Friday, 29 April 2011

Aural Sex

Another sweetie from '68.

Harvey Mandel is probably far more known for the acts he worked with (Stones, Canned Heat, Bluesbreakers) than for his own solo recordings.
And this release, his first solo effort, is reason enough to make the previous statement a sad one; coz this is one great album.

Way ahead of its time - just listen to that opening track; no way would you place it in the sixties; more like the seventies (okay, so it's not decades ahead, but I'm sure you get the gist) - it still sounds wonderfully dynamic and dead interesting.

There are certainly nods towards Hendrix, Zappa, and even to Randy California - there are parts that sound quite a lot like Kapt. Kopter; but that album was made in '72, right! See, years ahead! - but somehow, Mandel just sexes it up; creating some of the sexiest - without being sleazy or slack - guitar centred instrumentals you'll ever hear.

The way Mandel jams with the big sound - lots of lush strings and brazen brass from a James Last kind of set-up (please don't let that put you off!) - works in ways where others have tried but so readily failed.

Admittedly, some of the tracks do sound a little like TV themes ('Before Six' even sounds like a TV show!), but hey, some of those seventies' themes (I've placed him there, even if you're not accepting my rhetoric) were fucking great, right!
Just think back to Nationwide, The Money Programme, et al. (if you've no idea what I'm talking about check them out at YouTube) fantastic tunes and fantastic arrangements, but Mandel was in there first, creating sounds that would soon become iconic and true archetypes of kitsch.

So if this album, for whatever reason, has passed you by, check it out, and you'll be asking yourself the questions I always ask myself whenever I play this:
Clapton? Why the hell has nobody heard of Harvey Mandel?

Harvey Mandel - Cristo Redentor (1968)

A Wade in the Water
Lights Out
Bradley's Barn
You Can't Tell Me
Nashville 1am
Cristo Redentor
Before Six
The Lark
Long Wait

CD rip to mp3s
Get sexy here


Anonymous said...

Thank you, I'll give it a try. 'Cristo Redentor' is not the most adequate bait for an atheist as me (and you!)though!

roy rocket said...

Yes, an odd title.
The cover art does seem to represent an extremely odd interpretation of that famous lump of shaped stone.
Can't say I recognise any evangelism in the music though.... roy