Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton in Armour. 1973 England
1973 EMI. Released in Germany and Canada as well
CD reissues: 1993 EMI (Japan); 1994 Si-Wan (Korea); 2009 EMI (Japan mini-LP)
LP reissue: 1994 Si-Wan (Korea)
Release details: UK originals come in a wonderful textured gatefold (first photo). Look to pay anywhere between 1 and 2 balloons* for a nice one. As with a few of my albums, I actually found a new original LP copy at a local record store here in Dallas in the mid 1980s. I almost didn't buy it because of the unrepresentative name of the band. But as fortune would have it, I gave up a dinner that night, and now still proudly own that copy. As for reissues, they have been the sole proprietorship of the Asian market. Not sure why this album hasn't been treated to a UK specialist label like Esoteric with full liner notes, but these Asian reissues will suffice until then. The Japanese mini-LP is a perfect reproduction of the original in miniature.
Notes: Fusion Orchestra aren't a jazz, nor chamber, rock band. Rather they represent, to me at least, the swan song for the Post Psychedelic, Proto Progressive with Female Vocals sound, as I've documented via the link provided. Fusion Orchestra are a spirited bunch, and the music borders hard rock, with blazing heavy psych guitar at every turn (with some great solos). There's also a jazz undercurrent, and Jill Saward's voice (and she plays a mean flute too) is husky in that blues sort of way that was popular at the turn of the decade. This is one of the most kinetic albums of the genre, with multiple fast paced meter shifts and a wealth of ideas, and no fan of any of the genres mentioned above will walk away disappointed here. Jill Saward was just a cute teenager when she joined the band in the early 70s. Later she went onto be the professional blond bombshell leading the slick, and very popular, 80s jazz funk band Shakatak.
(*old New York City colloquial meaning $100...)
And, would you believe, Fusion Orchestra has reformed and released an excellent followup album. And that album is today's feature on Under the Radar.