Iron Butterfly — Live at the Galaxy 1967
(Purple Pyramid CLP1812, 1967/2014, CD)
Iron Butterfly — Live in Sweden 1971
(Purple Pyramid , 1971/2014, CD)
Iron Butterfly — Live in Copenhagen 1971
(Purple Pyramid , 1971/2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-09-13
Before one considers these three recently released live archives on Cleopatra’s Purple Pyramid imprint, it would be worth a moment to examine the other live Iron Butterfly releases that have come before it. While the LP simply entitled Live was the first, recorded on the tour following the Ball album, it does include three excellent live cuts culled from that album, but also features a full length “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” on its second side that sounds relatively uninspired in comparison to the better known studio version. Far more engaging, and an excellent recording to boot, is the Fillmore East 1968 set put out by Rhino Handmade a few years ago, which documents the four-piece version of the band in four shows over two nights in April ’68, following the release of the band’s debut Heavy, and prior to the recording of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, of which the title track at that point in time was far less than an album side, still evolving into what it would eventually become. This two disc set is the standard to which we measure these three newer archives.
The earliest of these is Live at the Galaxy 1967, not the best recording but certainly the most interesting of them all. This show was on July 4th of that year during the original five-piece band’s residency at the Galaxy club on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The band had recorded their debut album around that time, but since the five-piece split up shortly after the recordings were completed, the release was held up until organist Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy could put a new band together and started gigging again at the beginning of ’68. The early single “Evil Temptation” is here, plus two more cuts that never found their way to any studio album. Also curious are early live versions of three songs – “Real Fright,” “Lonely Boy,” and “Filled with Fear” that wouldn’t show up until the band’s third album Ball in 1969. From the first album we have “Possession,” the should-have-been-a-hit “So-Lo,” an absolutely killer version of their signature “Iron Butterfly Theme,” “Fields of Sun,” “You Can’t Win,” and “Gentle As It May Seem,” the latter two along with “Real Fright” featuring the raw and snarly vocals of original singer Darryl Deloach, which were toned down considerably on the studio release of Heavy.
Fast forward five years. After reaching the heights of success as a four piece, the band is again in a five-piece configuration with new guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt and vocalist/guitarist Mike Pinera, their fifth album Metamorphosis is on the charts, and a European tour is underway. The remaining two archival sets at hand, Live in Sweden 1971 and Live in Copenhagen 1971 were recorded only weeks apart on the tour, the first being only a partial set (only two songs in fact – “Buterfly Bleu” and “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” both reaching toward the 25 minute mark) recorded at the Konserthurste in Goteborg, for a local radio station. The latter is the final date on the tour, a less pristine mono recording, but it does capture the complete set, which includes the two aforementioned sidelong cuts, four of the shorter songs from the Metamorphosis album, and a closing ten-minute jam with members of Yes, a then up-and-coming British band that Butterfly shared the bill with on that tour. Because the Live in Sweden 1971 album only contains two songs, long as they may be, Purple Pyramid included three impossible-to-find singles by the band: “Possession” and “Evil Temptation,” (an instrumental B-side) – both by the first edition of the band circa 1967, and “Don’t Look Down on Me,” a non-LP single released in 1971, none of which have appeared on CD before. So there you have it, three collections of previously unreleased archival material; all are excellent sets of supplemental material for the listener that wants to go beyond the five official IB releases from this period.
Related artist(s): Iron Butterfly
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more