Get this crazy baby off my head!


Brian Auger's Oblivion Express


Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - Voices Of Other Times - 2000 - Miramar Productions

Released a week before his 61st birthday, Brian Auger's return to recording under the aegis of the Oblivion Express marks both a look back at his heyday and a continuance of his style of music. That style is a species of soul-jazz familiar from the 1960s and leading into the funky jazz-rock fusion of the early '70s. Indeed, four of the album's ten selections are remakes of songs drawn from Auger's back catalog: "Isola Natale" from his debut album Open (1967); "Indian Rope Man" from Streetnoise (1968); "Voices of Other Times" from Closer to It! (1973); and "Never Gonna Come Down" from Happiness Heartaches (1977). Whether originals or covers, the new recordings testify to Auger's jazz influences, often overtly -- the Latin-styled piano/organ excursion "Victor's Delight" is dedicated to Victor Feldman, while Marcus Miller's "Splatch" is borrowed from Miles Davis' Tutu album. The all-new edition of the Oblivon Express heard on the album is a family affair, with Auger's son Karma playing drums and producing and daughter Savannah singing on eight tracks, augmented by guitarist Chris Clermont and bass player Dan Lutz. Nearly 40 years into Auger's career, they make for what is virtually a repertory band devoted to a musical style that old fans will recall fondly, so that they can play this album alongside the CD reissues of the keyboard player's vintage recordings. © William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

After achieving major success in Britain in the '60s, Brian Auger formed Oblivion Express and from 1971 to 1977 released a string of seven seminal jazz-rock albums plus two live albums that set a new standard for keyboard jazz with blues & rock leanings and a signature sound defined by the mixture of Hammond B-3 organ and electric piano. With various members and singers, these albums contained great original songs by Auger combined with well-chosen covers of jazz classics, and represented a career high water mark. In the '80s and '90s, Auger releases became sporadic and although his career never regained the momentum of the Oblivion Express period, his talent kept happily resurfacing. In 2000, Oblivion Express was reborn with a new lineup and a new recording, Voices of Other Times, which features Brian with two of his children and two of their musician friends who together have crafted what may be the best Oblivion Express album yet. The trademark sound is not only intact, but sounds better than ever, thanks in part to fantastic production by drummer and son, Karma, and vocals by daughter Savannah. It's Oblivion Express -- the next generation. The first track, "It Burns Me Up," starts with a funky Marcus Miller-style bass line that literally screams "hey -- this isn't the '70s anymore," together with Hammond organ, topical lyrics and overall amazing sound. Imagine the Express in its prime, only updated, fresh and current. There's a classic Auger organ solo, pumping bass and drums, and also some nice solo guitar. "Isola Natale" is a remake of a song from Brian's first album (Open from 1967 with Julie Driscoll and the Trinity) and features a Latin style rhythm with more nice guitar and bass work, all anchored by the Hammond organ which works tremendously well in combination with Savannah's voice; this sounds so current you'd never know it was written over three decades ago. The title track is an update of the great song from the classic Oblivion Express album Closer To It (1973), with excellent vocal, band performance and arrangement, if anything exceeding the original. This song has a perfect combination of rhythm and organ with a superb melody, plus an organ solo to boot. This is all too cool; I just can't get over the fact that although the trademark sound is intact, almost 30 years on it sounds totally new. Track four is the Marcus Miller composition "Splatch," which Auger says he first heard on Miles Davis' Tutu album. Bassist Dan Lutz also seems to have a high appreciation for Miller that is obvious from his playing. The song starts with another classic Miller bass line, then theHammond organ, then more nice guitar soloing and great drumming by Karma; the organ riffs sound positively exuberant. "Indian Rope Man," written by Richie Havens, is another redo from the Auger catalogue; the original dates back to the Streetnoise album (1969), updated here with a great version. "Victor's Delight," is dedicated by Brian in the liner notes to pianist Victor Feldman "whose inspirational playing has left a lasting impression on me." "Circles," is a great sounding original, written by guitarist Chris Clermont with lyrics by Savannah. "Never Gonna Come Down" is another nice update of a classic tune from the Happiness Heartaches album, which was the last release from the original run of the Express in 1977. The four updates on this record sound so fresh and current next to the new material that you would never know they were old songs unless you were familiar with them (or looked them up). "Jam Side Down" closes the album with an instrumental workout composed by the band. Every track on this disc gets such a great groove going that you won't want any of them to end. Whatever it takes, please seek out Voices of Other Times. Listeners unfamiliar with Auger or his history who pick up this disc are in for a huge treat, with the added bonus of being able to go back to those classic Oblivion Express albums from the '70s and discover them for the first time. Auger fans hearing this new disc for the first time will be both shocked and amazed that after all these years there is a new Oblivion Express that not only sounds right but is even better than before. It's like reconnecting with a long lost friend. © Rambles, written by William Kates published 9 August 2003 http://www.rambles.net/auger_voices00.html

This is a very strong CD. Excellent musicianship from Brian, his talented offspring and two young lions on guitar and bass. Very well produced by his son (also very tasty on drums). I recently saw a quote saying Brian is the "Grandfather of Acid Jazz." Listening to this CD gives real credence to the argument (along with remembering all his excellent 70s recordings). Brian's sound has modernized very well--nothing dated here. The remake of "Isola Natale" is smooth with just the right amount of grease. On "Soul Glow", Brian's daugher turns in an excellent vocal performance, with one tricky passage deftly sung that really makes it hard to believe how young she is. Auger has never gotten the credit or notariety he deserves, and it sure would be nice if this one took off. © 2007-2010 AllCDCovers

