From the ashes of the band "Red Mountain" rose Born Again. Originally from Marin County in Northern California the band traveled to Los Angeles to try to find fortune and fame. Local producer Roger Dollarhide took the boys under his wing and recorded tracks with them in late '69 and early '70 at Sun West Studios in Hollywood. Led by the tasteful guitar playing of Larry Otis and the soulful vocals of Bryce Sullivan, Born Again was a very versatile band that created a hybrid style all their own.
Whether it's a country tinged ballad ala KAK ("She's Gone") or an eerie guitar psych instrumental ("Laura's Waltzing" from the 1970 Film Soundtrack from "The Velvet Vampire") these boys were one tight unit that delivered the goods.
Some people will say there is just so much good music from the '60s you can reissue, although the small community of collectors just doesn't seem to care. And then, there are those gems that were recorded but never released at the time.
These are the most cutthroat projects for a record label: no previous market, no "rarity" cult status, nothing but the sole strength of the music to carry the album. Well, in this case Shadoks can say "mission accomplished." It's hard to say what would have happened of Born Again, had Pagan been released in 1971.
What is easy to state, though, is that singer Brice Sullivan and guitarist Larry Otis made quite an efficient songwriting team. Their brand of blues-rock shows the influence of West Coast psychedelic rock (Iron Butterfly, specifically), but also the rootsier leanings of Savoy Brown. Otis was not a guitar hero, but he had a good sound, strong chops, and a twist in his playing that would have made him recognizable after two or three LPs. That said, the band's strongest asset was Sullivan's strong voice, a soaring blues tenor with a lot of soul. The album proper (the 11 tracks recorded in Los Angeles in 1969-1971 that were first released as an LP by Rockadelic in 2001) deserves to be heard, if only for "Sand Castle," "Radio X," and "Boiling Point," all very good songs.
The 2005 Shadoks reissue on CD adds seven bonus tracks that are less interesting, although the three home demos from 1972 show that the Otis/Sullivan partnership would have had more to offer, given the chance.
by Francois Couture
1. Barnyard Blues - 4:22
2. Radio X (Brice Sullivan) - 4:39
3. No Good Reason - 4:00
4. Boiling Point (Brice Sullivan) - 3:11
5. Three Pipers (Dollarhide) - 1:59
6. Laurie Waltzing (Larry Otis) - 2:30
7. Sand Castle - 3:52
8. Good Blues - 2:30
9. She's Gone (Brice Sullivan) - 4:46
10. Comin' Back Strong (Brice Sullivan) - 5:20
11. Lie Me Down (Brice Sullivan) - 4:21
12. Velvet Vampire Radio Spot 1971 - 0:58
13. Laurie Waltzing (Larry Otis) - 3:08
14. Sand Castle (Alt. Mix) - 4:07
15. Om Namah Shivaya (Larry Otis) - 6:09
16. Milk & Honey - 3:41
17. In That Day - 3:20
18. You Let Yourself In - 4:32
All songs by Larry Otis and Brice Sullivan except where noted.
Bonus tracks from 12-18.
*Brice Sullivan - Vocals, Harmonica, Keyboards
*Larry Otis - Guitar
*Steve Avery - Guitar
*Stuart Ramsay - Bass
*Rod Moxie - Bass Guitar
*Lloyd Wick - Drums