LOCAL ANAESTHETIC Nirvana (UK)
For those of you not of ‘mature’ years like some of us, this is not Kurt Cobain etc (they nicked the name). This is the original duo of Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Alex Spyropoulos who came together in 1965 to write material and eventually named their ‘band’ Nirvana. I think I should nail my colours to the mast and say straight away that their single ‘Rainbow Chaser’ (from their second album, the glorious ‘All of Us’) is one of my favourite singles of all time, a perfect piece of psych/baroque that perfectly captured its moment in 1967/8. Nirvana scored some firsts, the first single to feature extensive ‘phasing’ and their debut album ‘The Story of Simon Simopath’ the first ‘concept’ album predating The Small Faces and The Pretty Things. Those first 2 albums were full of wonderful exquisite baroque/chamber pop ‘Tiny Goddess’ and ‘Pentecost Hotel’ being fine examples. Both albums were recorded for Island Records, a third was recorded but shelved (at the time} and then in 1970 with the amicable departure of Alex, Patrick signed to Vertigo the new ‘progressive’ label and the 4th album ‘Local Anaesthetic’ was released under the Nirvana banner in 1971. LA was a departure from what had appeared before and out went the cello’s and classical chords in favour of (as befitted the label) a progressive/jazz feel album, its to be fair a pretty schizophrenic affair, lyrics and music clash in somewhat disjointed fashion, Patrick was going through a bad time personally and used the sadness he was feeling into his work. In his own words the album was a bit ‘mad’ (think Frank Zappa). Personally I think more like ‘Gracious’ for those of you who remember them. Jumping from spoken snippets to boogie rock to harpischords with no clear direction it is nevertheless an interesting piece but probably not for everyone, especially if you originally fell in love with the first two albums. Overall its going to appeal to fans and completists of Nirvana’s canon of work, of which I include myself.
SONGS OF LOVE AND PRAISE Nirvana (UK)
And so to Nirvana’s 5th (and last to date) album released a year later in 1972. Having worked out some frustrations as discussed on LA Patrick is back in more familiar vein. As the title suggests concentration is now back on songs and a cohesive album. Kicking off by revisiting a re-arranged ‘Rainbow Chaser’ (sans phasing etc) and also the aforementioned delightful ‘Pentecost Hotel’ also gets a re-working. Around these sit some beautifully realised tracks ‘Please Believe Me’ and ‘I Need Your Love Tonight’ being highlights. Although not (and I’m sure he’d agree) the strongest vocalist, Patricks voice contains an ethereal element that’s very appealing, and the likes of musicians from Jade Warrior and Spooky Tooth certainly add to the mix.Overall A gentle album that paints some cinematic images in your head and lingers there. Although musically still experimental its more akin to ‘classic’ early Nirvana and completes the circle for me. This release and LA has both been remastered and contain bonus tracks and interesting essays/pictures. Well done to Esoteric for making these available for us to enjoy.
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Til next time……. Colin
Jan Warren… Oh yes, at last a mention of the “early” Nirvana!! – interesting report and I’ve always loved their song “Rainbow Chaser”!! – lovely stuff, thank you
Chris Sambrook… Thanks Colin for the info on Nirvana re; Rainbow Chaser. I bought the Single after hearing it played on Wonderful Radio London I seem to remember ordering it from Jack London at the Record shop, Queens Road he also had in stock S.F. Sorrow. My paper round money burnt a hole in the pocket. I remember Gracious first album which i still have. Also their second album on Phillips. Looking through bands on line i understand that their Keyboard player Martin Kitkat sold his Mellotron to Coheed Cambria or something like that. Saw Gracious on Hastings Pier in the very early 70’s Kitkat made the Mellotron funky. Their first album is still a bit ahead of its time dare i say, and still stands up today. The second album, again was a head of its time. Anyway thanks for for the mention of Gracious The 3rd album was released well into the 80’s/90’s not so interesting, only the guitarist being from the original band . I will be interested to hear from anyone else who remembers seeing them. The memory banks have become blurred over the years. Well i thought they were great. One of the great lost bands, which includes T2 It’ll all work out in Boomland or pre Jig a Jig East f Eden Mercator Projected. Or Egg. Sorry end of waffle.
Alan Esdaile… Great track from Nirvana and a great video. Reminds me of the smell of joss sticks watching it. Loved Gracious and still do. With regard to Martin Kitkat (surely not his real name?) of Gracious, I’m pretty sure he worked behind the scenes with Genesis at some stage.