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Album Review

Brian Auger and the Trinity: Far Horizons

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Brian Auger and the Trinity: Far Horizons
The pop world of the late sixties/early seventies period was notable for its dissolving of genres and for its richness of instrumentation. Once jazz, soul, R&B, blues, psychedelia, and acid rock had found each other, the result was a flowering of bands who enjoyed a sunny heyday of horns and Hammond organ, until the guitar groups finally reasserted themselves. In the States, Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears were the most successful and high-profile of the breed. In the UK, the sixties were a happy hunting ground for roaring Hammond organ groups like The Graham Bond Organization, Zoot Money and the Big Roll Band, and most popular of all, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. (Retro San Francisco outfit Monophonics have been mining this neglected seam in recent years.)

Brian Auger began his professional musical life as a jazz pianist, earning his stripes with Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, Joe Harriott and Jimmy Skidmore. But hearing Jimmy Smith's Back at the Chicken Shack (Blue Note, 1963) blasting from a West London record shop one day, he resolved there and then to get hold of a Hammond B3, and thus began his lifelong career as an organist.

Auger and the Trinity are chiefly remembered for their storming 1968 version of Bob Dylan's "This Wheel's On Fire," featuring singer Julie Driscoll (although it's not featured in this selection). The single was a big hit in the UK and Europe, but made little impact in the US. Auger's refusal to be pigeonholed undoubtedly affected his career, but he stuck at it for years afterward with his band Oblivion Express, and is still at it in 2022.

This four-volume box set covering the period between 1967 and 1970 allows us to appreciate the sheer breadth of Auger's musical references. Two of these albums, Open (Polydor, 1967), and the double album Streetnoise (Polydor, 1969) feature Driscoll's powerful soul voice, while Definitely What! (Marmalade/Atco, 1968) and Befour (RCA, 1970) focus on the trio of Auger on Hammond, bassist Dave Ambrose and drummer Clive Thacker, plus a bevy of session horn and string players. Along with pop favourites of the day like The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" and Donovan Leitch's "Season of the Witch," there are lovely versions of "All Blues," Wes Montgomery's "Bumpin' on Sunset" and Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," the latter featuring guitarist Gary Boyle.

Track Listing

In and Out; Isola Natale; Black Cat; Lament for Miss Baker; Goodbye Jungle Telegraph; Tramp; Why (Am I Traded So Bad); A Kind of Love In; Break it Up; Season of the Witch; A Day in the Life; George Bruno Money; Far Horizon; John Brown's Body; Red Beans and Rice; Bumpin' on Sunset; If You Live; Definitely What; Tropic of Capricorn; Czechoslovakia; Take Me to the Water; A Word about Colour; Light My Fire; Indian Rope Man; When I Was a Young Girl; Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In); Ellis Island; In Search of the Sun; Finally Found You Out; Looking in the Eye of the World; Vauxhall to Lambeth Bridge; All Blues; I've Got Life; Save the Country; I Wanna Take You Higher; Pavane; No Time to Live; Maiden Voyage; Listen Here; Just You Just Me.

Personnel

Brian Auger: organ, Hammond B3; Dave Ambrose: bass, electric; Clive Thacker: drums; Julie Driscoll: voice / vocals.

Album information

Title: Far Horizons | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Soul Bank Music


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