Get this crazy baby off my head!



Embryo - Bad Heads and Bad Cats - 1976 - April Records

Not as avant garde as some of Embryo's other releases, this is a good album of jazz/funk rock with strong ethnic influences. There are some brilliant keyboard basslines from Dieter Miekautsch. The CD reissue contains the bonus track'Human Contact', a great Eastern influenced free flowing jazz number with organ and sax parts. Dieter Miekautsch, and Maria Archer later left Embryo to join Realaxband. A.O.O.F.C would appreciate info on this band. There is info on Embryo's "Ibn Battuta" album @ EMB/Ibn Battuta and you should give their excellent "Opal" album a listen


1.Layed Back (5:39)
2.Nina Kupenda (12:08)
3.Bad Heads (4:08)
4.Road Song (6:14)
5.After The Rain (6:15)
6.Klondyke Netti (6:28)
7.Tag X (1:39)
8.Human Contact (16:53) Bonus Track on Diskonforme (Germany) 1999 CD Release

Charlie Mariano plays on two tracks.

All tracks composed by: Roman Bunka, Christian Burchard. Dieter Miekautsch, & Uve Müllrich, except Track 8, by R.Bunka & C.Burchard.

Recorded in Autumn 1975 at Dierks Studio, Ascona, Switzerland


Charlie Mariano – alto saxophone, flute
Edgar Hofmann – soprano saxophone, flute
Dieter Miekautsch – piano, keyboards
Roman Bunka – guitar, vocals
Uve Müllrich – bass
Christian Burchard – drums, vibes, marimba, voc
Maria Archer – percussion, vocals


Well I was never sure what happened with their prevous album Surfin’, but something awfully wrong apparently and Embryo’s output was never as brilliant as it was before that album. Having been told to stay away from that album many times by everyone I know, I’ve never heard Surfin’ (the title sounded very suspicious too, so I was never intrigued either), but by looking at rating sites, something went awry and Embryo was never really as brilliant after. Even this album (a good return to their usual JR/F) failed to match WKO or Steig Aus and only Reise would match in quality, but let’s face it by that time (79) Embryo was a white ethnic group more than the sizzling fusion band of their early 70’s. So for Bad Heads, Embryo was sextet with Mariano and Hoffman as frontmen and through a weird artwork, their return to JR/F was partly successful. Actually this line-up is much reminiscent of the one that plated on WKO, three years earlier, if you’ll except Hoffman and “guest vocalist” Archer. Staring with the track Layed Back (sic), the group starts quite well its return with ex Missus Beastly Dieter Miekautsch’s piano resonating brilliantly. The following 12-mins Nina Kupends is a long improve jazz jam where there are lengths (something that was never the case before) especially when the track nearly stops, but overall the group performance is quite impressive between the piano and Burchard’s brilliant vibes, even though Maria Archer’s vocals are not exactly my cup of tea, but she’s no worse than Purim is in RTF. Closing on the sax-lead vitriolic title track, Embryo seemed to be heading for a masterpiece, but it takes time to get used to: indeed Archer sounds like a Bjork and the music could also easily come out of the Icelandic Siren as well, if it wasn’t for Burchardt’s brilliant marimba solo. Unfortunately Embryo opens the flipside with Road Song, the same type of track, but this time, not only is the charm gone, but funky bass twist gives it an unbalanced attack, not helped any by its 6-minutes length. The equally lengthy After the Rain starts out on cosmic noises, but quickly grows into a mindless late 70’s fusion, choosing cool virtuosity, rather than torrid interplay (here they sound like late RTF or mid-period WR), but at least Archer’s voice is given a rest. Klondyke Netti seems born out of a Miles Davis jam, in which Eno would’ve crept out of the woodwork with a few phasors and make the whole thing a bit creepy. The album closes on a free jazz improve Tag X that fails to reach the 2-mins mark. The Cd Disconforme re-issue comes with a 17-mins improve JR/F that seems to copy closely the Klondyke track without the cosmic phasors. The track melts right into the album and brings an added value, even though there is an improve that could’ve been edited.. Not quite as successful as their previous masterpieces, Embryo came back to their normal level after a catastrophic Surfin’, and if Bad Heads sounds a bit different, at least it was Embryo’s will to try something else, having the guts to try it and talent to almost pull it off , bar a few details. (#173660) Posted 3:37:37 AM EST, 6/12/2008, © www.progarchives.com


Embryo, formed by ex-Amon Duul II member Christian Burchard, consisted of Edgar Hofmann (sax, violin), Ralph Fisher (bass, organ), John Kelly (guitar). Their first album, Opal (Ohr, 1970), showed Embryo to be influenced by the mystic free-jazz of John Coltrane and the 'Canterbury sound' (People From Out the Space). The group's characterist ic jazz-rock took shape in Embryo's Rache (UA, 1971), followed by Father Son and Holy Ghosts (UA, 1972). From the same period came Steig Aus (Brain, 1972), which contained the epic Radio Marrakesch/Orient Express, with Mal Wa ldron on piano and another erstwhile Amon Duul member Jimmy Jackson on mellot ron, and Rocksession (Brain, 1973), which contained four even more experimental jams from the same sessions – for example Entranc es, Warm Canto and Dirge – recordings which came to be consi dered by the band as too experimental and thus too far from the Embryo ethic. With the addition of jazz saxophonist Charlie Maria no, the band (which at this point consisted of Burchard, Roman Bunka on guitar and sax, and Dieter Miekautsch on piano) recorded We Keep On (BASF, 197 3), with further standout epics in No Place To Go (at 12 minutes) and Ticket to India (15 minutes). The following two albums Surfin! (Buk, 1975) and Bad Heads and Bad Cats (April, 1976), had lost much of the early creative spirit, despite Dance of Some Broken Glasses (on the first) and <>Human Contact (on the second). The leader left Mariano to his fate, spent a time in India, and returned refreshed and with a new style first presented in Apo-calypso (April, 1977). With further trips to Asia, the group put together a series of world music albums, of which Emb= ryo's Reise (1979) is probably the best; others included Cello CelloLife (1980) and another double album, La Blama Sparozzi (1982). When they at last came home, Embr yo recorded their first studio album in seven years, Zack Gluck (1 984), but then set off again on their travels, this time to Africa, an ex perience which gave them the material for Yoruba Dun Dun Orchestra (1985) and Africa (1985 ). Since abandoning the scene, Burchard has continued to record further albums of jazz-influenced and ethnic music: Turn Peace (19 89), Ibn Battuta (1994), Ni Hau (1996), Istanbul-Casablanca (1999). Anthology 1970-1979 (Schneeball, 1980) and the live double Invisible Documents (Disconforme, 1998) have to some extent shown a rekindling of their early fire. [ © 1999 Piero Scaruffi, Translated by Paul O'Brien, www.scaruffi.com/vol3/embryo.html ]