"Brian Auger is one of the best B-3 artists I have ever heard in my life. His technique is awesome and the amount of energy he generates is unparalleled and relentless. He is a tremendous talent with a wonderfully warm and compassionate personality, a combination that is hard to beat. He deserves all the accolades."- Herbie Hancock: "My Favorite rock artists are Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Auger and Loudon Wainwright."- Mose Allison: "Voices Of Other Times" is a great contemporary soul jazz rock album. The music is full of great probing grooves, and is reminiscent of Brian Auger's innovative jazz-rock from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Listen to Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger & The Trinity's "Streetnoise" album, Brian Auger's Oblivion Express' "Reinforcements" album, and Karma Auger's great "Blue Groove" album. N.B: A little note for Steely Dan fans. Some of the music on "Voices Of Other Times" is very much in the jazz rock style of Walter Becker. One of Brian Auger's favourite musicians is the late English multi-instrumentalist, Victor Feldman, who played on at least five Steely Dan albums, and one of Brian Auger's favourite albums is Steely Dan's "Aja".


It Burns Me Up - Brian Auger
Isola Natale - Brian Auger
Voices of Other Times - Brian Auger, Barry Dea
Splatch - Marcus Miller
Indian Rope Man - Richie Havens, Joe Price, Mark Roth
Soul Glow - Brian Auger, Karma
Victor's Delight - Brian Auger
Circles - Brian Auger, Chris Clermont
Never Gonna Come Down - Clive Chaman, Chris Clermont
Jam Side Down - Brian Auger, Chris Clermont, Karma Auger, Dan Lutz


Brian Auger (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond B3 organ, Korg SG keyboard)
Chris Clermont (guitar)
Dan Lutz (bass)
Karma D. Auger (drums, percussion)
Long John Oliva (conga)
Savannah Auger (vocals)


Brian Auger was raised in London, where he took up the keyboards as a child and began to hear jazz by way of the American Armed Forces Network and an older brother's record collection. By his teens, he was playing piano in clubs, and by 1962 he had formed the Brian Auger Trio with bass player Rick Laird and drummer Phil Knorra. In 1964, he won first place in the categories of "New Star" and "Jazz Piano" in a reader's poll in the Melody Maker music paper, but the same year he abandoned jazz for a more R&B-oriented approach and expanded his group to include John McLaughlin (guitar) and Glen Hughes (baritone saxophone) as the Brian Auger Trinity. This group split up at the end of 1964, and Auger moved over to Hammond B-3 organ, teaming with bass player Rick Brown and drummer Mickey Waller. After a few singles, he recorded his first LP on a session organized to spotlight blues singer Sonny Boy Williamson that featured his group, saxophonists Joe Harriott and Alan Skidmore, and guitarist Jimmy Page; it was Don't Send Me No Flowers, released in 1968. By mid-1965, Auger's band had grown to include guitarist Vic Briggs and vocalists Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, and Julie Driscoll, and was renamed Steampacket. More a loosely organized musical revue than a group, Steampacket lasted a year before Stewart and Baldry left and the band split. Auger retained Driscoll and brought in bass player Dave Ambrose and drummer Clive Thacker to form a unit that was billed as Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity. Their first album, Open, was released in 1967 on Marmalade Records (owned by Auger's manager, Giorgio Gomelsky), but they didn't attract attention on record until the release of their single, "This Wheel's on Fire," (music and lyrics by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko) in the spring of 1968, which preceded the appearance of the song on the Band's Music from Big Pink album. The disc hit the top five in the U.K., after which Open belatedly reached the British charts. Auger and the Trinity recorded the instrumental album Definitely What! (1968) without Driscoll, then brought her back for the double-LP, Streetnoise (1968), which reached the U.S. charts on Atco Records shortly after a singles compilation, Jools & Brian, gave them their American debut on Capitol in 1969. Driscoll quit during a U.S. tour, but the Trinity stayed together long enough to record Befour (1970), which charted in the U.S. on RCA Records, before disbanding in July 1970. Auger put together a new band to play less commercial jazz-rock and facetiously called it the Oblivion Express, since he didn't think it would last; instead, it became his perennial band name. The initial unit was a quartet filled out by guitarist Jim Mullen, bass player Barry Dean, and drummer Robbie McIntosh. Their initial LP, Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, was released in 1971, followed later the same year by A Better Land, but their first U.S. chart LP was Second Wind in June 1972, the album that marked the debut of singer Alex Ligertwood with the band. Personnel changes occurred frequently, but the Oblivion Express continued to figure in the U.S. charts consistently over the next several years with Closer to It! (August 1973), Straight Ahead (March 1974), Live Oblivion, Vol. 1 (December 1974), Reinforcements (October 1975), and Live Oblivion, Vol. 2 (March 1976). Meanwhile, Auger had moved to the U.S. in 1975, eventually settling in the San Francisco Bay area. In the face of declining sales, he switched to Warner Bros. Records for Happiness Heartaches, which charted in February 1977. Encore, released in April 1978, was a live reunion with Julie Tippetts (née Driscoll) that marked the end of Auger's association with major record labels, after which he dissolved the Oblivion Express and recorded less often. In 1990, he teamed up with former Animals singer Eric Burdon, and the two toured together during the next four years, releasing Access All Areas together in 1993. In 1995, Auger put together a new Oblivion Express. As of 2000, the lineup consisted of his daughter, Savannah, on vocals, Chris Clermont on guitar, Dan Lutz on bass, and his son Karma on drums. This group issued the album Voices of Other Times on Miramar Records one week before Auger's 61st birthday. © William Ruhlmann © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fpfrxqr5ldhe~T1