Tag Archives: 70s music

khan

(Post by John Allan from Bridgetown, Western Australia – July 2022.)

‘The Canterbury Tales’ – Geoffrey Chaucer

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour

So wrote Geoffrey Chaucer in the prologue to his seminal work The Canterbury Tales between 1387-1400.

Fast forward some 600 years and lazy music critics coined the phrase The Canterbury Scene as all music, it seems, needs to be pigeonholed and labelled. Like all misnomer’s not every act associated with the movement had any real link to Canterbury. Case in point, the band Gong were formed in Paris which as far as I’m aware is not a suburb of any Kentish town or village.

It all came about in the mid sixties with local lads The Wilde Flowers who, when wilted, germinated into Soft Machine, Gong, Caravan, Egg, Matching Mole, Robert Wyatt, Hatfield and the North and National Health.

The whole Canterbury sound was a heady mix of psychedelia, anarchy, folkloric mythology, beat poetry and puns. Soft Machine is the title of a William Burroughs novel and Matching Mole a corruption of  machine molle, the french translation of Soft Machine. Perhaps a bit of a dig from sacked drummer Robert Wyatt. For Girls that Go Plump In The Night and Cunning Stunts were albums from Caravan. All terribly quirky and quintessentially English.

Steve Hillage

In among this bunch of posies was a young London born guitarist, Steve Hillage. While still at school, Hillage was in a band called Uriel with his keyboard playing chum Dave Stewart, not to be confused with the Eurythmics chappy. They were encouraged to change their name as it sounded too close to urine (or was someone taking the piss !) and so became Egg.

Hillage attended the University of Kent in Canterbury (there’s the link !) and jammed with local bands Caravan and Spirogyra, not to be confused with the smooth jazz outfit Spyro Gyra. He landed himself a record deal with Deram and set about putting a band, Khan, together. After a few incarnations, the line up for their only release Space Shanty were Hillage on guitars and vocals, former The Crazy World of Arthur Brown bassist and vocalist Nick Greenwood, fellow Egg alumni Stewart and drummer Eric Peachey.

KHAN: ‘Space Shanty.’

This 1972 release, in my humble opinion, is a progressive rocker’s wet dream. Long convoluted tracks with nonsensical lyrics, great guitar solos swaying from hard rock to jazz, luscious fuzzed organ and odd time signatures. The musicianship by all four players is commendable. Sadly there was to be no follow up.

Hillage moved on to Gong (in some French speaking corner of Kent no doubt) before becoming a solo artist.

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin

Stewart formed Hatfield and the North then National Health. Along with former Zombie, Colin Blunstone he had a minor hit with What Became Of The Broken Hearted and It’s My Party with Barbara Gaskin.

Chaucer didn’t include a guitarist’s tale in his magnum opus. Nor a lute player or any other kind of musician either. In different times I’m sure he would have had a few kind words to say about Mr Hillage and his Khan clan.

Khan poster 1971

KHAN

Steve Hillage – Guitar / Vocals
Nick Greenwood – Bass / Vocals
Dave Stewart – Organ
Eric Peachey – Drums

TITLEFORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Space ShantyLP1972DeramTheir only album recording.

Goliath

GOLIATH: the only video / recording I can find of this album!

In various guises and line-ups, Goliath were around for the best part of fifteen years. THIS Goliath, for there have been / were several bands to have used this name, originated in Terre Haut, Indiana during 1964 as The Checkmates.

Instigated by Peters brothers Steve (drums) an Bill (bass) the band had some local success and recorded their first single on Bogan Records. However, inordinate delays in pressing the record resulted in the band having moved on, changed name and changed personnel before the single became available.

It was in fact released under the name, Sounds of Sound.

With the introduction of guitarist David Graham, the band moved to a more to a psychedelic / Hendrix influenced sound and once again changed their name a again, this time to Goliath. They began working with agent / manager Irving Azoff (who would later represent likes of Christine Aquilera, Eagles and Jon Bon Jovi among many others) and gigs were booked across Mid-West America.

Unfortunately, this early incarnation of the band fell apart when drug and substance abuse got the better of ‘star’ guitar player Graham. However, with contractual obligations remaining unfulfilled with Azoff’s company, Steve and Bill Peters put together a new line-up, comprising former members of recently disbanded local groups, Kicks and the XL’s.

One final change, with Paul, ‘Doug’ Mason replacing Ted Bennet on Hammond Organ, and the line-up that would record this particular Goliath album.

(GOLIATH: from the album insert.)

Unfortunately, and details are scarce, this eponymous album, recorded in 1970 at the Allen-Martin Studios in Louisville, Kentucky never saw the light of day until it was re-mixed and re-mastered in 2009 by Jay Petach.

A second (effective ‘first’) album was released however in 1975. By then, Phelps (guitar) Egy (vocals) and Mason (keyboards) had moved to Atlanta to form Raven, leaving the brothers Peters to start from scratch, yet again.

They were still signed with Triangle Talent who had been pushing the band hard to record jingles and songs so that the rights could be sold. They did however, eventually relent and allow the band to record an album on their own Bridges label.

With only a few weeks to prepare, and a ‘new’ band to boot, the album is described by the Peters brothers as being nothing more that a patchwork of previously unfinished songs. Probably not the strongest of recommendations!

