hype, why those introspective glimpses weren't extended is the mystery. There's also a pretty interlude, "Rainy Sunday Evening," which comes between two awful moments on side one, "Betty Lou" and "I Can Only Love You," proving the previous point. A '50s-type vocal sound slips into this morass, and these two titles display the worst elements found when "experiencing" the band's first effort, despite the fact that only lead guitarist Lawton and Tommy Sullivan remain. With another Atlantic producer, Geoffrey Haslam, taking over from Tom Dowd and heavy string sections replacing the marquee talent former bandmates Mitch Mitchell and Mike Pinera brought to the table, the album has sparks that just never take off. Instrumental portions of "I Can Only Love You" have merit decimated by a god awful vocal from Sullivan, who sings much better on "The Land" and "Autumn Now," two songs that sound like Robbie Robertson and the Band jamming with America after some gig. The heavy orchestration -- 11 strings and eight horns -- conducted by Charles Gouse, brings a certain refinement to this rock band that live and in its earlier incarnation was an all-out assault. Haslam worked with artists and projects as diverse as the Velvet Underground's Loaded, the J. Geils Band, Bette Midler's The Divine Miss M, Delbert McClinton, and others, and he brings his polish to smooth out the rough edges -- but as the late Jimmy Miller used to say (paraphrased), "a big part of it is the talent you're given to work with." When a singer doesn't have that ability to get it across, you can end up with the dilemma facing Ramatam. The strength Haslam brought to the first J. Geils album, bringing it all together and letting it play out, is less-efficient here, though this is a vast improvement over Dowd's work on Ramatam's debut. If the first edition of this ensemble was a poor-man's supergroup, this version finds good production impeded in parts by Tommy Sullivan morphing into that poor-man's Jim Dandy from Black Oak Arkansas. Imagine Dandy attempting to sing to a boogie-woogie version of Cream's music and you'll understand the dilemma. "Stars and Stripes Forever" is a pointless exercise opening side two, but it leads into the shining moment, Lawton's pretty vocal supplemented by Bruce Morgenheim's violin on a song called "Bounty on My Table." That respite is knocked off the table with "Downrange Party," where the group seems to have their Jim Dandy persona clashing with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and some horns to boot -- dreadful. The one-minute "Free Fall" by Sullivan is as enticing as some of Lawton's creative spurts, and the fact that there is some magic that escaped this project is obvious. What was needed was the removal of the grating, pointless pseudo-Southern rock, replacing it with a psychedelic jam à la Iron Butterfly -- a band a former member belonged to. A good digital editor could actually cut and paste and come up with something very special if those involved were so inclined. Then a really special moment, like the '50s send-off "Rhinoceros," would have more punch.

Ramatam - 1972 - Ramatam


01. Whiskey Place 3:23
02. Heart Song 4:57
03. Ask Brother Ask 5:04
04. What I Dream I Am 4:00
05. Wayso 3:25
06. Changing Days 3:28
07. Strange Place 6:06
08. Wild Like Wine 3:48
09. Can't Sit Still 6:02

Bass – Russ Smith
Drums – Mitch Mitchell
Guitar – Mike Pinera
Keyboards – Tom Sullivan
Lead Guitar – April Lawton
Vocals – Mike Pinera, Russ Smith, Tom Sullivan

Recorded at Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida

Ramatam was a sort of mini-supergroup, formed in the early 70's by Mike Pinera, from the Blues Image, Iron Butterfly and Mitch Mitchell, former drummer for Jimi Hendrix. They also had one other distinction, a female lead guitarist, April Lawton, a rare thing in those days. On the surface Ramatam had an impressive musical heritage which should have seen them become a major act, however, the band only stayed together for two years (releasing 2 albums) and then disbanded due to lack of popularity.
Signed by Atlantic, the band debuted with 1972's cleverly-titled "Ramatam".  Produced by Tom Dowd, the album had it's moments, but ultimately was too diverse to make much of an impression.  With stabs at blues, country-rock,  hard rock, and jazz it was simply impossible to figure out who these guys were.  Adding to the problems, horn arrangements sank several tracks, while Dowd gave the album a weird muddy sound.
The band toured all across the U.S during 1972, supporting ELP, Humble Pie and playing shows of their own.
Recalls Bob O´Neal, Ramatam´s roadie:
"I can't pinpoint the exact dates. I don't have any photos but I can definitely remember some of the cities where we did shows and who was headlining on those shows(...) I was living in Memphis, Tennessee with my friend, Steve Dabbs. We were working for a concert promoter in Memphis named Bob Kelley. His company was Mid-South Concerts(...) Ramatam was the support act on a Humble Pie show at the North Hall of Ellis Auditorium. Ramatam's tour manager was Paco Zimmer. This show was one of the first after the band formed. The band was Mitch Mitchell on drums, April Lawton on guitar, Mike Panera on guitar and Carlos Garcia on bass. I can't recall who else may have been in the band.Anyway, Steve and I knew Paco from when he had been in Memphis the year before with Cactus. He offered us jobs as roadies for the band. We accepted the offer and left with the band going to the next show, which was playing in New Orleans at a venue called The Warehouse with Humble Pie.
From there we continued doing shows all over the country for the rest of that summer.We played shows with Humble Pie, Edgar Winter and ZZ Top. I can remember playing Akron, Ohio at a stadium show at the Rubber Bowl with five acts on the show. We also played on a multi-day festival in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania. Between tour segments, the band and the crew lived in a large mansion in Huntington Harbor out on Long Island. It was a really big house with about six bedrooms. We didn't actually spend very much time there but that's where Mitch's wife, Lynn and young daughter lived(...) The band was on Atlantic Records and they were created to be a "super group" made up of stars from previously successful groups with the unique innovation of a "chick" lead guitarist. It was a flop. They didn't sell many records and the whole project dissolved rather quickly after the first few months of playing shows.
Steve and I together set up all of the band equipment. We both handled everything when loading and unloading but then he set up guitars and amps and I set up the drums and we attended to those players during the shows. I would have to say that my relationship with Mitch was a working relationship rather than a social relationship. Like everyone else in the early 70s, I had been a HUGE Jimi Hendrix Experience fan and could occasionally get Mitch to relate some stories of their touring days. I can't say that I recall any particular tales though." [extract from Mitch Mitchell's website]

Tom Dowd produced 1972's self-titled debut from Ramatam, a poor-man's Blind Faith featuring co-author of The Blues Image hit "Ride Captain Ride Mike Pinera on guitar and vocals, and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The "star" of this group was alleged to be April Lawton, a chick who had the Hendrix riffs down, to be sure, but not as creative as Robin Trower and all those other gents who carried Jimi's sound and stylings into the seventies.
An appearance by the group in Boston at the old Music Hall was pure white noise and not very memorable outside of that. The album is a bit more refined, but ultimately fails to deliver the goods.
"Whiskey Place" opens the record sounding like a brazen blend of Ten Wheel Drive meets The Jimi Hendrix Experience without a Genya Ravan or a Jimi to save the day. The horns actually clash with the guitar while the bass has a mind of its own. The production work by Dowd on the first track is totally uninspired and it certainly feels like the act was left to its own devices.

