2015 live Oblivion Express album – featuring the dream team of Brian’s utterly unique, exuberant and uplifting playing alongside Alex Ligertwood’s stratospheric singing. Many years have passed since their first collaborations – both their respective talents remain utterly undiminished. The highlights of this new collection are almost too numerous to list, but the opener Freedom Jazz Dance still has that edgy, dark feel that has thrilled Brian Auger fans since the early 1970’s, when they took the Eddie Harris original instrumental version and injecting it with a vital and progressive new groove, adding incisive lyrics and Brian’s astounding organ solo that still stands today as a goose bump inducing ride, and the high standard many keyboard players still aim to achieve. In contrast, Happiness Is Just Round The Bend continues to be the joyous, life affirming funky, soul jazz outing that cannot but help lift ones spirit. Of course, The Main Ingredient had a bigger commercial success with their cover version, but to quote Dobie Gray ‘the originals are still the greatest!’
Absolutely amazing that Auger (74 when this was recorded in 2013) and Ligertwood (67 at the time) still have such undiminished chops at this stage of life. They nail the groove with every tune on this two CD set. Auger is still one of the few the reigning champions of the Hammond B-3 and I defy anyone to show me a vocalist that sounds as good as Ligertwood does now as he did in 1972. His range and phrasing is still phenomenal and while considered an acquired taste by some, there is no denying his energy and passion.
I’ve seen them both several times over the last 40 years and this set sounds as good as any of the times I’ve seen either of them play. I got to see and speak at length with Ligertwood a few times when he was performing at a small supper club on Ventura Blvd in the L.A. area in the early 2000’s and he was gracious and charmingly candid as we discussed his career beginning with Troc (a French band with drummer André Ceccarelli from the early 70’s), Oblivion Express, David Sancious (True Stories, released in 1978 – sadly out of print on CD but hire Pinkerton’s to find a copy for you, it’s an amazing recording as well) and Santana. Auger was equally charming the one time I got to converse with him about his career as well. They’re both class acts and I can’t imagine a fan of either of these two underappreciated giants being disappointed with this purchase. Highly recommended. (by Dave Hoeltje)
Brian Auger (keyboards)
Karma Auger (drums, background vocals)
Les King (bass)
Yarone Levy (guitar)
Alex Ligertwood (vocals, guitar, percussion)
01. Freedom Jazz Dance (Harris/Auger/Ligertwood) 7.38
02. Happiness Is Just Around The Bend (Auger) 6.53
03. Straight Ahead (Dean) 6.26
04. Bumpin’ On Sunset (Montgomery) 11.25
05. Inner City Blues (Gaye(Nyx) 6.08
06. Whenever You’re Ready (Dean) 7.47
01. Truth (Ligertwood) 7.53
02. Don’t Look Away, Look Around (Ligertwood/Dean/Mullen) 8.21
03. Second Wind (Auger) 5.07
04. I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know (Kooper) 7.30
05. Future Pilot (Auger) 7.26
06. Compared To What (McDaniels) 11.54
07. Brain Damage (Ligertwood/Mills) 8.02
I love to lie and lie to love
A-Hangin’ on, we push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby!
Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
Twisted children killin’ frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby now!
The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We’re chicken-feathers, all without one gut. God damn it!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)
Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can’t use it!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?
Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
Where’s my God and where’s my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?