A much sought-after classic featuring a Mellotron - the first pressing is meanwhile traded at about € 400 in mint condition. It is the first LP by Gila, neatly recorded in Dieter Dierks' studio in Stommeln in the summer of 1971. The album is largely instrumental and excellent. The 32-page booklet contains a long report of keyboarder Fritz Scheyhing, the last surviving Gila member, looking back at the band's history, and a number of rediscovered photographs from Gila's early period. The rather scanty CD edition from 2015 (Eclipse Records ECL 1006) is, by the way, a bootleg, completely illegal; the edition on Second Battle is deleted since years.
This is regarded by krautrock specialists as a masterpiece and I am not far from agreeing. But as usual, most of these German groups developed a raw saw and on record never really refined it either and this may set back some people. Bands like Amon Düül II, Can, Ash Ra, their albums were raw and bare to the bone, and do not look for symphonic orchestration or over-production in those unrefined, rough diamonds. This is a real gem in the space rock genre but very intimate climate.
Jim Lampi's Greazy features a host of talented musicians. There's the legendary John Martyn on vocals and the drummer and keyboard player from his band, Arran Amun and Spencer Cozens. They are joined by singer-songwriter Marie Claire Dubaldo and Chris Wells on Brazilian style percussion. This is an album of originals, influenced by the music that has affected Jim over the years; 70s fusion, R&B based jazz standards, Latin music, and low rider bands. The first instrument that Jim learnt to play was the saxophone, and he brings some of those sensibilities to his playing and composing. The Chapman Stick is an amazing instrument with an unusual range of five-and-a-quarter octaves. Its unique sound has intrigued many musicians including John Martyn, with whom Jim plays on a regular basis. John adds vocals to two tracks, bringing his own musical genius to the album.
Essential: a masterpiece of Folk music
At the time of buying this LP, I thought I was going to find a Stivell immersed in the Prog-Folk music… my surprise was great after listening to it completely: Totally unplugged, no instrument with electric cables. Today is one of my favorite records of this legendary harpist. And I think he took the risk to go back to his Breton roots and immerse us in the Breton-Folk music.