Sunday, 25 October 2009

Dollar Daze: Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll & The Trinity - Open


Black Cat

At the end of August I scored 400 LPs for $400 from the yard sale of a veteran collector/record fair trader. He was liquidating after buying a Harley and a cottage and there were a few dozen boxes laid out with a handful of people picking through them. It was a lot of superb psych, surf, freakbeat, garage rock and other goodies of the genre with a smattering of soul, doo-wop and jazz. At first I was reticent to grab much since the LPs had no pricing and I knew some of them were worth quite a bit. However, when the gentleman came up and told me everything was a buck, I kinda went off the deep end.

Then, a few weeks back while on a business trip to TO, I poked my head into a thrift store and walked out an hour later with another 100 bucks worth of dollar LPs spanning from soundtracks, R&B, and jazz to comedy, classical and obscure ethnic delights. That means 500 records to get through on top of a crazy hectic schedule and very little time to listen to them and write up posts, let alone rip the vinyl, clean it up then scan and stitch the covers. Rather than do something silly like take another few months off until I could put up something worthwhile, I thought I'd switch it up a bit. That means interspersed amongst the occasional OOP vinyl rip over the next few weeks, I'll also provide a quick write up of some of the albums I grabbed and point you in the direction of someone who has already provided the goods in the blogosphere.

We'll kick things off with Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll & The Trinity's Open, a record that I've been very familiar with since it was introduced to me in the early 90s by my mentor, Sideshow Sid, but one I have never actually owned. Since posts featuring the Hammond B3 have always proven to be quite popular here at Soundological, this is one set I highly recommend to those of you who are not familiar with Auger's oeuvre - often cited as one of the main influences on the acid jazz scene that would come 20 years later.

Elusive Disc sez
One of the icons of London's underground jazzy mod scene, Brian Auger puzzled more than one music critic bringing this crossover to perfection during the mid-late sixties. 1967's Open sees Auger switch to a more hippy folk acid R&B with the help of Julie Driscoll - his female partner already featured in his earlier project, the Steampacket. Driscoll performs in her perfectly trendy disjointed vocal style over Auger's Hammond aural carpet to createsome interesting pop r'n'b tunes culminating in the fabulous cover version of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch".

Dusty Groove sez
Open is great stuff -- one of the amazing early albums from the team of Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger -- kind of a next-generation to the Brit beat group sound of the mid 60s -- one that moves beyond simple R&B modes, to bring in more sophisticated soul and jazz touches! Driscoll's vocals are amazing -- some of the boldest belted out in the British scene at the time -- and Auger's Hammond work really cooks throughout -- at a level that easily makes him one of the best UK organists to hit the scene, amidst some very heady company in the 60s. There's a few bluesy moments, but our favorites are the funky ones -- especially the group's reading of "Season Of The Witch", which is tremendous. Other cuts include "In & Out", "Black Cat", "Goodbye Jungle Telegraph", and "Break It Up". CD also features 5 bonus tracks -- "Red Beans & Rice (parts 1 & 2)", "Save Me", "I've Gotta Go Now", "This Wheel's On Fire", and "The Road To Cairo".

AMG Review
by Thom Jurek
From the outgrowth of Steampacket, a band that included not only Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll, but also a young Rod Stewart, came Auger and Driscoll's collective effort that produced two albums. When Driscoll left in 1969 to pursue a solo career, Auger, drummer Clive Thacker, and bassist Dave Ambrose continued as Brian Auger & the Trinity. Open has been unfairly characterized as a kind of groove jazz rip, one that combines Wes Montgomery, Jimmy McGriff, and the rock sensibilities of the psychedelic era. Whatever. There are many tracks here, from deep grooved funky jazz to lilting ballads and greasy blues numbers and the skronky exotica number "Goodbye Jungle Telegraph."

Auger may not have been as gifted an organist as Alan Price technically, but he could more than hold his own on the Hammond B-3 (as evidenced by the first two tracks here which are instrumentals, "In And Out" and "Isola Nate"). He was also able to pull more sounds out of the instrument than any of his peers. Auger wasn't much of a vocalist, but he could dig deep and get the emotion out of a song — especially in a funky number like "Black Cat," which featured a killer though uncredited studio horn section.

Driscoll's contributions are all on the second half of the album, beginning with the shuffling choogle of Lowell Fulsom's "Tramp," continuing through a moving reading of Pops Staples' "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)," two Auger originals, and concluding in a reading of Donovan's "Season of the Witch" that single-handedly established her reputation as a vocalist of great interpretative ability and emotional dexterity. Almost eight minutes in length, it is the perfect interplay for the quartet with its dark, smoky swirling energy and extant soul groove, and capos the album on a high note, making it a delightful precursor to the classic Streetnoise which was to follow.

Brian Auger - Keyboards, Vocals
Julie Driscoll - Vocals
Gary Boyle - Guitar
Dave Ambrose - Bass
Clive Thacker - Drums

1 Tramp
2 Why (Am I Treated So Bad)
3 A Kind Of Love-In
4 Break It Up
5 Season Of The Witch
6 In & Out
7 Isola Natale
8 Black Cat
9 Lament For Miss Baker
10 Goodbye Jungle Telegraph

Open up a hi-res rip over at The sweet harmonies and be sure to say "thanks!"


Moes Lake said...

The 'Black Cat' reminds me some progressive rock bands of late 60's early 70's. Thanks, this is cool

Oracle said...

Cheeba, thanks for the tip on Sounds. Look forward to hearing your rip. I will link it up to the post at the Portal. Thanks ;O

Anonymous said...

great post, Julie (with Brian) was one of our icons back in the day, around the time of This Wheel and Streetnoise. so cool, so hip, so fckn sexy — and what pipes she had.
don't need the mp3 i've lived with the vinyl all these years!
peace to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I was a kid when Auger hit the scene, but, even though, I was stretched out, musically, being a brother from the ghettos of Philly. Such sounds as Auger produced weren't common, or commonly accepted where I came from. But, I flowed, cause Auger jammed from the start. A small tribute, one day a couple years ago a friend was with me when I was playing a composite Auger cd I had taped, and asked, Who's that? in response to the groove from Straight Ahead. Ha! and my friend is a top sax-man here in the states. Years ago, I had tickets for a Chick Corea & RTF show, and when we got there it was announced Auger& Oblivion Express were sitting in! Can you imagine! Ok........ I'm glad you were made aware in the early 90s.... I've rolled with Auger since 20 years earlier, so its good to know his sound transcends time.............. Thanks much for posting yur comments.

cheeba said...

Hi kollie, thanks for sharing! It's always great to hear from the perspective of someone who just enjoys good tunes and is not wrapped up in whether it's cool or not. Like you say, the fact this LP is still being enjoyed by many folks 40 years later a testament to its funkiness!

FileMuncher said...

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express play in Leeds on 9th and 10th November, with tickets 'officially' selling for £17.50. But you can get a 'mod' guest list for £10. Just mention the Mods Guest List when buying your ticket and you'll get the cheapies!

JJ Moneysauce said...

That blog is defunct. :(

cheeba said...

JJ Moneysauce, blogger's comments have been acting funny lately and yours disappeared!

Thanks for the heads up on the defunct link to this blog.

I'll up a copy in the next day...if you can't wait you may want to check Captain Crawl