Mike Pinera and Les Sampson's "Heart Song" works much better, a jazzy vision of Traffic's brand of Brit rock meeting that of the West Coast's /Quicksilver Messenger Service.
But it's not enough - Rare Earth type macho vocals do much to implode the disc's potential totally sinking Pinera's "Ask Brother Ask".
Mitchell's great drum work is wasted on the monotony of the hook, and the musicianship gets so fragmented it sounds like Eno's Portsmouth Sinfonia without the humor. The Tommy Sullivan / April Lawton composition "What I Dream I Am", on the other hand, almost gets it done - it's pretty tune with flutes, acoustic guitar work and simple percussion from Mitch.
It fails because of vocals which just can't cut it, painful singing obliterating the disc's best chance for recognition. Was Tom Dowd out having coffee or just not interested in this whatsoever?
America could've used an answer to Steve Winwood's poppy jazz, and a Genya Ravan would have brought this experiment out of the quagmire it finds itself in with her voice and production intuition.
The blues here undefined and the tape mix far from cohesive on the other band collaboration,"Wayso". Ramatam, diffused and confused, is a tragic statement of record labels trying to make a talent rather than finding one. "Changing Days" is another decent Sullivan / Lawton easy feeling co-write with horrible vocals eradicating the core goodness of the songwriting. Mike Pinera's "Strange Place" takes the Kiss riff, from "Shout It Out Loud" and puts it in a jazz setting with vocals that sound like they are auditioning for Savoy Brown...and failing to get the gig.
By 1973 the group would be pared down to a power trio of Lawton, Sullivan and Jimmy Walker on drums.
Perhaps bassist Russ Smith, ex-Iron Butterfly Pinera and Mitch Mitchell saw the writing on the wall, but how they couldn't come up with something much, much better than this is the mystery.
There's enough combined talent here to have delivered a real gem. With this album Ramatam have re-written Euclid's axiom and turned it on its head: here the whole is less than the sum of its parts. The final track, "Can't Sit Still", sounds like producer Dowd looped his old Ornette Coleman and Allman Brothers tapes with his Black Oak Arkansas projects. And if Ramatam hadn't toured, people might've thought that's exactly what this was [Review by Joe Viglione]
Although my initial interest in this band and album was the connection with the Jimi hendrix Experience via drummer 'Mitch Mitchell', the similarity with Grand Funk (particularly the vocals) and the complex guitar work of April Lawton makes this album a worthy inclusion on my blog. Although the album cover is nothing to write home about, the music on this album is very colourful and diverse. It is a shame however that the the brass sections on this album are so badly produced, and somewhat stifle the brilliant guitar work of  Lawton on many of the tracks.

Mike Pinera - 1979 - Forever

Mike Pinera 

The Sun Side
01. Can't You Believe 3:41
02. I Am The Bubble 4:52
03. Looking At The Light 3:20
04. Goodnight My Love 4:11
05. Someone Like You 5:00
The Moon Side
06. Moonlight Melody 3:16
07. Do What You Do 3:29
08. Here It Comes Again 2:47
09. Lost And Found 4:11

Mike Pinera: All Instruments and Vocals

Former Blues Image frontman Mike Pinera's second solo album, released in 1979, was very much the son of its predecessor Isla, a very laid-back collection that eschewed his earlier, hard-driving blues in favor of a more late-night feel. But with the much-loved "Goodnight My Love" on board, it would be hard to say he'd chosen the wrong direction. The other key highlight is "Here It Comes Again," a tremendous number that apparently features an uncredited songwriting contribution from Captain Beyond's Larry Reinhardt. Elsewhere, "I Am the Bubble" and "Looking at the Light" are eminently likeable, but too much of Forever seems to be reaching toward the same kind of vibe that too many other singer/songwriters of the era were touting, when what Pinera's audience really wanted was for him to start letting rip once again. Where was Iron Butterfly when we needed them?

Mike Pinera - 1978 - Isla

Mike Pinera 

01. Alone With You 3:10
02. Good Thing 2:50
03. It's You 3:07
04. Nobody Wins 4:08
05. Must Get Thru 3:30
06. Isla 5:25
07. Fly Fly Away 3:40
08. Good To You 4:05
09. Lady Divine 2:10
10. For Another Day 4:03

Bass – Mike Pinera
Congas – Flaco (tracks: A3)
Drums – Donny Vosburgh
Guitar – Mike Pinera
Keyboards – Duane Hitchings, Mike Pinera, Terry Weiss
Vocals – Mike Pinera, Terry Weiss

Some material on this album was released on the Manticore label under the moniker, "Thee Image".

Isla was Mike Pinera's long overdue solo album, self-produced for Capricorn in 1978. Recorded with what Pinera fans might easily describe as an all-star lineup (keyboardist Duane Hitchings and drummer Donny Vosburgh were his bandmates in Thee Image; Hitchings also played alongside him in the New Cactus Band), it is very much a successor to the two Thee Image albums that preceded it. With its strongest moments cut in a similar mold to mid-period Doobie Brothers, or even recent Eric Clapton, its ten songs include the Spanish language title track, alongside the gorgeous "Nobody Wins" and "Lady Divine," while the opening "Alone with You" leans strongly, and successfully, into rock-disco territory. Overall, however, it's a very laid-back set, which -- like contemporary Clapton LPs -- might render it a shock for anyone coming in from Pinera's already legendary past with Blues Image, Iron Butterfly, and Ramatam. But it will still delight guitar aficionados, and Pinera's voice remains unmistakable.

Iron Butterfly - 2014 - Live In Sweden 1971

Iron Butterfly
Live In Sweden 1971

01. Butterfly Bleu 23:12
02. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida 24:29
03. Procession (Original 7" Version) 2:49
04. Evil Temptation (Original7" Version) 2:26
05. Don't Look Down On Me (Original 7" Version) 2:21

Bass – Lee Dorman
Drums – Ron Bushy
Guitar – Larry Reinhardt
Guitar, Vocals – Mike Pinera
Keyboards, Vocals – Doug Ingle

After the recording of Heavy, the band fractured when three members left, leaving only Ingle and Bushy holding the bag. When informed by Atlantic Records that their debut album wouldn’t be released if there was no band to tour behind it, the pair recruited bassist Lee Dorman and guitarist Eric Brann, a 17-year-old musical prodigy. It was this line-up that recorded the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Ball albums, representing the band’s commercial apex, the former LP selling millions of copies, the later certified Gold™ for a half-million in sales. When Brann left the band in 1969, he was replaced by a pair of talented guitarists – Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt and Mike Pinera, previously of one-hit-wonders Blues Image (“Ride Captain Ride”); this is the line-up that would record the band’s 1970 album Metamorphosis.  

Live In Sweden 1971 offers better sound quality than Live At The Galaxy 1967, not only because of the passage of four years and improved sound technology, but also because it was taped for a live radio broadcast rather than from the middle of the audience. The album consists, primarily, of two lengthy live tracks – the first, “Butterfly Bleu,” was drawn from Metamorphosis. While the song clocks in at slightly more than fourteen minutes on vinyl, on stage the band would extend that running time considerably with acid-drenched instrumentation; here on Live In Sweden 1971, the song runs better than twenty-three minutes. It’s everything you might expect from a psychedelic-rock band at the dawn of the 1970s – lengthy passages of squalid sound, raging guitars, steady drumbeats, and Ingle’s trademark keyboards buried in the mix. Although it’s an exhilarating ride the first time you take it, two or three listens later it just becomes tedious.

Which leaves us with “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The song was a consistent crowd-pleaser among stoned audiences worldwide; it’s performed here at half-again its original studio running time, beginning with Ingle’s throaty vocals and sepulchre organ riffs before dancing into a free-form jam. The addition of guitarists Pinera and Reinhardt, neither of whom played on the original studio recording, brings a new texture and sound to the song that had been missing before. Although Lee Dorman’s familiar and notorious walking bass line still holds down the bottom end, the two guitarists weave various interesting patterns throughout the song. Their skills add a dimension previously lacking to the song, one that holds up better after a few listens than does “Butterfly Bleu.”

