Saturday, October 15, 2022

Evolution - Evolution (1969-72 spain / germany, exciting hard garage psych brass rock, 2003 bonus tracks remaster)

In 1965 the German band The Vampires arrives in Spain. Lovers of Rhythm 'N' Blues and Soul and based in Madrid, they released several singles with the Session label and participated in several festivals of the time. A few years later, tired of the pace of work and the pressure of their record label, they moved to Castelldefels, Barcelona. There they meet the guitarist Tony Ponce, leaving the formation of these new Vampires.

In the autumn of 1969, Artur Mas, founder  of the Ekipo sub-label, Dimension, signs a contract with the band, who change their name to Evolution (for Mas this name suggested a more progressive attitude) and in December his first single, which contained a version of “Fresh Garbage” by Californians Spirit, with wind arrangements a la Blood, Sweat and Tears, and another blues classic on the B-side, “You Don't Love Me Baby”, with wind arrangements. similar that showed that fusion of styles that characterized his music. After the replacement of the saxophonist Paul Waldhecker by the organist T.J Brown, a new single with two quite commercial pieces is published. The first was “Water”, with influences from the early Traffic and a certain Soul air, and the second was called “Loving Me (Is Not The Only Thing To Do)”, a ballad that was too cloying for my taste. The third single would arrive in September 1970, and that's when we noticed a hardening in the sound of the band. 

They moved away from Soul, as we can see in "She's So Fine", catchy, psychedelic, almost garage, or in the instrumental "I'm Walking High", which occupied the B side of the single. Composed by T.J Brown, with the hammond organ, a good bass line, percussion and a nice guitar solo, it is one of the best pieces of the group. In November of this same year, on the 20th and 22nd, Evolution plays at the First Permanent Festival of Progressive Music, organized by Oriol Regás in the Iris room. In that same month, Ekipo publishes the band's first and only album. Recorded at the Gema studios in Barcelona (of course!), and produced by Miquel Casas, the LP contained new mixes of the six songs that had been previously released as singles, plus three new pieces. The first was the fantastic “Dr. Vazquez”, a raw song, with an impressive rhythm and the organ and the guitar as protagonists. The second was a good version of "21st Century Schizoid Man by King Crimson. Whenever I hear the central instrumental part I imagine Deep Purple covering Fripp's band. The third, "Get Ready/Evil Ways" was a mix between Smokey Robinson's song (covered quite successfully by The Temptations and Rare Earth) and Santana's. 

The album was mixed while the band was touring Europe, and when they returned to Barcelona, they didn't like the result at all. At that time they were considered a powerful rock band, with psychedelic and progressive influences and a sound based on the organ and guitar, in Miquel Salas's mixes the wind arrangements reappeared (directed by the Catalan trumpeter Rudy Ventura ) with whom they no longer felt satisfied. It is curious how, despite everything, it seems to me to be an album full of strength, but both Tony Ponce and Det Ferring expressed their disagreement in the interviews that Marc Argenter and Jordi Segura did for the booklet of the reissue on CD that he did the Wah-Wah label in 2003 (respecting the original vinyl format of the time, in the form of a bag). The reception by the public was good, since television and radio, considering them as a foreign band, did not put inconveniences for them to sing in English, which facilitated their promotion. 

In May 1971, they released their fourth single, which contained a beautiful version of another King Crimson classic, “In The Court Of The Crimson King”, and “Problems”, a song that I like it a lot, very much like the Chicago Transit Authority, but without winds. Ferring's interpretation and Ponce's guitar details are fantastic. In this same month they participate in the Granollers Progressive Rock Festival and from this moment the problems begin. There is less and less room to play, the media supports less and less this type of band and the progressive movement in Barcelona decreases day by day. 

In 1972, T.J Brown left the group, and in May of this same year the band published its last single, already as a quartet. Unfortunately, this single leaves a bad taste in their mouths, since the record company needed commercial songs that could sell well for the summer, and the song “I Must Live” is “imposed” on them, again with wind arrangements, but this time much more tacky. I particularly like this piece, although I perfectly understand why they didn't like it too much. On side B we find "Pain and Pleasure", another smooth piece with a somewhat more elegant orchestration, but with the same commercial aims. Shortly after, Wolfgang Jünger left the band, being replaced by Artur Domingo from Pan y Licorice. After Tony Ponce's call-up, at the end of 1972, the band split definitively. 
by Francisco Macias
1. Dr. Vazquez (Det Ferring, T.J. Brown) - 2:51
2. I'm Walking High (T.J. Brown) - 4:13
3. She's So Fine (Det Ferring, Wolfgang Jünger) - 3:05
4. Water (Det Ferring, Tony Ponce) - 3:23
5. Fresh Garbage (Jay Ferguson, Paul Waldhecker) - 2:50
6. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Greg Lake, Ian McDonald, Michael Giles, Peter Sinfield, Robert Fripp) - 4:26
7. Get Ready / Evil Ways (Smokey Robinson, Clarence Henry, J. Zack) - 5:06
8. Loving Me (Is Not The Only Thing To Do) (T.J. Brown) - 3:13
9. You Don't Love Me Baby (T.J. Brown) - 3:43
10.I Must Live (Det Ferring, Ignace Baert) - 3:13
11.Pain And Pleasure (Det Ferring, Tony Ponce) - 3:13
12.In The Court Of The Crimson King (Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield) - 2:48
13.Problems (Det Ferring, Tony Ponce) - 3:23

*Wolfgang Jünger - Bass
*Det Ferring - Vocals
*T.J. Brown - Keyboards
*Paul Waldhecker - Saxophone, Clarinet
*Micky Kluge - Drums
*Tony Ponce - Guitar