captain beyond

(Suggested by Twitter handle: @SeventiesLegend)

(Taken from the debut, eponymous album)

Every day’s a school day here at Loud Horizon. Well, it is for me, at least.

From that, you’ll deduce I have no Captain Beyond records in my collection … and cannot profess to being a big fan of Deep Purple either. (Yes, I like them fine – just not as much as millions of others do.)

If you’re wondering why I have linked the two bands above, then I guess we’re pretty much in the same boat.

Let’s check back a little.

Captain Beyond were formed when psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly suddenly broke up in 1971. Guitarist Larry Reinhardt and bass player Lee Dorman called on Drummer Bobby Caldwell ( who would later go on to play with both The Allman Brothers Band and that of Johnny Winter) and a certain Rod Evans.

(Rod was a founder member, and original vocalist of Deep Purple. He sang on the band’s first single ‘Hush‘ but had been asked to leave the band in 1969 when they decided to go with a heavier sound, being replaced with Ian Gillan.)

The band were initially signed to Capricorn Records, which I found strange when I read this fact. That label, throughout the Seventies had a reputation for producing records by ‘southern rock’ bands. Bands like Grinderswitch (whose ‘Pickin’ The Blues’ track was used as theme music to the iconic John Peel radio shows in UK,) Marshall Tucker Band and of course, The Allman Brothers Band.

Captain Beyond would soon find the decision strange too. Their debut album sold well. It was heavy rock in its primitive form; it was ‘stoner’ rock at its finest, incorporating ‘space’ rock influences, and included the track that opens this post and this, probably my favourite from that album.

(Again, from the eponymous, debut album.)

Sales however, I assume, did not match those of label mates, The Allman Brothers, for by the time Captain Beyond came to record their follow-up album, Capricorn Records seemed to have had a change of heart. They pressed for the band to adopt a more Southern Rock image and feel, which of course was an impossible ask.

It ‘s no coincidence then, that the band’s fortunes, if not their sound, headed south after that. The label, it seems, did all the could to obstruct the band, signing for them to support slots with headlining bands whose music was far, far removed from that of Captain Beyond.

(Paying gig fans don’t take kindly to this – Greenslade supporting Rory Gallagher, anyone?)

They soldiered on however, and in 1973, still signed to Capricorn, they released their second album, ‘Sufficiently Breathless.‘ By this time, drummer Bobby Caldwell had left as relationships within the band became fractious. He had not been keen on the direction the band were headed, or the music they were making.

From the tracks I’ve heard, I totally concur. I don’t mean to upset anyone, but tracks such as this, while still build on a decent riff, do not match the rawness and energy of the first.

(From the band’s second album, ‘Sufficiently Breathless.’)

The album bombed, though over time, and perhaps because of the band’s now almost cult-like status, it is now regarded with a certain reverence.

It wouldn’t be long though, before vocalist Rod Evans would leave the band. He had done this before, but this time it was for good – and none of the band knew why. He broke off all contact with the remaining band members, and to this day, his whereabouts are unknown.

(I do believe that in the early Eighties there were legal implications of his touring with a band and using the Deep Purple name)

Auditions were held to find a replacement for Rod, and eventually, Willie Daffern was offered the gig.

In 1977, now signed with Warner Bros, and the backing of an almost cult-like following, the band released their third album, ‘Dawn Explosion.’

(From the third album, ‘Dawn Explosion.’)

Unfortunately, not long after the album release, ‘new’ vocalist Daffren decided to go solo, and in 1978, the band just kind of dissolved as they were on the verge of gaining wider acceptance.

Over the years there have been various reincarnations of the band that have lasted for short periods. There have also been re-pressings of the original three albums, together with some ‘live’ recordings and compilations.

Unfortunately, none in my opinion, can match the excitement and menace of their debut offering.

CAPTAIN BEYOND

(Original line-up)
Rod Evans – Vocals
Larry ‘Rhino’ Reinhardt – Guitar
Lee Dorman – Bass
Bobby Caldwell – Drums

TITLEFORMATLABELYEARNOTES
Thousand Days Of Yesterday7″ singleCapricorn Records1972Listings relate only to releases prior to the initial dissolution of the band in 1978. Subsequent compilations and ‘live’ recordings are also available.
Sufficiently Breathless7″ singleCapricorn Records1973
Captain BeyondLPCapricorn Records 1972
Sufficiently BreathlessLPCapricorn Records1973
Dawn ExplosionLPWarner Bros. Records1977

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