Monday, October 31, 2016

Elias Hulk - Unchained (1970 uk, outstanding heavy raw psych blues rock, 2007 japan remaster)

Somewhere in Bournemouth 1968, the green giant emerged largely through vibrant concert performances. The Hulk started with the thunderous vox of Pete Thorpe who fronted the Harvey Wells Soul Band that become legendary through the ballrooms of the ‘Boscombe Hippodrome’ warming up for Status Quo, Small Faces and Pretty Things. The stirring grit of "In The Midnight Hour" could only hold them for long and by 1969 Thorpe recruited ex Free Love rhythm guitarist Pete Granville Frazer, ex Big Idea vocalist / guitarist Phil Clough, ex Push drummer Bernard James and Free Love bassist James Haines as Elias Hulk, with the latter recruitment of guitarist Neil Tatum. 

The groups stomping ground was the South West of England where rural hippy communities were loyal and astute enough to enjoy lengthy solos. Eric referred them to ‘Youngblood Records’ who handled the likes of Dando Shaft and Python Lee Jackson. Far from green the Hulk launched Unchained in 1970 with zealous bass and drum solo in the opening "We Can Fly". Elias Hulk were not a typical rock band but more wrapped in the entrails of psyche with extreme tempo changes and sensitive mood swings, stamped by Granville’s innovative raga spillage through the Coltrane influenced "Delhi Blues". Tatum’s urgent axe reaches severing angst through the compelling "Nightmare", while the free harmonies of "Been Around Too Long" evolve into latent jazz snare by Bernard James. Granville dazzled with a touch of guitar phasing (Caleb Quaye style) in the middle bridge of "Yesterday's Trip".

The blues slides superbly into "Free" with a nourishing Peter Green delta feel. Often likened to Geronimo they were closer to Hookfoot or Capability Brown. "Delhi Blues" is really their opus riff that quells all the way from Brighton to Bombay. The Hulk epitaph "Ain't Got You" sizzles with creative bass from Haines and squelching Tatum wah wah. By 1971 the great Hulk had fallen with Granville writing material for The Ckreed which included future Babe Ruth bassist Dave Hewitt. Thorpe sang for Magic Muscle, one part of the Hawkwind / Pink Faeries acid garden that evolved into The Rat Bites From Hell. Bernard James went on to Pro-Eyes and Flyer while Frazer entered Jenny Haan’s Lion. Clough joined Pinkerton’s Colours and Flying Machine.These days Hulk’s influence lies with Dr Brown and Bevis Frond. 
by Shiloh Noone
1. We Can Fly (Granville Frazer, Peter Thorpe) - 6:16
2. Nightmare (Bernard James, Granville Frazer, James Haines, Neil Tatum, Peter Thorpe) - 3:11
3. Been Around Too Long (James Haines, Neil Tatum, Peter Thorpe) - 3:01
4. Yesterday's Trip (Granville Frazer, Neil Tatum, Peter Thorpe) - 3:56
5. Anthology Of Dreams (Granville Frazer, Peter Thorpe) - 3:08
6. Free (Granville Frazer, Neil Tatum, Peter Thorpe) - 3:37
7. Delhi Blues (Bernard James, Granville Frazer, James Haines) - 4:18
8. Ain't Got You (Granville Frazer, Peter Thorpe) - 3:29

Elias Hulk
*Peter Thorpe "Big Pete Thorpe" - Lead Vocals
*Neil Tatum - Lead Guitar
*Granville Frazer - Rhythm Guitar
*James Haines - Bass Guitar
*Bernard James - Drums

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