This disc was taken from the last tour of Europe that Iron Butterfly did before Band Leader Doug Ingle decided to quit.Butterfly Blu and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida are the only tracks that are live.The rest are what I think are early acetates that were handed to Record Companies before a band would be signed.The three demos turned up when the Janus,Italian record label sold them to the public,in the form of 45rpm singles.A few have surfaced in record shops from time to time.Pocession,Evil Temptation and Don,t Look Down On Me are the pre-Heavy group recordings.The last three songs were released in the early 1970,s in vinyl 45 rpm form.Don,t Look Down On Me is the only track that was not written by the members of Iron Butterfly.The recordings are for the diehard fan who wants everything Iron Butterfly,the demos are interesting to hear the band in it,s very raw form.

Iron Butterfly - 2014 - Live In Copehagen

Iron Butterfly 
2014 -
Live In Copehagen 1971

01. Best Years Of My Life
02. Soldier In Our Town
03. Stone Believer
04. Easy Rider (Let The Wind Pay The Way)
05. Butterfly Bleu
06. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
07. Goodbye Jam (with members of YES)

Recorded Live at the Falkoner Theater, Copenhagen, Denmark - January 25, 1971

Bass – Lee Dorman
Drums – Ron Bushy
Guitar – Rhino
Guitar, Vocals – Mike Pinera
Keyboards, Vocals – Doug Ingle

Recorded on the final night of the band’s 1971 European tour, Live In Copenhagen 1971 is another hollow-sounding, bootleg-quality tape albeit with slightly more presence than its predecessor. Unrestricted by the demands of a radio broadcast like on the previous night in Sweden, the band rips and snorts through a lengthy set list that draws five of its seven songs from Metamorphosis. Although Pinera and Reinhardt were considered hired guns in the studio, by this time they had been fully integrated into the band, and their addition not only upped the quality of the musicianship, but also the band’s potential.

Sadly, that potential wasn’t always fulfilled, as shown by “Best Years of Our Life.” The bluesy number relies too heavily on Pinera’s vocals and ample six-string diddling and never evolves far beyond its mundane bar band construction. “Soldier In Our Town” is much more intriguing, a mid-tempo dirge that nevertheless offers more depth to the band’s individual performances; the song’s dark ambience is supported by a subtle percussive rhythm and jolts of electrifying guitar. Pinera takes front and center again on “Stone Believer,” a funky lil’ romp built on Ingle’s riffing organ and Bushy’s steady drumrolls. The band’s lone single from Metamorphosis was “Easy Rider (Let The Wind Pay The Way,” a turbo-charged rocker that benefits from the band’s increasingly harder rock sound. Aside from an infectious Asian-tinged riff, the song’s odd time changes and fractured fretwork show more imagination than most of the tracks from Metamorphosis.

The dreaded “Butterfly Bleu” is revisited once again, at virtually the same excruciating length as before, and while it may have been a highlight of the band’s live performances, it doesn’t translate well to disc. This version has slightly more depth to it than the previous night’s performance, albeit with worse sound. It wouldn’t be Iron Butterfly without “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” performed here with a raucous intro that shows the band shaking its collective groove thang to a vaguely Latin rhythm before roaring into the familiar church organ kicks in. This reading of the song seems a bit more energetic, the guitars more crushing, the banging of cymbals more frenetic, Ingle’s vocals deeper, spookier, and somber…sort of like late-night horror movie host Sir Cecil Creape singing an operatic aria.

The rarity factor of Live In Copenhagen 1971 is increased by the inclusion of “Goodbye Jam,” an almost eleven-minute jam with Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford of Yes. The then up-and-coming prog-rock legends were on the tour as the second opening band (the Top Ten chart successes of Butterfly’s previous two albums putting them in headlining position), and several members of Yes became friendly with their tourmates. The result is an invigorating, if cacophonous extended miasma of instrumentation that, while short on melody or even recognizable song structure, is nevertheless a heck of a lot of fun, featuring a lot of screaming guitars and screamed vocals, fluid rhythmic play, and explosive percussion.  

Iron Butterfly - 2014 - Live at The Galaxy 1967

Iron Butterfly 
Live at The Galaxy 1967

01. Real Fright (2:38)
02. Possession (5:31)
03. Filled With Fear (4:47)
04. Fields Of Sun (3:31)
05. It's Up To You (2:57)
06. Gloomy Day To Remember (2:45)
07. Evil Temptation (6:38)
08. So-Lo (4:03)
09. Gentle As It My Seem (4:04)
10. Lonely Boy (5:57)
11. Iron Butterfly Theme (7:06)
12. You Can't Win (4:35)

- Doug Ingle / keyboards and vocals
- Ron Bushy / drums
- Jerry Penrod / bass
- Darryl DeLoach / vocals and percussion
- Danny Weis / guitars

The amazing things are that Danny Weis wasa decent guitarist and some of these songs actually appeared on their third sudio album "Ball" Some ssongs are a bit different, the lyrics are (in places) different and Eric Brann lifted a few licks from Danny Weis (but he was a good guitarist in his own right). I'm not sure exactly why Danny and Jerry Penrod left the band (but they ended up in Rhinoceros, their first album was also excellent but they were great in that first album!), but Darryl DeLoach had a minimal (thankfully) part to be sure. I mean a fifth member for a little tambourine and background vocals, and not very good ones at that.

"Heavy" was done by this line-up before Weis, Penrod and DeLoach left and Erik Brann (a teenager) kept them on track for a while on In-A-Gadda Da Vida" forward. Lee Dorman was always a great bassist and showed all his stuff in "Captain Beyond" I like all of thid band's releases except "Live" , but this purchase was a surprisingly good one. (One star off for sound quality, but it's not bad considering.)

The band had a revolving door of members I was totally unaware of. I knew it wasn't the real Iron Butterfly I knew on the commercially released "Live", but holy cow. Just check it out @ [...] to be amazed. This isn't even the true "original line-up" !By the end, Erik Brann in his 2 albums of incarnation of Iron Butterly was the only member I knew and he was not in the original lineup. Ron Bushy evidently has use of the group's name now. RIP Eric and Lee.

Iron Butterfly’s Live At The Galaxy 1967 is a curious memento of the short-lived line-up that recorded the band’s debut album. Capturing a July 4th, 1967 performance at the notorious L.A. club, the track list features half-a-dozen songs that would be recorded later for Heavy, three that wouldn’t be waxed until two years later for their 1969 album Ball, and a handful that would never be heard from again. The sound quality of Live At The Galaxy 1967 is par for an audience bootleg; befitting the (relatively) primitive recording gear at the time, the performances are hollow and cavernous, rife with distortion, and often seemingly out of sync. Still, for this rare a performance, it’s tolerable overall, and even with the sonic drawbacks, what is striking is how “heavy” the songs actually are.

After roaring through the strident, instrumentally-busy “Real Fright,” which would re-surface on Ball, “Possession” is the first of the Heavy tracks. Opening with Ingle’s chiming organ and Bushy’s martial rhythms, Weiss embroiders his guitar on top of the almost-chanted vocal harmonies. It’s a gothic-sounding performance, with plenty of hallucinogenic overtones, dense and yet you can still pick out and admire the individual instrumental contributions amidst the swirls of sound. Of the other Heavy tracks, only “Iron Butterfly Theme” and “You Can’t Win” stand out; the former is a cacophonic instrumental that was definitely acid-inspired and noisy, pre-dating a similar chaotic art-rock trend by a decade. The latter is a riff-heavy rocker with some nice guitar playing and Ingle’s ever-present keyboards.

Some of the other tracks on Live At The Galaxy 1967 are much more interesting. “Lonely Boy,” which would be recorded later on Ball, suffers from probably the worse sound on the album, but it’s an affecting ballad with the slightest of melodies, featuring instrumentation that is more subtle than anything else on the album. Another Ball track, “Filled With Fear,” offers appropriately muted vocals, squawks of terrifying sound, scraps of wiry guitar, and Bushy’s deliberate, marching drumbeats. Of the “lost” tracks, “Evil Temptation” shows the most life, with livewire guitar licks that sound like broken shards of glass, up-tempo organ riffs, bombshell percussion, and an overall punkish intensity that rivals the Stooges.

