Rare Bird – Epic Forest (1973)

FrontCover1.JPGRARE BIRD is a quartet that relied heavily on keyboards as both Kafinetti and Field played together, the former on piano and synthesizers and the latter on organ – much like PROCOL HARUM but without the inspiration and latter on GREENSLADE. They had a good hit with “Sympathy” in the UK but especially in Continental Europe where they became quite popular, their sound often reminding BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST. This double kb attack held no place for a guitarist until Field left along with the drummer Ashton and another keyboard player Lamb. This change occurred also as they switched to Polydor label and they took on a guitar player, and played a harder rock with some funky lines. Nic Potter of VDGG played on two albums of the second line-up and John Wetton guested on one. (by Hugues Chantraine)

Late 60’s/ 70’s British Progressive rock band RARE BIRD released a few great albums over their career with “Epic Forest” representing one of their milestones. Although RARE BIRD are best known for their organ-driven progressive sounds, “Epic Forest” reduced the emphasis of the keys here and added a wider jazz prog feel with a slightly more contemporary 70’s soft rock vibe. The musicianship is very strong with some great vocal harmonies and instrumentation. As in all early RARE BIRD albums the songs are very well written and are very memorable with Dave Kaffinetti as the helm of the song writing department (later in his career would co-write with Big House, MARILLION). On this album we saw the departure of Graham Field and Mark Ashton who were replaced by Fred Kelly (drums) and Ced Curtis on guitar. Instrumentally these guys were excellent with very much an original develop sound and approach. (by loserboy)


Andy “Ced” Curtis (guitar)
Steve Gould (guitar.
Dave Kaffinetti (keyboards)
Paul Karras (bass, percussion)
Fred Kelly (drums, percussion)


01. Baby Listen 3.25
02. Hey Man 5.53
03. House In The City 4.25
04. Epic Forest 9.12
05. Turning The Lights Out 4.38
06. Her Darkest Hour 3.33
07. Fears Of The Night 3.18
08. Turn It All Around 4.43
09. Title No. 1 Again (Birdman) 6.05
10. Roadside Welcome 4.20
11. Four Grey Walls 3.54
12. You’re Lost 10.08
All songs written by Andy Curtis – Dave Kaffinetti – Fred Kelly – Paul Karas – Steve Gould
13. Devils High Concern (unreleased 1970) (unknown) 2.49
14. Sympathy (Single version) (Field/Kaffinetti/Gould/Ashton) 2.35
15. What You Want To Know (different version) (Field/Kaffinetti/Gould/Ashton) 3.32




The copy of my album was signed by Steve Gould:


Rare Bird – As Your Mind Flies By (1970)

FrontCover1Second album for RARE BIRD marking a wonderful contribution to the progressive rock genre. Without a question fans of organ and keyboard driven prog rock will love the music of RARE BIRD. Their arrangements although centred around the keyboard work of David Kaffinetti offers some great drumming and bass interplay. Steve Gould’s melodramatic vocals are a tad bit raw but I think fit the music perfectly and give it a nice degree of grit. Prog heads will love the side long 20 min long track “Flight” an ambitious four-movement track which surprisingly does not overshadow side 1 which is littered as well with 4 fantastic tracks. For me the sound of RARE BIRD is a scientific cross of URIAH HEEP, T2 and ELP. “As You Mind Flies By” is pretty much a masterpiece and is an essential recording ! (by loserboy)

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This is a wonderful album that is build around the excellent duo-keyboardwork from RareBird1970Graham Field and David Kaffinetti. The shorter songs alternates from romantic to bombastic featuring powerful vocals (warm, melancholic, dramatic) and great play on the Hammond organ (“I’m thinking” is the Hammond in its full glory!) , electric piano and harpsichord (“Down on the floor”). The absolute highlight on this album is the ‘magnum opus’ “Flight” (at about 20 minutes), divided in four pieces. Part One contains propulsive interplay between drums and organ, Part Two has exciting duo-keyboardwork (swirling organplay), Part Three delivers a psychedelic organ (like early PINK FLOYD) and in Part Four is the focus on slow and sumptuous Hammond organ play (including excerps from RAVEL’s “Bolero”), the vocals have a slightly hysterial undetone but fits perfect to the atmosphere. Although this is a good and often compelling album, in my opinion it is a bit overrated because it gained a kind of ‘cult-status’.(by Erik Neuteboom)

Mark Ashton (drums, vocals)
Graham Field (keyboards)
Steve Gould (vocals, bass)
David Kaffinetti (keyboards)
Andy Curtis (guitar on 08.)
Emergency Choir (conducted by Harry Barnes) (background vocals)
Fred Kelly (drums on 08.)

