Fine keyboard-driven prog rock
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 02/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rare Bird supposedly formed in October 1969 and had their debut album, simply called Rare Bird released within two months of their formation. The band had a distinction of being one of the first rock bands to feature two keyboardists (David Kaffinetti, Graham Fields, David played electric piano, Graham played organ) but no one on guitar. The band also featured the powerful voice of Steve Gould (who also played bass) and drums from Mark Ashton. As Your Mind Flies By, released in 1970, is regarded as their best album by many prog fans, and some claim it to be the best prog album, but I wouldn't go that far, but it's still a fine example of what early prog was all about. The original LP was released on Charisma on the pink scroll label, and the American LP was released on ABC with a totally different cover. Now it's available on CD. Side one contains four, somewhat shorter pieces, "What You Want to Know", "Down on the Floor", "Hammerhead" and "I'm Thinking". My favorite is the heavy and powerful "Hammerhead" with some truly killer vocals and Hammond organ. The rest of these cuts often have pop and soul tendencies, but still progressive enough not to scare off the progheads. "Down on the Floor" has a more classical feel thanks to the presence harpsichord. Side two (that is, if you own the LP) is a four part suite called "Flight" which is often regarded as the album's masterpiece and without a doubt the most progressive thing on the album. Choir is used from time to time, not to mention a middle part that features some rather experimental and spacy Hammond organ that reminds me of those Krautrock bands from around the same time. Most of the rest of "Flight" is very much in typical early British prog fashion. Unfortunately As Your Mind Flies By was Rare Bird's last album with the original lineup, Graham Fields and Mark Ashton left, replaced by a new drummer and two guitar players making their first two albums their only albums not to feature any guitar. It might be interesting to note that many years after Rare Bird broke up, David Kaffinetti later appeared on the movie This is Spinal Tap, he shorted his name to David Kaff. Anyway, if you enjoy early keyboard-driven British prog, be sure to get a copy of As Your Mind Flies By."
RareBird, a rare talent
BENJAMIN MILER | 08/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"RareBird were a late 60's English rock band that had a unique keyboard sound which is self evident when you listen to As Your Mind Flies By .
This CD is a superb blend of hard keyboard driven rock with a couple of beautiful melodic compositions also included.
The talent of the four band members is there for all to hear on the title track.From the sublime keyboard playing of David Kaffinetti and Graham Field to the outstanding vocal talent of Steve Gould,backed up by some great percussion from Mark Ashton.As Your Mind Flies By is a great and unique example of keyboard driven rock.
RareBird were indeed, a very rare talent!"
Not Your Grandfather's Hammond B3
MightyFavog | 10/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album knocked my socks off in college, and it is one of the few that still does all these years later. How many albums have you not gotten tired of after 34 years?
I recently played Flight for my 21 year old daughter (she's into the current indie scene). Her reaction: "it's really different, but I think the choir is a tad melodramatic." She's right, but Flight's still an absolute work of art (hence the 5 stars). So is Hammerhead. I'm Thinking is not too bad. I'm not as crazy about the other cuts.
This album should be played loud on a good stereo to really appreciate its tremendous power.
Rare Bird was such a breath of fresh air in the early 70's: this (and their first) still hold their own. The music philosophy was different back then: major labels would risk new stuff like this. What a great era for musicians, and how sad that it is over.
After Flight, Rare Bird had a personnel turnover and abandoned that special keyboard drive. I lost interest.