Iron Butterfly - 2011 - Fillmore East 1968

Iron Butterfly 
Fillmore East 1968

DISC ONE (Friday, April 26):

First Show
101. Fields of Sun (4:00)
102. You Can't Wind (3:17)
103. Unconscious Power (3:10)
104. Are You Happy (4:22)
105. SO-LO (4:05)
106. Iron Butterfly Theme (4:54)

Second Show (Incomplete)
107. Stamped Ideas (3:17)
108. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (17:18)
109. SO-LO (4:10)
110. Iron Butterfly Theme (5:40)

DISC TWO (Saturday, April 27):

First Show
201. Are You Happy (4:45)
202. Unconscious Power (2:48)
203. My Mirage (4:49)
204. SO-LO (4:00)
205. Iron Butterfly Theme (5:03)

Second Show
206. Possession (5:48)
207. My Mirage (5:00)
208. Are You Happy (4:23)
209. Her Favorite Style (2:52)
210. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (15:33)
211. SO-LO (4:43)
212. Iron Butterfly Theme (5:34)

- Doug Ingle / Keyboards, Lead Vocals
- Erik Braunn / Guitars, Backing Vocals
- Lee Dorman / Bass, Backing Vocals
- Ron Bushy / Drums, Percussion

Recorded April 26 and 27, 1968.
Released by Rhino Records under their Handmade division.

*Interesting Side Note: Recorded two months before Iron Butterfly entered the studio for their second album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

Iron Butterfly made its New York City debut at the Fillmore East in the spring of 1968, recording all four shows from April 26 and 27. The tapes reveal the Los Angeles quartet – singer/organist Doug Ingle, bassist Lee Dorman, guitarist Erik Brann (just 17 at the time) and drummer Ron Bushy – on the verge of its defining success, mixing tracks from its first album Heavy, with songs that would appear two months later on the band's multi-platinum magnum opus, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. The well-defined sound heard on these previously unreleased recordings is the result of the quality of the original tapes and the meticulous restoration used to prepare them for this project. Original recording engineer Lee Osborne recorded all the shows using a ½" four-track recorder running at 15 ips. Unfortunately, audio signal issues made the first two songs from the second set on April 26 unusable. What remains, as veteran music journalist David Fricke writes in set's the liner notes, "is the sound of hard-rock immortality in the making…" For the performances, Iron Butterfly drew material primarily from the just-released album Heavy, playing the tough yet nimble "Unconscious Power" in the early show both nights, and closing all four sets with the potent one-two punch of "So-Lo" and "Iron Butterfly Theme." The band also used the Fillmore concerts to showcase three songs from what would become Iron Butterfly's second album, including "Are You Happy," "My Mirage" and its title track, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," which the group deployed to great effect in the second set both nights. Fricke writes: "[T]hese recordings, from that spring weekend in 1968, catch Iron Butterfly – and "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" – at a transformative point and ferocious pitch: a great acid-garage band with sharp pop instincts, hardened and tightened by long service on the Sunset Strip, about to establish a lasting definition of heavy rock."

Review: Iron Butterfly, “Fillmore East 1968”


Where were you 44 years ago today?  If you happened to be passing by 105 Second Avenue in New York City’s East Village, you would likely have seen a fantastic group of names displayed on the marquee at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East.  On Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, 1968, Iron Butterfly shared an explosive bill with Traffic and Blue Cheer.  The Fillmore East itself is now just a memory, of course.  Its exterior and entrance now welcomes you to a bank, and the storied auditorium has been demolished.  But the music recorded at the venue lives on.  Artists as diverse as The Allman Brothers Band, Laura Nyro, Miles Davis and The Mothers of Invention have all released live albums from the Fillmore East.  Recently, Rhino Handmade unveiled another live set from the legendary New York spot with Iron Butterfly’s Fillmore East 1968 (RHM2 526745, 2011).

The new release is culled from the band’s four sets on those two April evenings, three of which are presented in full.  (The Friday late show is incomplete due to tapes of two songs being unusable.)  “A gentleman by the name of Jimi Hendrix will be joining us on Friday night” is the first thing you hear from the Fillmore’s announcer before he introduces Iron Butterfly to the eerie strains of an organ.  We’ll hear variations on this pre-show announcement more than once over these two discs; there’s a definite feeling of déjà vu as the band runs through a tight set four times with some variations in each set.

The sets focus mainly on material from Iron Butterfly’s first album Heavy, and predate the official commercial release of the band’s most famous song, the sprawling “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”  In fact, it hadn’t been recorded yet at the time of these concerts, so there’s no recognition applause for the song.  One wonders, what did the audiences make of the epic song, hearing it for the first time?  Two versions of it are on Fillmore East, the band having saved it for the late shows.  One workout runs 17 minutes, similar to the running time of the studio original; the other take is a comparatively brisk 15 minutes!   Still perhaps the the apotheosis of psychedelic hard-rock excess, “In-A-Gadda” is introduced in the late Saturday set with “This is called ‘In Our Gadda Da Vida…which doesn’t mean a damn thing!”   In addition to the title track, two more songs were previewed from the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album (“My Mirage,” “Are You Happy”).  “Her Favorite Style,” played at Saturday’s late show, wouldn’t arrive on vinyl until 1969’s Ball.

Iron Butterfly can boast one of the most frequently altered line-ups in rock history, with over 50 line-ups having played under the band’s name over the years.  Three of the group’s original five members departed after studio debut Heavy, so Fillmore East offers a chance to hear new members Lee Dorman (bass) and Erik Brann (guitar) joining Doug Ingle (organ/lead vocals) and Ron Bushy (drums) on songs from that album.  Though they hadn’t been playing together for very long, these four members were attuned to each other intimately.  This album makes for a stronger overall collection than the somewhat-maligned 1970 Live album from this same quartet (on which “In-A-Gadda” took up the entire second side!) recorded over a year later, in May 1969.

Hit the jump for more!

All of the material on Fillmore East 1968 is entirely self-composed by the band, with no covers in the set.  (Allen Toussaint’s “Get Out of My Life, Woman” appeared on Heavy but wasn’t reprised live at the Fillmore.)  The band’s acid, proto-metal sound found full expression in a live setting, but there aren’t many improvisational surprises here.  In many cases, these renditions are similar to the studio originals, but with more bite and the energy that can only come from a band performing to an appreciative audience at a high-profile venue.  Having toured with other psychedelic rock bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Doors, the members of Iron Butterfly had experience under their belt and played up their role as a kind of sinister answer to the buoyant sounds post-Summer of Love.

Impassioned, mannered vocals mark the spooky “Fields of Sun,” and Ingle is positively malevolent on “Possession,” with wild laughter:  “When a man has a woman and he doesn’t really love her why does he burn inside when she starts to love another/It’s possession!”  (“Possession” is one of the two songs missing from Friday’s late set, along with “You Can’t Win,” but both songs are heard from the other sets.)

The band’s calling card “Iron Butterfly Theme” shows up four times, though each version runs just 4-5 minutes.  With its scorching guitar and ominous tone, it’s a glacially-paced noise attack.  Friday’s late show performance sounds even more amped up than the early show, with the band giving its fiery all.  “Theme,”, however brief, does encapsulate the band’s strengths without pesky lyrics getting in the way!  As dirge-like as “Theme” is, the blazing “Unconscious Power” is quite the opposite, with its breakneck tempo and plentiful attitude.  Another potent sonic assault is “Are You Happy,” and the emphasis here is on the band’s fine musicianship, rather than on the songs themselves.  Many of the melodies are more extensions of riffs than fully developed pieces of songcraft.  The sounds can be diverse, though, such as the twisted circus atmosphere that the band creates on “Her Favorite Style.”

