Thursday, July 9, 2020

Grahame Bond - Love Is The Law (1968 uk, magnificent bluesy psych rock, 2004 extra tracks remaster)

Love Is the Law is the first of the two LPs Graham Bond recorded for the Pulsar label in the late '60s after his move to the United States, and is the better of the pair by a wide margin. That doesn't mean, it should be cautioned, that it's that great, and it's considerably below the standard of the discs he cut in the U.K. in the mid-'60s as the leader of the Graham Bond Organisation. That might not only be because he was missing musicians of the extremely high caliber of his supporting players in the Organisation; it might also be due to him having played everything himself on the LP, with the exception of drums (by Hal Blaine) and some soulful female backup vocals. Yet there's still substantial pleasure -- if that's the right word to use for a musician with such a demonic vocal, instrumental, and compositional flavor -- to be had from Bond's consistently spooky blues-rock organ and Mellotron.

If his vocals are a bit croaky, and his lyrics (where odes to free love dovetail with dread and the occult) a bit creepy, that's part of the reason the music stands out even from the eclectic palette of late-'60s rock; there's nothing else quite like it, even if it might not be his best work. The title track and "The World Will Soon Be Free" are certainly among the absolute highlights of his post-Organisation discography, and if the remake of "Our Love Will Come Shining Through" isn't up to the level of the great obscure mid-'60s U.K. 45 on which he first issued the song, it's still pretty good. If some of the lyrics seem a bit awkward and confused in their confluence of na├»ve romanticism and ominous foreboding, they're made up for by some quite groovy blues-jazz organ riffs. Overall, it sounds like the songwriting could have done with some polish and the arrangements with some fleshing out, but Bond fans will still find it worthwhile to seek out this rare LP. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Love Is The Law - 3:25
2. Moving Towards The Light - 4:29
3. Our Love Will Come Shining Through - 3:03
4. I Couldn't Stand It Anymore - 4:10
5. Sun Dance - 2:24
6. Crossroads Time - 2:33
7. Bad News Blues - 2:50
8. Strange Times, Sad Times - 3:57
9. The Naz - 3:30
10.The World Will Soon Be Free - 3:55
11.Long Tall Shorty (Don Covay, Herb Abramson) - 2:21
12.Long Legged Lady - 2:17
13.Tell Me (John Group) - 2:50
14.Love Come Shining Through (John Group) - 2:02
15.Lease On Love (Mike Banwell, Rick Minas) - 2:46
16.My Heart's In Little Pieces - 3:22
17.St. James Infirmary (Joe Primrose) - 3:39
18.Soul Tango - 3:09
All songs by Billy Gamble except where stated
Tracks 1-10 Originally released in 1967 on Pulsar Records
Tracks 11-18 singles originally released between 1964 and 1966

*Graham Bond - Organ, Mellotron, Alto Saxophone, Vocals
*Hal Blaine - Drums
*Dave Sheehan - Drums, Percussion
*Diane Stewart - Vocals

1962-72  Graham Bond - Live At BBC And Other Stories (2015 four discs box set)
1965  The Graham Bond Organisation - The Sound Of '65 / There's A Bond Between Us
1970  Graham Bond - Holy Magick (2006 remastered and expanded)
1972  Bond And Brown - Two Heads Are Better Than One (2009 remaster)
1970  Graham Bond - Solid Bond (2004 extra tracks remaster) 

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