Title - 'The Second British Rock Meeting 1972'
Artist - Curved Air
For those not in the know, here's a slight recap on one of the best bands to ever musically grace the brain!
The brilliant, uber talented Curved Air are a pioneering British progressive rock group formed in 1970 by musicians from mixed artistic backgrounds, including classical, folk, and electronic sound.
The resulting sound of the band was a mixture of progressive rock, folk rock, and fusion with classical elements. However, did you know that along with High Tide and East of Eden, Curved Air were one of the first rock bands after It's a Beautiful Day and The United States of America to feature a violin.
Indeed, Curved Air released eight studio albums (the first three of which broke the UK Top 20) and had a hit single with 'Back Street Luv' (1971) which reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart.
Over the following years the band broke up several times, they were even sued by their British label Chrysalis (1974), and with jail time hovering over them due to a HUGE tax bill owed, they just managed to pay that off also.
Curved Air, as a group were largely inactive for the next three decades but in 2008 founding members Sonja Kristina, Florian Pilkington-Miksa, Daryl Way and (briefly) Francis Monkman decided to get back together after a hiatus of 32 years.
Over the next few years, the band went through a few personnel changes with signer Kristina and original drummer Pilkington-Miksa being the only original members left.
This revitalized the band, and back in 2012 they released a brand new live album, Live Atmosphere. One of my favorite albums (CD/DVD) of theirs in latter years, their music caught live was a pure, unadulterated joy to behold; as I'm sure all Curved Air fans can attest to.
Both The Curved Air Rarities Series Volume 1 / Tapestry Of Propositions and The Curved Air Rarities Series Volume 2 / Curved Space & Infinity were released in 2016, and now, here in 2018, The Second British Rock Meeting 1972 is the third volume of the Curved Air Rarities Series.
1. 'No-Guitar Blues'
2. 'Everdance / Cheetah / Vivaldi'
4. 'Melinda (More or Less)'
5. 'Over and Above'
6. 'The Germersheim Jam / Vivaldi (Reprise)'
The sound quality is of astonishing fidelity for a live recording from the early 1970s and features the only known recordings of this line-up improvising!
The opening track really sets the stage, no pun intended, for their performance as they are initially just trying to get situated on stage. No music from the off, it's raw '70s stage set up ... and I loved it! And once they get going into 'No-Guitar Blues,' well, settle in and enjoy the smooth ride, my friends.
The seven minute fevered brilliance of 'Everdance / Cheetah / Vivaldi' is worth the price of admission here alone and that's backed by the short, but sweet 'Phantasmagoria.'
The placid, and yet even shorter reaching vocals on 'Melinda (More or Less)' showcase Kristina's vocals to a tee, before their frenetic playing is back again on the near twelve minute 'Over and Above.'
The last track is an extended jam and a version of the band's hit Vivaldi - lasting well over 30 minutes! The band had just released it's Phantasmagoria album and the line-up was: Sonja Kristina, Darryl Way, Francis Monkman, Florian Pilkington-Miksa and Mike Wedgwood.
The booklet features a written introduction by Francis Monkman, who mastered the audio and curated the release personally, along with two essays written by attendees at the festival and previously unseen pictures.
These recordings capture a unique set from the band's heyday, their only recorded improvisations and all in unbelievable sound quality for a festival in the early '70s.
I urge you to buy this CD today, sit back, kick back, close your eyes, and drift away into the sculptured classical Prog rock land of Curved Air.
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