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Tapestry of Delights:
Rare Bird formed in London in October 1969 and began rehearsing in a room at organist's Graham Field's London apartment. Indeed Field and keyboardist Dave Kaffinetti played a key role in conceiving the group's then novel two keyboard sound. Gould proved to be a powerful vocalist and their drummer was former Turnstyle member Mark Ashton.
Within a few weeks the group was offered a residency at London's Marquee and before the end of the year they'd issued a much acclaimed debut album, which got to No 117 in the US Charts. This included the atmospheric Sympathy, which would prove to be a minor hit here in the UK, but it was very popular on the Continent too. The final cut, God Of War, was both atmospheric and innovative in its use of percussion, whilst You Went Away and Beautiful Scarlet featured powerful vocals and good keyboards.
As Your Mind Flies By was another fine album of keyboard-driven rock punctuated by Steve Gould's often melodramatic vocals. The whole of Side 2 was taken up by the ambitious four movement track, Flight, but the whole of Side 1 is recommended listening too. The group's line-up was expanded for Epic Forest (which was varied ranging from the heavy riffing of Hey Man to mellower numbers like House In The City and Fears Of The Night) but somehow they failed to maintain any sort of momentum over here, although they remained very popular on the Continent.
Fred Kelly had earlier been involved in the Astral Navigations Thundermother project.
1. What you want to know (5:59)
2. Down on the floor (2:41)
3. Hammerhead (3:31)
4. I'm thinking (5:40)
5. Flight (19:39)
- part 1. As your mind flies by
- part 2. Vacuum
- part 3. New York
- part 4. Central Park
06. What You Want To Know 3:35
07. Hammerhead 3:24
08. Red Man 3:29
Mark Ashron / drums, vocals
Graham Field / organ, keyboards
Steve Gould / lead vocals, bass guitar
Dave Kaffinetti / electric piano, keyboards
ProGnosis view :
A British band that sometimes gets over looked in my opinion. The sound on As Your Mind Flies By is a cross between The Nice and Vanilla Fudge with a hint at Quicksilver Messenger Service (remember Fresh Air?). This is fantastic keyboard driven progressive rock, and unlike The Nice, the vocals are actually quite good. What is weird though is vocalist Steve Gould sounding remarkably like Greg Lake on Down On The Floor. Strange since the ELP debut came out the same year, but more than likely In The Court Of The Crimson King was already influencing a generation of progressive minded musicians for the better. Whatever- superb stuff. Classical rock at it’s best and Rare Bird’s finest.