BIO (Wikipedia)

Embryo are considered one of the most important German Krautrock bands of the 1970s. The musical collective from Munich has been active since 1969, although its story started in the mid fifties in Hof where Christian Burchard and Dieter Serfas met for the first time at the age of 10. In 1969 the band was founded by multi instrumentalist Christian Burchard (drums, vibraphone, santur, keyboard) and Edgar Hoffmann (saxophone, flutes). To date more than 400 musicians have played with the collective, some, such as Charlie Mariano, Trilok Gurtu, Marty Cook, Jurji Parfenov, Alan Praskin, X.Nie, Nick McCarthy, and Mal Waldron, have played on multiple occasions. Longtime members are Dieter Serfas(drums), Roman Bunka (guitar, oud), Uve Müllrich (bass), Michael Wehmeyer (keyboard), Chris Karrer (guitar, violin, sax), Lothar Stahl (marimba, drums), and Jens Polheide (bass, flute). In 1979 the band started a nine month tour to India by bus, which was documented by the movie "Vagabundenkaravane". Embryo developed from jazzy Krautrock to a world music band, which is able to merge different styles and trends. Many of their albums originated during collective journeys on 4 continents. The band played many festivals around the globe: in India (Mumbai Jazz 1979), England (Reading 1973), Nigeria (Port Harcourt Jazz 1987), Japan(Wakayama 1991) to name a few. In July 2008 Embryo is awarded the German World Music Award RUTH 2008 at TFF.Rudolstadt Festival.

BIO [ © Geoff Orens, allmusicguide.com ]

One of the most original and innovative Krautrock bands, Embryo fused traditional ethnic music with their own jazzy space rock style. Over their 30-year existence, during which Christian Burchard has been the only consistent member, the group has traveled the world, playing with hundreds of different musicians and releasing over 20 records. Originally a jazzy space rock group, Embryo was formed in 1969 in Munich, Germany, by former R&B and jazz organist Christian Burchard (vibraphone, hammer dulcimer, percussion, marimba), Edgar Hofmann (saxophone), Luther Meid (bass), Jimmy Jackson (organ), Dieter Serfas (drums, percussion), Wolfgang Paap (drums), Ingo Schmidt (saxophone), and John Kelly (guitar). However, the lineup was already different by the time of the sessions for their debut album. The resulting record, Opal (1970), is considered the band's masterpiece of their early, more psychedelic sound. By the time of Embryo's Rache (1971), the group was already adding ethnic touches to their music. In 1972, the same year they played at the Olympic Games in Munich, Embryo was invited by the Goethe Institute to tour Northern Africa and Portugal. In Morocco, the band was fascinated by the different tonal scales used by Moroccan musicians, profoundly shaping the group's music to come. In 1973, the band was joined by saxophonist Charlie Mariano and guitarist Roman Bunka, who were both influential in moving Embryo towards their genre-blending mixture of space rock with ethnic sounds. We Keep On, released in 1973, was the most successful album in the group's career. However, after Surfin' (1974) and Bad Heads and Bad Cats (1975), Burchard decided the band was moving in too commercial a direction and led them on an eight-month excursion to India, where they met local musicians. Shoba Gurtu, an Indian singer the band met during their travels, would later record an album with them, 1979's Apo Calypso. Embryo also set up their own record label, Schneeball, with the rock band Checkpoint Charlie during this time. The band then took off on a two-year journey through the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, during which the band's bus broke down in Tehran in the middle of a civil war in 1981. The double album Embryo Reise (1981) captured this musical expedition as did the documentary film Vagabunden-Karawane. After touring Asia, the Middle East, and Egypt during the early '80s, Embryo released their first studio album in seven years, Zack Gluck, in 1984. The band then toured Africa and became involved with Nigeria's Yoruba Dun Dun Ensemble. However, after internal conflicts, Embryo split up. Burchard then continued under the name of Embryo with new musicians while a new group, Embryos Dissidenten, was formed. The band released 2001 Live: Vol. 1.


A.O.O.F.C said...


hulaboy said...

Thank you, and Lord bless Charlie Mariano.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks hulaboy. "We Keep On"

Anonymous said...

thank you very much! i found out about this album through Maria Archer, i really love her vocals. once again thanks

p.s you don't happen to have the Real Ax Band album "move your ass in time"
ive been able to get a couple of tracks but unable to get the full album
you can reach me at trewzkid@gmail.com

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, trewz. Got your comment. Won't post cos of e-mail spammers. I'll look thru my archivws for real ax. Stay tuned....Thanks, & ttu soon