Hampton Grease Band — Music to Eat
(Columbia Shotput C2K 67483, 1971/1996, 2`CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 1996-08-01
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.
Related artist(s): Hampton Grease Band
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more