Exposé Online banner

Hampton Grease Band — Music to Eat
(Columbia Shotput C2K 67483, 1971/1996, 2`CD)

by Steve Robey, Published 1996-08-01

Music to Eat Cover art

The "Hampton," of course, refers to the venerable Bruce Hampton, best known for his 90s rock / jazz / funk outfit, the Aquarium Rescue Unit. But back in the early 70s, Hampton was the frontman in an entirely different sort of group. Reported at the time of its release in 1971 as the second-worst selling album in Columbia's history (only a yoga record did worse sales-wise), this album is now a classic. And what a classic it is! Hampton is joined by two gifted guitarists, Glenn Phillips and Harold Kelling, who trade snakelike off-kilter guitar lines reminiscent of the best of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. Indeed, this album often sounds like the great jamming album Beefheart never made, an unholy cross between the open-ended Mirror Man and the tightly constructed Trout Mask Replica. Three of the seven tracks are in the 20-minute range (it's a double CD), and all of the tracks demonstrate a remarkable ability to shift endlessly into new adventurous directions. Best is the 20-minute opener, "Halifax," which has no fewer than three mind-bending guitar jams, interrupted by whimsical vocals (Hampton even sounds a bit like Beefheart here), with a fair share of complex intertwining guitar passages. In fact, nearly all of the tracks keep up this same level of intensity, making for a truly unbelievable listening experience.

A bona-fide lost classic, this album gets my top rating. It has finally been reissued on Columbia (no doubt due to Hampton's current cult status), and deserves a listen by any Beefheart fan, or anyone who favors extended, complex compositions in the truly bizarre mode.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 10, 1996 releases, 1971 recordings

Related artist(s): Hampton Grease Band

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jeff Greinke - Big Weather – I'm very picky when it comes to electronic music. If I like an artist in this vein (like Lightwave, Klaus Schulze, Steve Roach, or Robert Rich) I tend to really get into it. Greinke is an artist that...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues