Gong – Flying Teapot (1973)

FrontCover1Flying Teapot is the third studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, originally released by Virgin Records in May 1973. It was the second entry in the Virgin catalogue (V2002) and was released on the same day as the first, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (V2001). It was re-issued later in the year, with different cover art, by BYG Actuel in France and Japan. Recorded at Virgin’s Manor Studios, in Oxfordshire, England, it was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky and engineered by “Simon Sandwitch 2 aided by Tom Zen” (Simon Heyworth and Tom Newman).

Subtitled Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 1, it is the first of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy of albums, followed by Angel’s Egg in December and You the following October. This trilogy forms a central part of the Gong mythology. The Flying Teapot idea itself was influenced by Russell’s teapot. It was the first Gong album to feature English guitarist Steve Hillage, although he contributed relatively little as he arrived late in the recording process. According to Daevid Allen, “Steve Hillage arrived eventually, but there wasn’t a lot of space left. He played some rhythmick wa wa [sic], some jazzy chords and a spacey solo on ‘Flying Teapot’.” (by wikipedia)

DaevidAllen1974AProduced by Giorgio Gomelsky, notable for his work with the Yardbirds, Brian Auger, and Magma, this relatively early Gong project is a great representation of the Daevid Allen-era Gong. Though not as intricate as its follow-up companion piece, Angel’s Egg, The Flying Teapot is more of a true prog/space rock outing, where hippie-trippy lyrics and space whispering abound, as evidenced in the opening track, “Radio Gnome Invisible.” The following cut, “Flying Teapot,” is the sprawling highlight of the album. At times reminiscent of some early Weather Report jams, though not as jazzy, the tune features prominent bass, standout percussion/drums, and space whispering courtesy of Smyth. Improvisational groaning and percussion bring this jam to a close. “Pothead Pixies” is a fun pop (pot?) tune which probably received very little, if any, airplay due to the lyrics, followed by Blake’s brief synth interlude, “The Octave Doctors and the Crystal Machine.” “Zero the Hero and the Witch’s Spell,” another lengthy composition, features Malherbe’s sax playing, which, at this early point in the Gong evolution, is credited for most of the jazz sounds heard in the music (remember, Pierre Moerlen has yet to join the band). This cut becomes quite heavy near its end before making a clever transition into the final cut, “Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy.” Here you hear Smyth’s strange, sexually explicit lyrics, which she embellishes with ethereal voicings and cackling. This, combined with a jazzy sax from Malherbe and some very groovy musical lines near the closing, make for another fun tune. by David Ross Smith)

Gong

Personnel:
Laurie Allan (drums)
Daevid Allen (vocals, guitar)
Tim Blake (synthesizer, vocals)
Steve Hillage (guitar)
Rachid Houari (percussion)
Didier Malherbe (saxophone, flute)
Francis Moze (bass, piano)
Christian Tritsch (guitar)
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Gilli Smyth (space whisper)

LPBooklet

Tracklist:
01. Radio Gnome Invisible (Allen) – 5:32
02. Flying Teapot (Allen/Moze) – 12:30
03. The Pot Head Pixies (Allen) – 3:00
04. The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine” (Blake) – 2:00
05. Zero The Hero And The Witch’s Spell (Allen/Blake/Tritsch) – 9:45
06. Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy (Smyth/Allen) – 5:10

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One thought on “Gong – Flying Teapot (1973)

  1. As the first of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy its a fine example of early progressive rock.
    Although to the today´s listerns ears it sounds a bit too strained.
    Thank you for the recollection…

    Like

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