Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rare Bird - 1st & Somebody's Watching (1969/73)

First and fourth albums from the UK progressive rock band. The first album, from 1969, contains their biggest hit "Sympathy", whilst both albums contain some impressive keyboard dominated jazzy progressive rock. Recommended. Freak Emporium

Great, underrated debut by this British band that featured two keyboardists, a bassist (who also handles the vocals), a drummer, but no guitarist! Instead we get two guys handling the keyboards, Graham Field on organ, and David Kaffinetti on electric piano. The rest of the band was rounded by Steve Gould on vocals and bass, and Mark Ashton on drums. This is a historic album, for it marks the very first album to ever be released on the Charisma label. The band was said to have formed in October 1969, and to have this album released at the beginning of December 1969. Anyway, the album is best known for the song "Sympathy", which became a hit for them on mainland Europe. But you'll also find the band exploring some great prog rock such as "Beautiful Scarlet", "Iceberg", and "God of War". In between are shorter songs like "You Went Away", "Nature's Fruit", "Bird on a Wing", etc. There's a couple of songs I can live without, such as "Times" which sounds like really bad '50s music, but with the organ replacing the piano (Steve Gould tries so hard to be Little Richard here, it's not even funny, that style of music just isn't Rare Bird), and "Melanie", with lyrics a little too mushy for my liking. But the rest is a demonstration of what was great in the earliest days of prog rock. Proghead72

After Graham Field (organ and assorted keys) left the band, RARE BIRD went thru a bit of a metamorphosis and released an album of “American-funk-prog rock”. Although in a new direction this album still works exceptionally well with some incredible musicianship and song writing. RARE BIRD always had a slight pop funk jazz vibe going on in their music (or I can hear this tendency anyway…) but it is clearly accentuated here. The music is rich and full of excellent musicianship with John Wetton making a guest appearance on this album sporting his bass guitar talents. Overall a solid album with some great tunes but cleary a departure from their 70's heavy organ drenched progressive rock. loserboy Prog Archives



Eddie Riff said...

Thanks for the Rare Bird discs. They were faves of mine way back when!

Donno said...

Thanks for all the Rare Bird albums. I've only had time to listen to the First and Somebodys Watching as yet and they're excellent, much better than I was expecting given that I'd only heard Sympathy before.