The groove gets a bit mellower on the hypnotic “So-Lo,” played at all four shows.  The song’s very few lyrics are repeated over a baroque-style organ and a confident, bluesy bass line with a woozy lead vocal asking in song, “Have you heard about the word that’s going round?  Have you heard about the girl who put me down?  Well, she became aware of the fact that I was running round.  And consequently my behavior put me down…”

The lyrics are somewhat less unorthodox on “Stamped Ideas,” which grafts a counterculture sensibility on top of what’s more or less a traditional love song: “You stay away from people made from plastic in a mold/And keep your stamped ideas inside your head untold/Because, I, baby, am protecting you against/The kinds of things that other people do now/I, baby, am protecting you ‘cause I’m in love with you.”  The simple lyrics never detract from the heavy backing.

Rhino Handmade hasn’t cut any corners on this release, handsomely housed in a sturdy, oversized digipak.  As recorded at the Fillmore East by Lee Osborne, sound is stellar for a live recording circa 1968, and in the set’s well-designed booklet, there are a couple pages of notes about the sound and recording technology.    Wyn Davis has mixed and mastered the tapes for this set produced by Steve Woolard.  David Fricke offers an informative essay placing this album in the band’s chronology.  In addition to small photos of the band, there’s a double-page spread of a far-out Fillmore East poster from artist David Byrd (also responsible for the iconic Broadway logos of the original Follies and Godspell).

The embryonic sounds of hard rock are sometimes ignored as we look back with rose-colored glasses at late-1960s psychedelia.  To recall just how potent a forceful rock quartet could be, look no further than Iron Butterfly’s Fillmore East 1968.

Iron Butterfly - 1976 - Sun and Steel

Iron Butterfly 
Sun and Steel

01.Sun And Steel (4:01)
02.Lightnin' (3:02)
03.Beyond The Milky Way (3:39)
04.Free (2:41)
05.Scion (5:02)
06.Get It Out (2:54)
07.I'm Right, I'm Wrong (5:27)
08.Watch The World Going By (2:59)
09.Scorching Beauty (6:43)

- Erik Braunn / guitar, vocals
- Ron Bushy / drums, vocals
- Phil Kramer / bass, vocals
- Bill DeMartinez / keyboards, vocals

Erik's second and last try. Historically speaking, Sun And Steel is nowhere near as interesting as Beauty. The hippie elements are growing more and more feeble (no sing-along anthems on here), and Erik's Roxy Music influences are also on the way out, only peaking towards the very end of the record. On the other hand, the songwriting is clearly improved - every single one of the tracks on here has at least something to offer to you. The guitars are louder and brawnier, the solos are more 'cathartic', and the riffage is more evident. Oh, and the ballads are more heartfelt. Have I missed anything?

The main bulk of the songs on here are gritty rockers (with a couple ballads to soften the impression), sandwiched in between two 'soulful epics' - the title track and 'Scorching Beauty', which for some unclear reason didn't make it onto the previous album itself. These 'soulful epics' don't seem to have any significant or memorable melody, but hey, that's a usual thing with soulful epics. Soulful epics should grab you not with their structure or melody, but with the energy level and the passion and the heat. And believe me, there's enough passion and heat in both. 'Sun And Steel' builds up towards a pretty impressive climax, with Eric giving his best David Bowie (Bryan Ferry? James Brown? Who cares?) impersonation and playing lots of delicious licks, while the stately organ rules in the background.

Oh, by the way, they've replaced the keyboardist with a certain Bill DeMartines, but that didn't make a lot of difference. As for 'Scorching Beauty', it's arguably the best song off both of the albums. Erik manages to squeeze out a soothing, attractive and at the same time heavily distorted tone out of his guitar and pairs it with the Ferry-ish croon; to this, add thick layers of organ, orchestration and occasional tinkling pianos, and a furious, heartfelt vocal delivery, and here's a recipee for a minor masterpiece. As much as I'm not a fan of the 'heavy soul' genre, I have to admit the band worked some mini-wonders on here. Funny how they didn't bother to release the song immediately, on Beauty itself; did they really deem it inferior to dreck like 'Before You Go'?

And that's just two songs. Then there's the rockers. This stuff I likes. "Lightnin'" sounds a little corny when it comes to the refrain ('She was a lightning in my eyes...'; don't remember what it reminds me of, but maybe so much the better), but the main 'body' of the song, with its heavy funk and spooky little synth 'barkings' everywhere, is impressive. 'Free' takes off on a rather generic riff but transforms it into, well, something not entirely generic; I mean, the first notes are the usual stuff - a riff that's been used by thousands of heavy rock performers, but the last notes are an unexpected twist. Ah, if only I knew how to write down music... then again, not everybody knows how to read music, right? I wouldn't want to pass for a careless nonchalant snob, either.

'Scion', on the other hand, doesn't offer us anything far removed from generic, but I just like the way it flows by - powerfully and raunchily, and same goes for the Mellotron-drenched 'I'm Right I'm Wrong'. I tell you, these rockers aren't bad at all: they are just not very interesting as compared to 'Hard Miseree' or something like that. Still tons of times better than your usual Aerosmith, as the band pulls out all its tricks in desperation, with witty sound effects, synth solos, distorted violins, and loads of other things in the background which I'm just not able to notice. One could write an entire term paper around these numbers.

One could also write an entire term paper around the ballads on here. 'Beyond The Milky Way' begins as a corny bublegum piano pop ditty, then suddenly transforms into a powerful sappy ballad that lies somewhere in between Elton John and Paul McCartney. Gee, now that's clever. Maybe I just fell for the bubblegum once in my life, but I can't resist the song. Oh yeah, David Bowie also had a lot of similar stuff in his early days, so if you're going to condemn the song for 'sugarness', better think twice and at least remember that the melody is very pretty. And 'Watch The World Going By' is even better... definitely better, as nobody is going to accuse me of falling for bubblegum pop this time. In other words, it's another take on Bryan Ferry, with a tear-inducing acoustic guitar/piano melody that reminds me both of Phil Collins' 'More Fool Me' and - yep - 'Stairway To Heaven'... man, I feel like an idiot. But I can't help it.

Okay, I think I really overdid the references part in this particular review; what a downside to rock'n'roll education. It's all true, of course: there's a lot of Bowie and Ferry and Lennon and McCartney and Collins and Elton John and God knows who else here, but is there enough Iron Butterfly? Probably not. Mayhaps they just shouldn't have called the band 'Iron Butterfly', seeing as the records didn't sell anyway. On the other hand, if they hadn't dubbed themselves 'Iron Butterfly', no way I would have bought these albums or even learned of their existence. In the immortal words of George Ade, 'there is everything in a name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but would not cost as much during the winter months'.
Just listen to these albums, please.
by George Starostin

Iron Butterfly - 1975 - Scorching Beauty

Iron Butterfly 
Scorching Beauty

01.1975 Overture (4:19)
02.Hard Miseree (3:42)
03.High On A Mountain Top (4:03)
04.Am I Down (5:22)
05.People Of The World (3:24)
06.Searchin' Circles (4:38)
07.Pearly Gates (3:26)
08.Lonely Hearts (3:15)
09.Before You Go (5:35)

- Erik Braunn / guitar, vocals
- Ron Bushy / drums, vocals
- Phil Kramer / bass, vocals
- Howard Reitzes / keyboards, vocals

When Iron Butterfly broke up in 1971 after a brief but significant existence, it seemed the band was finished. In 1975 however, guitarist Eric Braunn and drummer Ron Bushy got a band together, using the Iron Butterfly name for obvious marketing reasons, and recorded two further albums for MCA records. "Scorching beauty" was the first of these albums.