01. What You Want To Know 5.54
02. Down On The Floor 2.35
03. Hammerhead 3.29
04. I’m Thinking 5.35
05. Flight
05.1. Part 1: As Your Mind Flies By 9.48
05.2. Part 2: Vacuum 3.16
05.3. Part 3 + Part 4: New Yorker/Central Park 6.33
06. What You Want To Know (Mono Single A-side,1970) 3.30
07. Hammerhead (Mono Single B-side,1970) 3.19
08. Red Man (1971, previously unreleased) (Gould, Kaffinetti, Curtis, Hall) 3.24

All songs written by Dave Kaffinetti – Graham Field – Mark Ashton – Stephan Gould


Rare Bird – Same (1969)

FrontCover1Rare Bird was a progressive rock band founded in 1969. They were formed in England, but had more success in other European countries than they did at home. They are mostly remembered for the haunting, organ-based track “Sympathy”. It sold one million copies globally.

The history of Rare Bird began when Graham Field placed an advertisement for a pianist in a musical periodical. He got thirty replies and formed a group called “Lunch”. He met Dave Kaffinetti in November 1968, and together they formulated the basic ideas for Rare Bird. In August 1969, they finally found the ideal rhythm section in Steve Gould, Chris Randall and Mark Ashton. Field and Kaffinetti had originally envisaged that the band would be a four piece and were looking for a singer/bass player. Steve and Chris, who had both previously been members of the Pop-Psych band “Fruit Machine”, applied to the ad as vocals/guitar and bass respectively and were taken on. Lunch played a few gigs, one notable one was at the Tilbury Working Mens Club for the princely sum of five pounds. The band had no van and they managed to get amps, drums, guitars and Hammond organ into their cars. The gig was marred by Chris receiving a bad Ad1electric shock whilst on stage. It later turned out that the founders of the band were more interested in Steve and convinced him to play bass. Chris was now high and dry and was kicked out of the band. Two weeks later, they had signed management and agency contracts, and three weeks later, were in the studio recording their debut album. Before joining Lunch, Randall and Gould had previously written a song called “To the Memory of Two Brave Dogs”. Rare Bird included this song in their debut album renaming it “Iceberg” but Randall received no credit on the L.P. Along with Van der Graaf Generator and The Nice, they were one of the very first bands that signed to Charisma Records, the record label that Tony Stratton-Smith had founded.

Their late 1969 release “Sympathy” reached No. 2 in Italy, sold 500,000 copies in France and over one million globally. It became their only UK hit single, reaching No. 27 and staying on the chart for 8 weeks. A 1970 cover version of the track by The Family Dogg, reached number two in the Netherlands. The song returned to the UK chart in 1992 when a version by Marillion reached No. 17. In 2001, the track was sampled by Faithless in their song “Not Enuff Love”, named after a chorus line in “Sympathy”. The first album released in 1969 was called “Rare Bird”.

Live1970Live at the Palasport di Torino (Turin/Italy) (October 1970)

Later members included Fred Kelly (Nic Potter), Ced Curtis, Paul Holland, and Paul Karas on the Epic Forest album with Andy Curtis and Fred Kelly appearing on the album Somebody’s Watching. The band finally split up in the mid 1970s.

Dave Kaffinetti (credited as David Kaff) played the part of Viv Savage in This Is Spinal Tap (1984).

Chris Randall went on to play with Martin Murray and The Honeycombs, the groundbreaking group of the mid sixties with their worldwide hits, “Have I the Right”, “Love In Tokyo” and “Thats the Way!.

Paul Holland had previously been a recording engineer at Southern Music’s studio in Denmark Street, London during the time that Fruit Machine recorded songs for release on the Spark Label under the direction of Barry Kingston. Paul passed away in 2010 after losing the fight against cancer.

The song “Beautiful Scarlet” from their first album was sampled in the 2004 song “Summer’s Gonna Hurt You” by electronic music producer/DJ Diplo. (by wikipedia)

RareBird01This debut featured an organist and an electric pianist, but no guitarist, resulting in a moody Hammond-heavy album from a band that would later become more progressive and varied in its sound. “Beautiful Scarlet” shifts easily from histrionic soul to offhanded slow-four interludes, and the instrumental “Iceberg” shows off the organist Graham Field and the rest of band’s chops well. The whispered vocals and weird background noises of “God of War” achieves the kind of creepy gloom appropriate to an era of carpet bombing and napalm. Indeed, the production and instrumentation of this album makes it very much of a period piece, though certainly not in any derogatory sense.(by Paul Collins)

I add an interesting interview with Mark Ashtonabout his musical career …

MarkAshtonMark Ashton (drums)

Mark Ashton (drums, background vocals)
Graham Field (organ)
Steve Gould (bass, vocals)
David Kaffinetti (piano)

01. Iceberg 6.46
02. Times 4.00
03. You Went Away 4.17
04. Melanie 3.27
05. Beautiful Scarlet 5.23
06. Sympathy 2.30
07. Natures Fruit 2.36
08. Bird On A Wing 4.13
09. God Of War 5.08
10. Devil’s High Concern 2.48
11. Sympathy (mono-version) 2.35

All songs written by: Mark Ashton- Graham Field – Steve Gould – David Kaffinetti


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