A collection of posts from my original weblog...or the inscrutable rantings of a madman...could be both...

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

CURTIS MAYFIELD & THIRD EAR BAND MINI-REVIEWS

I forgot all about the Curtis Mayfield promo that I got from the part-time gig. It's his debut solo record, called simply Curtis, re-released by Rhino on disc. The sound is great and you know how some re-issues skimp on the extras? Or they dish out lame ones so you think you're getting a great deal? Not so here. The out-takes are worth hearing and even the ones that didn't make the album aren't crap. If you can find this one at an inexpensive price, or used, pick it up..it's a classic!!!

I received my Third Ear Band disc in the mail...yep, another auction...it's their second record, self-titled, from 1970. The line-up is different from the MacBeth one, which was released two years later. This one includes Glen Sweeney and Paul Minns on hand drums and oboe, and Richard Coff on violin. I believe those three are also on "MacBeth". "Third Ear Band" has Ursula Smith on cello, she left the group after a tour to promote this album and I can't remember who replaced her on the next record, Paul Buckmaster, I think. The four tracks correspond to the four elements: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. It was 1970, after all, and uh...these people definitely indulged, like all good hippies. The music is cyclical and droney. "Fire" has a quicker tempo than the others and nearly overwhelms you...well, as much as hand drums and woodwinds and strings can overwhelm you. It is great to listen to through headphones. In fashion for the late 60s/early 70s.."Air" begins and ends with wind sound effects..the same for "Water", with ocean wave sound effects. I like the Third Ear Band's stuff and would recommend them to hard-core prog-o-philes. They're a bit tough to track down at the moment, but worth the struggle. Apparently, they opened a few Plastic Ono Band gigs in London in late '69...there's yr hip credentials, Glen.