Anyone looking for another "In-a-gadda-da-vida" will be sadly disappointed by this collection. The album contains nine 3-5 minute songs which, while reasonably diverse, are prosaic at best. The opening "1975 overture" is not particularly impressive musically, but the chanted vocals and Celtic influences misleadingly give the impression that the band is looking to explore interesting new territories. The second track, "Hard miseree" quickly dispels any such notions though, as the band rip off a HAWKWIND riff fronted by some dubious vocals. The track does benefit from some decent if all too brief organ.

After this, we settle down to a succession of songs which sound like THREE DOG NIGHT rejects. "Searchin' Circles" is an insipid ballad which sails rather too close to TDN's "Going in circles", and "People of the world" is a clear attempt at a finding a chart single ("Joy to the world"?).

The CROSBY STILLS AND NASH like "Pearly gates" is slightly more interesting with its alternating tempos, but the main relevance of this track is that it is co-written by a certain JON ANDERSON. Only the closing "Before you go" has any real appeal, and even then it is only once the vocal section has finished and the album plays out with a decent, HOT TUNA like guitar section.

Several things occur to me as I keep listening to Scorching Beauty. First, I wonder at the careful and loving craftsmanship of the record. Just nine songs on here, and none are that long: a couple do develop into feeble jams, but for the most part, the length is adequate. The production is not brilliant, but decent: the sound is very cozy and homely, as if the band is playing right here in your living-room. No arena connotations here, and no 'band-from-Hell' connotations either: just good old plain rock'n'roll with loud, but not overloud guitars and nice touches of organs and synths throughout.

Second, Erik Braunn suddenly displays an amazing singing voice - on the more loud rockers he tries a bit too hard to scream his head off, but on the ballads and the 'quieter' numbers in general he sings in a weird croon, almost reminding me of Bryan Ferry. No, no, 'tis not a joke: I could have sworn that Braunn drew a lot of inspiration from none other than Roxy Music. If you don't believe me, grab this album and start it from track number six, 'Searchin' Circles': a terrific moody rocker driven by Erik's powerful riffage and Reitzes' majestic organ riff, and above it comes Mr Braunn's passionate, trebley vocal delivery that manages to encompass a lonely man's desperate feelings almost perfectly. And the bleating on the chorus - 'In circll-l-l-l-es! In circ-l-l-l-l-l-es!' - is great fun, too.

Third, it has often been said that Scorching Beauty has nothing to do with the former Ingle-led Iron Butterfly, but it ain't right. Some of the songs on here are, in fact, quite hippiesque: '1975 Overture' and 'People Of The World' are just the kind of universalist idealistic anthems you'd expect from a late Sixties record. Here, though, they are 'updated' for the Seventies, and in a nice way, too: 'Overture' opens with an Eastern-flavoured lovely synth melody and Bushy's martial drum rhythms, and 'People Of The World' starts as a typical Seventies grumbly rocker before subsiding into a groovy sing-along anthem with the silly, but charmingly naive refrain ('making each day a little bit better - all together, all together') that keeps repeating over and over a la 'Hey Jude' coda.

Fourth, these guys really know how to rock: 'Hard Miseree' rolls along like a shiny roller coaster, with Erik playing as fast as he can (which isn't really that fast, but it totally suits me, at least) and blazing his way through with some impressive off-the-wall solos. And 'Am I Down' has perhaps the catchiest vocal melody on the record, with Erik once again delivering that weird croon of his. The only misstep is the fake 'hysteria' at the end of the track, but nothing offensive about that, either; it's just that Mr Braunn is not a very convincing nor gifted screamer.

Iron Butterfly isn't quite Iron Butterfly without Doug Ingle. With that said, the band was apparently suffering from an identity crisis here as they sound more like T.Rex than anything else. But T.Rex is (was) a good band so that's not entirely a bad thing. Scorching Beauty saw the return of the 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' era guitarist Eric Braunn along with the only truly original IB member (along with Doug Ingle) drummer Ron Bushy. That fact alone makes this lineup the most interesting post-Ingle lineup to date. Braunn does deliver some good guitar work here, even though the material never really reached higher ground and the band's efforts pretty much fizzled out among all the top notch music from other bands.

Though there are no clear highlights on the record, the material stays fairly strong throughout. Braunn, Kramer and Reitzes all share the vocal duties and everyone performs real well. The two previous Iron Butterfly records that come to mind while listening to this are Heavy and Metamorphosis. Yet still Scorching Beauty sounds unique when comparing to the rest of the IB catalogue.

In conclusion, this album is far from bad. It may not be the most typical Iron Butterfly record but once you've come to terms with that, you may find that it's a pretty decent 70's rock venture. Atleast it's worth checking out.

Iron Butterfly - 1970 - Metamorphosis

Iron Butterfly 

01. Free Flight (0:50)
02. New Day (3:20)
03. Shady Lady (3:57)
04. Best Years Of Our Life (4:00)
05. Slower Than Guns (3:50)
06. Stone Believer (4:25)
07. Soldier In Our Town (3:22)
08. Easy Rider (Let The Wind Pay The Way) (3:07)
09. Butterfly Bleu (13:58)

- Larry 'Rhino' Rheinhart / guitars
- Mike Pinera / guitars
- Ron Bushy / drums, vocals
- Lee Dorman / bass, vocals
- Doug Ingle / keyboards, vocals

IB's fourth studio album is somewhat of a return to form after their disastrous ball album, but by then guitarist Erik Brann had left to form another goup with other ex- IB members. He was replaced by two guitarist Mike Pinera and Larry Reinhardt, thus return the Butterfly to a quintet again. The fact of adding two guitarist will not alter their sound too much, though. If the album was well received critcally and artistically much better also, it sold quite poorly causing the IB to fold its wings. Compared to Ball, the album is much more rock-sounding (with a touch of blues) and in itself is this is vast improvement and there is a more political/rebellious anti-war sense in some of their tracks. After a small intro that is to raise our hopes for a more adventurous album, New Day and Shady Lady are still your distinctly IB numbers with some soul influences but this time sounding a bit like fellow LA band Steppenwolf. Worthy of note, four track's lyrics were written by a certain Edmondson from that particular group. And this might be the problem, actually, IB sound completely empty of inspiration at least in songwriting dept. There are still a lot of tracks with a definte Motown influences, such as the less than good Stone Believer or the poignant Soldier In Their Town. The second last track Easy Rider is again a wide call to the wolf from the steppe with its screeching guitars. Not completely absent from their earlier albums, there is a good dose of Blues influence on this album as can be heard in the lengthy 14-min finale Butterfly Bleu, which will be a likely exit for the group and the highlight of the album with its psyched-out middle section.
As I wrote above IB will break up around mid-71, but will reconvene for a further two albums in 75 and 76, but both Scorching Beauty and Sun And Steel will not make much an imact on the public for one evident reason: IB had said everything in their first two albums. I, myself only heard once or twice those albums in the 70's and they certainly left me no lasting impression. IB has again reformed in the 80's and later in the 90's. Up until now, the group still tours the club scene around the globe, much to the joy of nostalgic fans. But if IB was ever of interest to progheads, it was because of their embryonic days were they were certainly among the head of the pack of groundbreaking groups that helped Pop metamorphose into ROCK.
by Sean Trane

The quietly intense "Soldier In Our Town" (on Metamorphosis), addresses the hypocrisy of war heroism with the lines: 'There's a statue in the square / But the things they're hiding, it ain't fair / ...'Cause beneath the stone / The greatest man is all alone' - a potent shift from the image of the monument to the gravestone. With its soul wrenching vocal (Ingle's best ever performance) and a rare use of earthy acoustic guitar, Iron Butterfly delivers one of the most heart-felt antiwar statements of the early '70's.

