Led by Merrel Fankhauser and featuring the cosmic guitar of Jeff Cotton (Capt Beefheart's Band), MU were lush, bluesy & psychedelic. This set contains their 1971-72 L.A. sessions & 1974 Maui sessions, along with rare sing... more »le tracks, radio interviews & rare photos. 32 tracks in all, including 'Ain't No Blues', 'Ballad Of Brother Law', 'Blue Form', 'Too Naked For Demetrius', etc. This 1997 Sundazed release is packaged in a double slimline jewel case.« less
Led by Merrel Fankhauser and featuring the cosmic guitar of Jeff Cotton (Capt Beefheart's Band), MU were lush, bluesy & psychedelic. This set contains their 1971-72 L.A. sessions & 1974 Maui sessions, along with rare single tracks, radio interviews & rare photos. 32 tracks in all, including 'Ain't No Blues', 'Ballad Of Brother Law', 'Blue Form', 'Too Naked For Demetrius', etc. This 1997 Sundazed release is packaged in a double slimline jewel case.
An innovative blend of blues,rock,new age and a desert funk.
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps,in 20/20 hindsight, it,s fair to say that Mu could have achieved greater commercial success sticking to their early more blues/rock driven sound.The songs on the first cd of this set are of great sound quality and show the promise of a band just about ready to arrive.While the second cd of this set is more uniform in it's mellow,dreamy sound;the first cd shows the bands unique ability of making music that is both innovative and versatile.I really like "Aint No Blues" with Larry Willey thumping his driving bass while crying a gospel felt poor black man's lament.Listen to Jeff Cotton chopping his way with some great bluesy guitar."Zappa seems to copy this style later while recording Crew Slut" Merrell Fankhouser's treatment of "Ballad Of Brother Lew" is also full of imagery, of inner-city violence and the bluesy sadness of loss. "Nobody Want's to Shine" has a great bass lead intro and has a great sax solo by Jeff Cotton that shows this bands promising "at the time '71" outlook.I also really like "Eternal Thirst" with a true desert sound that brings your mind to visualize the desolate yet peaceful journey.Randy Wimer is great in pounding out the driving backbeat to the chants and the transition is great back into the verse.While their search for a new way of life in Hawaii can be cheered,I sometimes wonder what could have been for these talented musicians.I really think their later sound misses the drive and bluesy-funk that Larry Willey seemed to provide to their early sound. Larry did not move with the band to Hawaii.With the new-age and ecclectic movements of recent years it shows that MU was simply ahead of their time."
An Overlooked Gem
Paul Tetta | Malden, MA USA | 10/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"How did I miss these guys the first time around? The first album in this two album set is an unknown classic. It has everything - bits of sixties psychedelia, skewered blues, beefheart, even a little jazz. And it's all perfectly played, sung and arranged. The recording is also great -- it has that early '70's clarity. Kudos to Jeff Cotton - what an underrated guitar player."
Paul Tetta | 09/08/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mu did something very few hippies ever did: they succeeded at living a complete, organic hippy lifestyle and not compromising their principles, for at least five years in the 70s. Because of that, they were truly happy and content, and you can hear it in their music. Jeff Cotton's slide guitar solos have the drama and economy of a Jimmy Page or a Robbie Robertson (he was also a refugee from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band), and the single here, "On the Way to Hana," is one of the best West Coast psychedelic pop songs. Mu's Hawaii residence, documented on the second CD of this 2-CD set (Amazon only lists the tracks from the second CD) was extremely productive. Almost all of the songs are successful "bliss anthems" to quote Joe Carducci, author of "Rock and the Pop Narcotic." The band broke up when Cotton and another member "joined the Christian ministry." I sure can't fault them for that, since it's obvious they were already so close to heaven."
Just reviewing the first MU album...
Josh Z. Bonder | Toronto | 12/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While living abroad, I discovered the first MU album on cd in a tiny store full of rare prog discs. I had heard about MU through Jeff Cotton's association with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band during the making of Strictly Personal and Trout Mask Replica. Needless to say, I was interested in hearing more output from the guy who had to leave the Magic Band after a mental and physical breakdown. So, I can only comment on the material from the first album (I think all of which is included in this set). On first listen, I was thrilled to discover that this band rocks, while playing with polyrhythms and interesting changes of time signature. I also quickly discovered that all of my favourite tracks from the album were written by Jeff Cotton (the weaker material being the contributions of Merrell Fankhauser). Cotton's contributions make this album worth the price alone; his slide guitar and bass clarinet playing are also superb, and are anchored by a very strong and swinging rhythm section. This album has a somewhat dreamy quality, and upon every listen conjures foreign landscapes (living in the desert at the time of purchase certainly contributes to this feeling too). But, I really did feel that this album captures the feelings I felt living such a simple life, farming and having heat hallucinations living in a small desert village. Associations or not, this album can be quite ethereally suggestive. I don't know where you can find just the first MU album, but this package seems like a great deal (though the songs from the first album are not in sequence)."