Live In Texas: October 6, 1973

Captain Beyond

Purple Pyramid Records, 2013

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Beyond‎

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/18/2013

Captain Beyond was a band that flirted with commercial success and wide spread popularity in the early 1970s, but constant personnel changes plus break-ups and reunions left them a legacy of critical acclaim rather than lasting fame.

They were an under-the-radar super group. Lead singer Rod Evans was the original vocalist for Deep Purple. Drummer Bobby Caldwell played with the Johnny Winter Group, while lead guitarist Larry Reinhardt and bassist Lee Dorman had been members of Iron Butterfly.

Their sound was close to early British progressive rock even though they were an American band. They usually had a keyboardist as a member of the group but when they performed in Texas on October 6th 1973, they had not replaced departed original keyboardist Lewie Gold. This meant that their sound was more basic and sparse than much of their recorded material. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

As such, there is good news and bad news regarding Live In Texax: October 6, 1973.

The bad news is the sound quality. The concert was available as a fan club release and was extensively bootlegged for a while. This new release sounds like a bootleg and that may well have been its origins. I don’t know if it could have been cleaned up any better, but the sound fades in and out in places and is overall uneven. This is unfortunately especially true when it comes to Reinhardt’s lead guitar.

On the positive side, there is little if any live concert material available from this oftentimes forgotten but very creative band. That fact alone makes it worth a listen as it presents the band’s energy and style well.

The foundation of the show is taken from their self-titled debut album. The precise and delicate “Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea of Air),” the searing guitar solo of “Mesmerization Eclipse,” plus “Armworth” and “Myopic Void” are all glimpses into the mind, heart, and soul of a band that was an important part of the early 1970s music scene.

Meanwhile, not many groups can cover a Jimmy Hendrix song well, but their encore of “Stone Free” is one of the better renditions of his material.

Captain Beyond effectively ended in 1974 when Rod Evans just walked away. He would surface briefly in a fake Deep Purple band, was subsequently sued by members of the real Deep Purple, and he disappeared from music history. Reinhardt and Caldwell, with Dorman upon occasion, have reunited several times in the past, but with Reinhardt and Dorman both passing away in 2012, the career of Captain Beyond seems complete.

Caldwell seems to be the main protagonist in the release of this album and his included essay about the band is a good read.

If you can get past the sound issue (sometimes the sound in the early 1970s was not very good when a band played live and worse when recorded haphazardly), then Live In Texa:  October 6, 1973 is a wonderful journey back in time into the mind and music of Captain Beyond.

Rating: B

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