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

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Chance - Dunes – Chance is a new French instrumental outfit led by keyboardist Laurent Simonnet. With bass, drums, and a revolving cast of guitarists, he leads the band through nearly an hour of lush, melodic, and...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues