26 May 2021 (released)
26 May 2021
In the beginning was Alexis Korner Blues Incorporated which featured among others Graham Bond, Cyril Davies, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Long John Baldry ….. . Korner provided the launchpad for a great many musicians moving from the confines of the Jazz world into Blues and R&B.
One of the bands that formed from Blues Inc. was the Graham Bond Quartet which eventually became the Graham Bond Organization (GBO).
Bond formed the band with Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker from Blues Inc. and John McLaughlin on guitar but McLaughlin was ‘eased aside’ to be replaced by saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith from Blues Inc.
So here we have a band playing mainly R&B and featuring twin sax (Bond also played sax) and Hammond organ alongside Bond’s throaty and coarse vocals and driven by the engine room that would shortly become Cream (with the addition of Eric Clapton).
GBO were, like many other bands, workalholic, often playing every night and even playing two or three gigs in a night. The scene was vibrant with dozens of little cellars or pub rooms hosting Blues clubs. On that basis, it was a great scene for the bands to become really tight and professional but the record labels and studios found it really difficult to translate the vibrancy of bands live sound to disc. Nonetheless, GBO managed, in their 3 years as a band, to lay down many tracks – some self-written and some from other sources – which are collected on this compilation which includes a lot of previously unreleased material.
The set features 88 tracks and includes some real oddball tracks as well as some demos. The recording quality is generally pretty rough but the music shines through most of the time and you do get an excellent feel for the music that GBO were laying down from straight Blues through R&B and some jazz – GBO are unfairly accused of ‘inventing’ Jazz/Rock – and you cannot ignore the quality of the playing or the power they were capable of.
I would say that this is an essential item for anyone whose musical interests lay in British Blues & R&B, if only to understand where much of the music of the seventies had its roots.