Long ago and far away, there was a time when musicians ruled the pop world. Those strange beings gifted at playing musical instruments were allowed to make records and even stranger ~ their work was so popular It actually got into the charts! Although this now seems like a far fetched alien concept in an age ruled by computers and *boy bands’, there are wise men who can recall those ancient times and swear it is true.
Once such example was the UK musical ensemble known as East Of Eden whose experimental work resulted in them being hailed by critics as pioneers of progressive rock. Yet, such was the open minded and receptive attitude prevailing in the late Sixties, the band’s music was eagerly accepted by a wide audience. Teenage girls were seen entering record stores and asking ‘May I have the latest waxing by East Of Eden please? I hear they are really fab’. Pipe smoking intellectuals discussed their latest albums and offered profound insights into their lyrics.
Even housewives turned up their wireless sets a notch louder when the band’s hit record “Jig A Jag” came on the air. This lively instrumental number, featuring the violin playing of Dave Arbus, got to Number 7 in the UK charts in April 1971. Dave Arbus (violin, saxes, flute) was a founder member of the West Countrygroup, which got together in 1968. The first line up included Ron Gaines (alto sax), Geoff Nicholson (lead guitar), Andy Sneddon (bass) and London born drummer Geoff Britton. A one-off single called ‘King Of SianV appeared on the Atlantic label before they were signed to Deram in 1969.
Their first album ‘Mercator Projected’ was released in 1969 and showcased a mixture of styles, from rock to jazz and Eastern style music. Arbus also played trumpet and flute and was much inspired by the work of jazz composer and bassist Charles Mingus. Their next album ‘Snafu’ was released in 1970. It was a time when exciting new bands like ELP and Deep Purple were developing the progressive rock style and there were scores of clubs and venues where bands could work and earn a living. All this provided a healthy environment for a group that wasn’t afraid to blend raga, jazz and folk, all within the space of a few bars.
East Of Eden took a quantum leap forward in terms when “Jig A Jag” was a hit. It stayed on the charts for 12 ‘weeks and seemed destined to transform their financial fortunes. That same year the band switched from Decca’s Deram to EMI’s Harvest label and the ‘East Of Eden’ album featuring Dave Arbus with David Jack Cvocals, bass, acoustic guitar} Jim Roche (guitars) and Jeff Allen (drums & percussion) – was released in 1971, at the height of the band’s commercial popularity Progressive Rock fans suddenly found themselves supporting an act that was apperaring on TV alongside the likes of T.Rex and there was some confusion about the band’s identity and musical direction.(Chris Welch)
Listen to the exciting sounds of East Of Eden ! And it sounds so fucking good till today !
Jeff Allen (drums, percussion)
Dave Arbus (violin, saxophone, flute)
David Jack (vocals, bass, guitar)
Jim Roche (guitar)
All songs composed by David Jack
* (coming soon)