[Review] Graham Bond Organization: I Met The Blues At Klook’s Kleek (2007)

A bootleg-quality live recording featuring the sound of the Graham Bond Organization in 64 before their first record.

Kronomyth 7.52: Wade in the muddy-sounding waters. 

In the early 1970s, a recording of the Graham Bond Organization’s concert at Klooks Kleek (a popular venue for live blues in London) began to turn up on European imports. Mixing board recordings can often sound very good; in this case, unfortunately, someone appears to have just stuck a blank tape in a portable cassette player and pressed “record,” then stuffed it between two sofa cushions to give it some extra muffling.

As an historical document, it’s nice to have an early recording of the band before their first album was released… say, in the Library of Congress. You wouldn’t want to pay ten bucks for this, though, since it’s the sort of thing you listen to once and file away to collect dust between your classic Graham Bond discs and vast collection of Boomtown Rats recordings. (Unless you don’t alphabetize your music collection or own any Boomtown Rats discs, in which case my heart weeps for you either way.)

Half of the songs from this set never turned up on an official Bond album, and I’ll admit that it’s kind of cool to (barely) hear Jack Bruce play a bass solo on “Big Boss Man” or whip out his harmonica on “First Time I Met The Blues.” It’s a shame they didn’t do a better job of preserving this, since the performance is red hot: “What’d I Say,” “Spanish Blues” and “Wade In The Water” are already in near-perfect form. But it’s Bond fans who end up getting burned by the sub-bootleg quality of the recording. Note that later versions allude to some kind of digital remastering, which I can only imagine means that there’s more dynamic range between the muffled low notes and harshly distorted high notes.

Read more Graham Bond reviews

The Songs

1. Band Introduction By Dick Jordan (1:59)
2. Wade In The Water (2:47)
3. Big Boss Man (5:06)
4. Person To Person Blues (5:05)
5. First Time I Met The Blues (5:05)
6. Spanish Blues (2:56)
7. Stormy Monday (3:49)
8. Train Time (3:54)
9. Early In The Morning (3:50)
10. What’d I Say (5:07)

The Players

Ginger Baker (drums), Graham Bond (keyboards, alto saxophone, vocals), Jack Bruce (bass, harmonica, vocals), Dick Heckstall-Smith (tenor saxophone).

The Plastic

Recorded live on October 15, 1964 and released on compact disc in 2007 in France (Music Avenue, 250175).

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