Although Steve and Bill did manage to keep the band going in some form or other throughout the ’70s, no more recordings were forthcoming.

For readers lacking the patience to sit through the whole album as displayed at the start of this post, I can say this:

in all honesty, it’s nothing ‘spectacular.’ But while there’s no immediate impact moments, it is a really enjoyable listen. The feel is of pared-back, hard, bluesy rock, Some songs vary like, ‘I Feel Like I’m Gonna Die’ retains the blues sound, but with more a ‘lounge / club’ inflection; ‘Its Your Land’ is pretty much Gospel influenced, while ‘In The Summertime’ to me at least, seems to have rubbed off on DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – certainly on the arrival of the chorus!

On other tracks, I’m reminded of early Uriah Heep (that’s probably down to the organ sound as much as anything) and overall, yeah, a good addition to my collection.

GOLIATH

George ‘Charlie’ Egy – Vocals
Steve Peters – Drums
Bill Peters – Bass
Paul ‘Doug’ Mason – Hammond B3 Organ
George Phelps – Guitar

TITLEFORMATYEAR LABELNOTES
GoliathLP2009Gear Fab RecordsRecorded in 1970 but not released until 2009!
Hot Rock & ThunderLP1975Bridges

MAGI

Magi
MAGI: ‘Win or Lose.’ The lead / title track from the album.

For every ’70s rock band that became stadium headliners, there must be hundreds of ‘would-have-beens / should-have-beens.’ Sadly Goshen, Indiana band Magi are one of the latter.

It’s scant consolation that forty-eight years following the release of their only LP, ‘Win or Lose,‘ they are receiving the more geographically widespread plaudits their hard-rock debut merited.

As was / is so often the case, it was a matter of either not being in the right place at the right time, or as happened with Magi, the wrong place at the wrong time.

Formed in 1973 from the backbone of another ‘local’ band, Skull, the name was changed to Magi, and their first four-song emo was laid down on tape. (Two of these early compositions would, three years later, appear on the ‘Win or Lose’ album.)

They gigged extensively throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, playing University campus shows and festivals as well as clubs and smaller venues.

Their sound was solid. Hard rock at its heaviest. To match this, they built their own oversized speakers and lugged them around to shows, blowing the ears and minds of audiences!

By this stage,the gigging was onerous and bass player Larry Hertzler left the band to take up at college. He was replaced by Tom Stevens – who would later play with The Long Ryders.

Seeking to capitalize on the success of the stage performances, Magi decided the time was right to record their first album, Further demos were put together, extending the length of the tracks on their earlier effort and now including three songs that would eventually appear on the album: ‘Win or Lose’, ‘Every Time I’m With You‘ and ‘I Didn’t Ask You.’

Although all the songs had been written prior to Tom joining the band, the demos were very much a team effort, with Tom and drummer Jerry Wiggins contributing to the arrangements of the tracks principally put together by the two guitarists, Larry Stuzman and Steve Vanlaningham. Lyrics in the main, were composed by vocalist / frontman, John Gaut.

Jerry Wiggins
Steve Vanlaningham
Larry Stuzman

Attracted by the ‘offer’ of 40 hours recording time, with 1,000 LPs and 1,000 singles for $1000 at Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Uncle Dirty’s Sound Machine Studios, the band got down to recording their debut album in the first week of August 1976.

Unfortunately, they did not really hit it off with ‘Uncle Dirty’ aka Bryce Roberson and cutting to the chase, Magi were left somewhat disappointed by the finished, pressed LP.

Fans acknowledged the LP didn’t capture the band as they appeared in a ‘live’ environment, but fortunately having built up a substantial local following, the initial run of albums was sold out over the ensuing months.

Buoyed by the sales, local TV appearances followed and gained them further recognition with some high profile support slots followed -like with Brownsville Station, for example.

By now, they had outgrown their local scene – the High School shows were presumably going to bands more of that age – and Magi were playing city centre bars and clubs.

Then came blow #1: the drinking age reverted from 18 to 21 in 1978, changing the gig landscape drastically. Additionally, winter in the mid-West is pretty unforgiving for touring bands.

So when the offer came from Larry Stuzman’s uncle Danny (one of the first Contemporary Christian Music – CCM – artists signed to a major label in the early ’70s) to move out to California – they jumped at the chance.

Then came blow #2: uncle Danny was tad out of touch with the rock scene. Punk had taken over L.A. big time. Magi‘s music was already ‘dated’ and although they changed their name to The Charge and hastily wrote a few New Wave style songs, they couldn’t even bring in enough money to cover their rent. Day jobs had to be sought and their hopes and aspirations were evaporating fast in the Californian dust and heat.

One by one, the members gravitated back to their home State

The dream was over.

But, boy! What a legacy!

MAGI

John Gaut – Vocals
Larry Stuzman – Guitar
Tom Stevens – Bass / Vocals
Steve Vanlaningham – Guitar
Jerry Wiggins – Drums

TITLEFORMATYEARLABELNOTES
Win Or Lose / Mama7″ single1976MagiHas sold @ £40 via Discogs
Win Or Lose LP1976Uncle Dirty’s Sound MachineHas sold for over £400 via Discogs

(** Information for this post was gleaned from the album’s insert notes by Jeremy Cargill of ‘Got Kinda Lost Records.’ **)