In the 1993 liner notes to the Rhino compilation Light and Heavy, Ingle said the composition concerns 'war in general and our culture's inbred thought that people have to fight. And it's about the few elite at the top that control the masses.' This particular recording (essentially an Ingle solo session) exemplifies the internal dissension that befell Iron Butterfly after scoring their mega-success.

Erik Brann, stressed out from the endless touring, departed the year prior. In an 1988 interview with the Los Angeles Times, he recalled the grueling tours with Iron Butterfly, saying 'My first vacation I bought a car, a Jaguar, and parked it outside the hospital where I spent two weeks for ulcers and gastroenteritis.' It required two guitarists to fill his shoes. These new members (Mike Pinera, of "Ride Captain Ride" fame, and Larry 'Rhino' Reinhardt) quickly asserted themselves and, refusing to follow Ingle in search of a mellow (yet idiosyncratic) muse for the band, shifted the sound towards mainstream rock (along with bassist Lee Dorman, they refused to perform on "Soldier In Our Town").

After another tour, Ingle quit the band. Presaging this development, the LP cover for what would be the last (authentic) Iron Butterfly album, Metamorphosis (1970), prominently displays a coffin on a barren mountaintop (who, save Donovan, could have kept the Butterfly alive?).
by Barry Stoller

Iron Butterfly - 1970 - Live

Iron Butterfly 

01. In The Time Of Our Lives (4:42)
02. Filled With Fear (3:42)
03. Soul Experience (4:09)
04. You Can't Win (3:27)
05. Are You Happy (4:03)
06. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (18:50)

- Doug Ingle / Organ, vocals
- Erik Brann / Guitar
- Lee Dorman / Bass
- Ron Bushy / Drums

 bought this album in 1983. The main curiosity was to listen to the live version of "In-a- gadda-da-vida", but the album is good as a whole.
The album starts with three songs form their "Ball" album. "In the Time of Our Lives" has a heavy introduction with distorted guitar. This guitar is so distorted in some parts of the song that it sounds like Brann lost control of it! This is a Ingle-Bushy composition, which ends with a snare drum, played like in a military band. "Filled with Fear" is another "sinister" song, reflected more in Ingle`s vocals. He also wrote this song alone. "Soul Experience", a song composed by Ingle-Bushy-Brann-Dorman, is another Hippy-Flower Power song which has some interesting arrangements, one of them a note-by-note melody played together by the organ and the guitar, like extracted from an early "electronic music played on the moog" album, albums which were very popular in the late 60s / early 70s. I remember that this particular section of this song (but taken from the studio version) was used in a T.V. commercial for car mechanical tools in my country in the early 70s!

The next song is from their first album called "Heavy", but composed by founder members Danny Weis and Darryl DeLoach, called "You Can`t Win". It is a very "Pop Rock" song in style. I don`t know why they chose to include this song in this live album as it wasn`t written by Ingle or Bushy, the remaining founder members of the band.

The next song is from the "In-a-gadda-da-vida"album, a fast version of "Are You Happy?" (composed by Ingle), played with a lot of distortion from Brann`s guitar. I prefer the studio version of this song. The last song of this album is "In-a-gadda-da- vida" (also composed by Ingle), played with some differences: a) the drums solo is longer that the studio version, but played without using the "sound effects" applied to the drums, so it sounds more "simple" than in the studio version; b) the guitar solos are different in structure, but Dorman plays the bass very well; c) one part of the song is not played (the part which includes a bass riff near the end of the song) or was edited out of the album; d) the song is longer in comparison to the studio version due to the drums solo, but played maybe with "an urgency" to finish it, like they were tired of playing it many times on tour.

One funny thing that I listened in this album was the interaction between the band and the audience. It is maybe more of "historic importance" now: a woman in the audience sings a not identified "song" during the drums solo! It was the time of the Hippies (the cover design is also very "Hippy" / "Flower Power" and psychedelic in style). This interaction is similar to parts of The Doors`"Absolutely Live" album. "Those Were the Days", as Mary Hopkin sang in 1968! "Peace and Love"!

Iron Butterfly - 1969 - Ball

Iron Butterfly 

01. In the Times of Our Lives (4:50)
02. Soul Experience (2:52)
03. Lonely Boy (4:56)
04. Real Fright (2:44)
05. In the Crowds (2:13)
06. It Must Be Love (4:26)
07. Her Favorite Style (3:13)
08. Filled With Fear (3:46)
09. Belda-Beast (5:50)
10. I Can't Help But Deceive You, Little Girl (3:34)
11. To Be Alone (3:05)

- Doug Ingle / keyboards, vocals
- Erik Brann / vocals, guitar, bass guitar
- Ron Bushy / drums, guitar
- Lee Dorman / bass guitar, drums

During the progressive music revolution in the late 60s, one of the most surprising successes was that of Iron Butterfly. The band was formed by Doug Ingle, who added Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and briefly, Danny Weiss. Together, they were arguably the first to amalgamate the terms 'heavy' and 'rock', following the release of their debut album called "Heavy" in 1968.

Later that same year, Weis left the band and guitarist Erik Braunn stepped in. When Iron Butterfly relocated from San Diego to Los Angeles, the band started to gain a live following and soon was gigging with the likes of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.

Ball, - which surpassed "Vida", was less of a success, despite being a better collection of songs, notably the invigorating 'It Must Be Love' and the more subtle 'Soul Experience',  turning "Gold" record, climbed to No. 1 and remained on the charts for 44 weeks.

The band is at the peak of their fame in 1969. Their previous album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is still charting and this Ball album is even going to a higher raking than its world-known predecessor (sources differ since on the band's web-site, it is claimed to have reached the first spot, while other sources mention a third place).
The band should have been present at Woodstock as wel that year. Since they were stuck at an airport and that the situation around the spot of the festival was a total chaos, they asked to be brought back and forth to the festival site by helicopter; but this request was never truly considered by the festival organizers.

They probably missed a great opportunity to impress the world. I guess that In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida played at Woodstock would have had the same meaning for Iron Butterfly than I'm Going Home for TYA or Soul Sacrifice for Santana. But we'll never know.

The heavy psychedelia is always part of their sound (thank god) and as such, the opener In The Time Of Our Lives is probably the best you can get in here. They keep on with the music that was so influential to Mark I (Purple). While being a heavy track, it is a middle tempo one with a fine melody sustained by languishing keyboards.

The overall mood is also more soul oriented which is maybe not the best move they have made so far. The well names Soul Experience almost sounds as if it were coming out the Motown repertoire.

On this album, the production and the overall sound quality are much better than on their two previous releases and the music is more polished, but at times too syrupy IMO like Lonely Boy and In The Crowd. Again, Motown is just next door.

It is a pity because when the band stick to his basic psychedelic rock music, they are still able to produce fine numbers. I would just have liked to get some more like Real Fright.

At this stage of the album, Iron Butterfly tries to convince that they can still rock, but It must Be Love is only a passable song which is saved by a fine guitar solo. The overall heavy-jazzy beat can not really overwhelm me.

The next good song is the conventional and heavy Filled With Fear. It demonstrates that once again, they are much more at ease in this psyche rock mood that these ugly Motown sounds. The scary feeling provided by the backings is quite pleasant as well.

The closing number has some Doors flavour due the to the organ sound. It holds some burlesque mood as well and although it is enjoyable, we are not confronted with a masterpiece either.

This album features a couple of songs but I can hardly consider it as a good album.
by Zowie Ziggy

Sure there is no In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, but there is a whole album better than that! and Ball IS that album! The songs are shorter but so much better in almost every way when compared to the previous album. Not to mention that the lyrics are superb.
All the songs from this album are more melodic and more psychedelic than the Vida album.

