East Of Eden – Same (1971)

FrontCover1Long 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 !

Front+BackCoverCover art by hipgnosis

Jeff Allen (drums, percussion)
Dave Arbus (violin, saxophone, flute)
David Jack (vocals, bass, guitar)
Jim Roche (guitar)

01. Wonderful Feeling 6.11
02. Goodbye 5.48
03. Crazy Daisy 6.54
04. Here Comes The Day 4.33
05. Take What You Need 5.03
06. No Time 6.03
07. To Mrs. V 5.18

All songs composed by David Jack

Label1* (coming soon)

East Of Eden – Live At The BBC (1970)

FrontCover1When the great Big-O-Magazine offered East Of Eden live in Zurich 1970 as a download last year, it became one of the more popular shows among jazz fans. Perhaps the group’s reputation did preceed them. Also, there aren’t that many East Of Eden shows available, especially fine sounding ones.

Formed in Bristol in 1967, the group had released Mercator Projected in 1969, followed by Snafu in 1970. Knowing that the performances were to be broadcast, East Of Eden played what would have been a set of “greatest hits” – Waterways, In The Snow For A Blow, the oriental-sounding Xhorkham, In The Stable Of The Sphinx (with an energetic surf-punk feel), Nymphenburger and, what would be a regular curtain closer, Jig-A-Jig.

Weaving Middle-Eastern elements into their music, the group had a hit song called Ramadhan. But what made East Of Eden stand out was their use of the violin as a lead instrument and their willingness to play their own blend of rock-fusion jazz. As mentioned on their website: “Their utilisation of jazz in a much purer form than their contemporaries was the prime element which defined their music. Also use of eastern scales, reggae rhythms and influences of classical composers such as Bartok crossed musical boundaries years before the term ‘World Music’ was coined.”

Thanks then to reader John Faulkner who contributed this compilation. John notes: “Uncirculated as far as I know. Excellent for the time – mono; from reel to reel.”

Recorded live at
Radio One In Concert, 1970 (tracks 01. – 04.)
Top Gear, April 18, 1970 (05. – 07)

Jeff Allen (drums)
Dave Arbus (violin, flute, saxophone)
Ron Caines (saxophone)
Andy Sneddon (bass, vocals)
Jim Roche (guitar)

Alternate frontcover

01. Waterways (Caines) 8.25
02. Moth (Caines) 4.22
03. In The Snow For A Blow (Sneddon/Britten/Nicholson/Caines/Arbus) 13.54
04. Xhorkham (Sneddon/Britten/Nicholson/Caines/Arbus) 15.56
05, In The Stable Of The Sphinx (Arbus/Nicholson/Caines/York) 12.50
06. Jig-A-Jig (Traditional) 7.73
07. Nymphenburger (Arbus/Nicholson/Caines/York) 8.02

East Of Eden, live in 1970