Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mighty Baby - A Jug Of Love (1971 uk, ethereal uplifting west coast influenced rural psych rock, Sunbeam reissue)

 Originally released in 1971, Mighty Baby's second release is a deft, understated, and often magical synthesis of any number of musical strains.

Stepping further away from the group's louder roots in the Action and taking in everything from an embrace of Sufism to further explorations ranging from Gram Parsons and the Band's country-rock to jazz and obscure folk, A Jug of Love is all the more remarkable for being a rushed effort, recorded in barely a week's time. But the group's strength in performing together for years served it well, and the resultant album, while a minor classic rather than a holy grail, is still a classic as it stands.

Certainly anyone familiar with the Byrds and Spirit, to name two groups among many, won't be surprised by the end result, but the bandmembers themselves freely admitted to the influence (the cover is surely a nod to Fifth Dimension, at least), and songs like the gentle gospel-blues of the title track and the mandolin-tinged "Slipstreams" speak to it clearly.

Moments like the beautiful buried harmonies that help open "The Happiest Man in the Carnival" and the subtle interplay of the musicians during the extended instrumental break on "Virgin Spring," at over nine minutes the longest of the album's tracks, show the band's evident talent well in hand.

Even the fairly straightforward boogie of "Keep on Jugging" works well enough instead of simply killing time, thanks in part to a fantastic extended coda.
by Ned Raggett
1. A Jug Of Love - 6:22
2. The Happiest Man In The Carnival - 7:11
3. Keep On Jugging - 8:44
4. Virgin Spring - 9:25
5. Tasting The Life - 6:47
6. Slipstreams - 5:26
7. Devil's Whisper - 3:40
8. Virgin Spring - 7:03
9. Messages - 3:46
10.Ancient Traveller - 3:50
All songs by Mighty Baby

Mighty Baby
*Martin Stone - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Mandolin
*Alan King - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Evans - Bass
*Roger Powell - Drums, Congas
*Ian Whiteman - Piano, Harmonium, Organ, Saxophone, Flute, Vocals

1969  Mighty Baby
1970  Mighty Baby - Live In The Attic
1971  Reg King
1966-90  The Action - The Ultimate Action

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Migty baby - Mighty baby (1969 uk, outstanding jamming psych prog rock, bonus tracks edition)

When the Action broke up in the late 60s, they reformed minus Reggie King as Azoth. The Azoth name was short lived, leading the band to settle on Mighty Baby. The Action had played the club circuit for years, releasing many excellent mod singles before plunging into the world of psychedelia. This band had always worked hard, and now they were finally given the luxury to record a long player.

Mighty Baby’s album was released in 1969 off the small independent Head label. At this point, Mighty Baby could technically and instrumentally hold their own against rock’s finest: The Grateful Dead, King Crimson, Collosuem, Caravan and the Allman Brothers. The album is miles away from the soulful, sweaty mod garage of their mid 60s singles and could best be described as a melding of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young harmonies, Allman Brothers guitar improv and Notorious Byrd Brothers psychedelia.

Few debut openers are as good as the revolutionary Egyptian Tomb. It’s a sleek, powerful piece of psychedelia with strong west coast style guitar interplay. At 5:30 minutes, this great song never falls flat and is definitely one of the defining moments of British acid rock. Same Way From The Sun has a similar stoned vibe with psychedelic echo and sounds like it could have been lifted from a really good latter day Byrds album.

The spacious, pounding A Friend You Know But Never See, yet another highlight, rocks really hard with some interesting raga style guitar and has a strange mountain air aura. Other works such as the rural I’m From The Country provided a sound Mighty Baby would further explore on their next album, the equally brilliant Jug of Love from 1971.

Mighty Baby along with the Action and various band member’s solo careers are one of rock’s great lost family trees. During their peak they were innovative and unstoppable, thus the “English Grateful Dead” label really doesn’t do them any justice.
by Jason Nardelli
1. Egyptian Tomb - 5:28
2. A Friend You Know but Never See - 4:24
3. I've Been Down So Long - 5:05
4. Same Way From the Sun - 5:37
5. House Without Windows - 6:10
6. Trials of a City - 5:58
7. I'm From the Country - 4:49
8. At a Point Between Fate and Destiny - 4:44
9. Only Dreaming - 3:16
10. Dustbin Full of Rubbish - 2:47
11. Understanding Love - 3:50
12. Favourite Days - 3:54
13. A Saying for Today - 3:27
Compositions from 1-8 by Mighty Βaby
Songs 9-13 written by Ian Whiteman and perfomed by The Action

Migty Βaby
*Alan King - Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Evans  - Bass
*Roger Powell  - Drums
*Martin Stone  - Guitars
*Ian Whiteman  - Flute, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Saxophone, Vocals

1970  Mighty Baby - Live In The Attic
1971  Reg King
1966-90  The Action - The Ultimate Action

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