The opening track In the Time of Our Lives is a wonderful song and the opener of any Iron Butterfly album. This song is dark and sorrowful and was way ahead of its time.

Soul Experience is a beautiful track, one of Iron Butterfly's most melodic psychedelic song.

Lonely Boy is the only weak track off this album, although I am quite fond of it, but it is mostly a soulful song with a great psychedelic atmosphere and great guitar solo by Erik Braunn.

Real Fright is one of Iron Butterfly's more faster paced and darker songs. The title is pretty self-explanatory, the song is about being so deathly afraid to the point of going completely insane.

In the Crowds is the most pop oriented song off this album, but no more than the first half of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (such as Flowers & Beads, Most Anything You Want, etc...)

It Must Be Love is just simply one of their best.

Filled with Fear - Now onto Iron Butterfly's darkest and most powerful song. It pretty much continues where Real Fright left off, lyrically wise that is. It is about a person who is losing their mind to fear and knows it, but can't stop it. The only thing they can do is sit there and watch as their mind withers away.

Belda Beast is, in my opinion, Iron Butterfly's best song they ever recorded. It is completely drenched in acid and wrung out with the most melodic psychedelia the band ever attempted. It is sung by Erik Braunn with the most beautiful guitaring he's ever done. This is simply their most proto-progressive song.

Iron Butterfly - 1968 - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Iron Butterfly

01. Most Anything You Want (3:44)
02. Flowers And Beads (3:09)
03. My Mirage (4:55)
04. Termination (2:53)
05. Are You Happy? (4:29)
06. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (17:05)

- Doug Ingle / vocals, keyboards
- Erik Brann / guitar
- Lee Dorman / bass
- Ron Bushy / drums

Iron Butterfly are a fluke in the music world. Their sound is one thing and another all at once. Basically, they're psychedelic, with creepy classical Vox organ by Doug Ingle, Middle Eastern influenced guitar by Erik Brann, a nd tribal drums by Ron Bushy. But there's also a hard edge to it, which explains why the album has been cited as a big influence on heavy metal.

Their winding instrumental breaks also inspired Black Sabbath and the like as well. There's also a slight pop feel, close to bubblegum on "Flowers And Beads," sort of a hippie take on those classic '60s Dion/Righteous Brothers sort of thing. Mainly, it's all mystique and trippy soundscapes.  Sound quality is pretty good. Except for "Termination," the songs were written by vocalist/organist Doug Ingle.

For this album, he crafted love songs, and dreamy tales of exploration. "Mirage," a tribute to a friend just passed, is one of the best. "Termination," inspired by Greek myths, is by far the most colorful, though. All in all, not bad.  In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was Iron Butterfly's second album. Vocalist/organist Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Buhsy are joined by newcomers Lee Dorman and guitarist Erik Brann, the latter adding great depth to their sound. "Most Anything You Want" is a great fun opener, "Termination" is a psychedelic classic, and "Mirage" is just dreamy.

But as we all know, the best song is the title track, that great 17-minute finale with wild solos and all kinds of metal-prophesying arrangements. It made them famous and remains one of the best moments of the late 1960s. This is Iron Butterfly's most important album, and includes their most important song. It's a gas.
by Avram Fawcett

 Most everyone remembers of IB, through this album and its side-long title track. No doubt you have read (or will read) the other reviews, so I will not push too much the analysis of the tracks, but state a few facts: the album stayed three years in the Billboard chart and almost two in the top ten. It has the first lengthy drum solo to be recorded on a studio album and unfortunately it will create a precedent all too often imitated. By now, Ingle and Bushy are the only members from the original line-up, but Ingle was to take on lead vocals, and Lee Dorman will take up bass and Erik Brann will play guitar.
The first side consists of short tracks that follow suit of their debut album, but the garage rock intonations are much less present, but I still hear some Motown influences in most tracks as well as some classical overtones. Most Anything You Want is really dominated by Ingle's organs , but one should be aware that we are not talking of the lush Hammond organ sound or even the relative equivalent Farsifa, but rather the Vox Continental (so popular with garage bands - cannot deny their influences on IB) and it might sound like a very cheap sound and resembles The Door's Ray Manzarek sound. Flowers And Beads is a rather insipid love songs aiming at hippies, but much more interesting is My Mirage with a much slower pace and a very psychey feel (reminding a bit of the Door's debut album). Termination is another cool track that sounds like it would come out of a Doors album (Waiting For The Sun for example) but it is interesting if all too short. Are you Happy is one of those tracks that shows that IB were also relatively good at their instrument and clearly indicates what is coming up next. Maybe a little too much?

Clearly the album spotlight is the 17 min In The Garden Of Eden, which is a great track if it was not plagued by lengthy solos but in this regard, I must say that they fare much better than Vanillla Fuge does in its side-long track on Near The Beginning or Love on their Da Capo album. Especially noteworthy for its lengthy drum solo, the tracks is not boring as the solos stays structured enough and do not lose focus either as do the other two examples I just gave you.

At the time, this album was groundbreaking (and therefore historically significant), today as with most of IB's albums, one can say it is a bit out-dated, but nothing to be ashamed of. However it always evaded me as why this album was so successful, and why people remember it so fondly almost 40 years after it came out (outside its obvious Doors influences on side 1): it sounds quite dated today and not really progressive - and this is coming from someone eternally stuck between 65 and 75 ;-) Nuff said!!
by Sean Trane

One of the greatest albums of the late 60s psychedelic rock explosion, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was also among the most successful, shifting millions of copies (8 million is the last figure I read) by the end of the 60s. The influence of this album is undeniable, although having a distinctly "uncool" main man like organist Doug Ingle (as opposed to say Jim Morrison or John Lennon) has ensured that Iron Butterfly is treated with derision by a fair number of critics.
While there are five relative short songs of varying quality, this album is made or broken by the 17 minute long title track. Largely based on a single menacing blues riff, this excellent piece nonetheless contains an Eastern style "fanfare", a massive Erik Brann wah-wah drenched guitar freak-out, delicious Gothic organ (with hints of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen thrown in for good measure), an excellent drum solo by Ron Bushy and a percussion extragavanza that draws on African rhythms ... all done with some exciting use of dynamics and numerous shifts of mood. While it can be dismissed as a psych jam, I still find myself astounded by some of the playing, and it shocks me that the whole thing was done in a single take.

As for the shorter songs, one or two will seem pretty fluffy and dated, but I take delight in My Mirage (which races along thanks to some excellent keyboard work from Ingle ... guaranteed to excite fans of the Doors), Termination (another timeless slab of creative psychedelic rock, with a lovely dream outro) and the urgent stomper Are You Happy which some superb free-form psych. Ingle's unfortunate habit of populating his songs with lyrics about "holding hands and walking lands with groovy girls wearing flowers and beads" means that some of the material may just make you cringe, but I still think this album is far more alive and creative than a lot of the sterile prog that's produced today. My CD has a bonus track that is a live version of the title track, and while it's not as an exciting as the studio original, it does show that Iron Butterfly was a band with impressive chops.

Unfortunately, as with contemporaries Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly made its best music in the process of opening doors, but once those doors were open, the band itself was unable to make it through. While bassist Lee Dorman and latter day guitarist Larry "Rhino" Rheinhardt would re-surface in the progressive outfit Captain Beyond, it's fair to say that Iron Butterfly was unable to follow through on the promise and innovation that's shown quite frequently on this thrilling proto-prog record. If you're looking for pure classic progressive rock, this record isn't essential, but as with Marillion of the 80s and The Mars Volta of this decade, Iron Butterfly was making some of the most progressive music of its time. ...