Exposé Online banner

Heyoka — The Spirit of Revelation
(Shroomangel SR-CD0001, 1980/2013, CD / 2LP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-02-26

The Spirit of Revelation Cover artNot so long ago in a land called Texas there was a progressive rock band with a strong local following that for whatever reason remained unsigned during all their years together, which was most of the 70s into the early 80s. Although the members of Heyoka changed over the years, lead singer and flutist Michael Grothues and drummer Gerardo Ramirez were there from beginning to end, and the songs on this CD/2LP set were recorded by a consistent five-piece lineup in the latter half of the 1970s that included Dito Garcia (guitars, keys, backing vocals), David Alcocer (guitars, backing vocals), and Pat Hood (bass, backing vocals). One might surmise, from the number of voices in the band, that there are some strong vocal harmonies among many of the tracks here, and many of the lyrics show influence of Native American mysticism, and opening track “Thunderdreamer” even includes a chant and dance of obvious American Indian origin surrounded by gripping progressive rock of the highest order. With two guitarists in the lineup, there are many opportunities for passages featuring side-by-side acoustic and electric. With the singer doubling on flute, some will find comparisons to Jethro Tull, but with the strong harmonies, aggressive guitars and diverse compositions, the most relevant references might be classic Kansas, pre-pop Styx, and early James Gang, with a percussive power that occasionally recalls Santana’s more rock element. One of the most impressive things about The Spirit of Revelation is that the sound and mastering from track to track is very consistent, even though the sources of the recordings span a period of several years. To avoid any confusion, about ten years ago there was a limited release titled The Lost Heyoka Recordings, which was pretty much a raw representation of all the band’s demos from this period. Those tracks are included here on this latest release in remastered form along with a few more. All taken, this is an impressive release by a band that deserved far greater recognition in their day.

Filed under: Archives, 2013 releases, 1980 recordings

Related artist(s): Heyoka

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...

Men without Hats - No Hats beyond This Point – Anyone who paid attention to pop music in the 80s will surely remember Men Without Hats. “The Safety Dance” was a bouncy techno-pop gem that insinuated itself into your brain regardless of your...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues