Embryo - Live. 1977 Germany
CD reissue: 2015 Garden of Delights
LP reissue: 1999 April
Really fine set from Embryo, recorded in a town near Munich sometime in February, 1976. Very much a product of their jazz rock phase, Live will appeal to fans of We Keep On, Surfin', Bad Heads and Bad Cats, Apo-Calypso, and their contributions to the Umsonst and Draussen festivals. It's a bit more laid back than their intense Krautrock workouts of the early 70s, while pointing toward the earnest world fusion music that was to follow (Bambule in particular). Roman Bunka once again lights it up with his Eastern tinged psychedelic guitar, whereas Charlie Mariano burns on the saxophone and nagasuram, and Dieter Miekautsch gives us a splendid performance on the Fender Rhodes. Uve Mullrich and Christian Burchard lay down the energetic backbone. Maria Archer provides her usual sultry blues based female vocals on selected tracks, while Bunka brings his unique voice to the fore on occasion. Only 3 tracks will be recognized from their studio albums: Roadsong and After the Rain from Bad Heads (in truncated form), along with an extended version of You Can Turn Me On from Surfin'. The CD adds the 16 minute Just Arrived, from a concert a few weeks later. As you might imagine, given the length, Embryo stretch out a bit more here. A fine album, that improves with age.
The album is housed in a single sleeve cover from the April kollektiv created by Embryo, Missus Beastly and others. The album isn't particularly rare or expensive, and the quality isn't of the highest either. The strange thing is, while all the other Embryo albums have been on CD since the 1990s, Live just received its very first press here in 2015 from the ever reliable Garden of Delights. Great reissue with full liner notes, photos, and a 16 minute bonus track. And the sound is as good as it will ever be*. I think the most surprising tidbit out of these liners, for me at least, is the 1999 LP repress. Supposedly 1000 more (legit) copies spilled into the open market from a record dealer in Frankfurt. But I don't recall ever seeing Live available back then for new purchase? Must have been a Germany-only thing. Discogs corroborates this evidence.
* August 14, 2016 update: So reader Eric had noticed on Discogs that Alan Freeman has just provided us with more data regarding this reissue, which explains the discrepancy of this title verse the others. Copying directly from the site: "The reason this LP remained un-reissued and un-issued on CD for so long is multi-fold. Firstly, the original mixed and edited tapes had been lost and/or damaged ("unusable" I was told). Also, the original LP had been mastered wrongly, with thin (narrow bandwidth) sound, which isn't what was intended. So, when it came down to Garden Of Delights doing a reissue they had to resort to transcribing from vinyl. During the course of doing that I was contacted as they were having problems with some noises in the vinyl (they were using the Nexus pressed issue from 1999). I sent them a copy of my remaster which I'd de-clicked from the original issue suggesting they re-EQ as per my clean-up due to the original vinyl mastering error. So, although the release doesn't so much as say it remastered, it is, and considerably so! How much they used of their remaster and mine it's hard to say, although it does sound rather good, with some frequency range detail added by some trickery I hadn't been able to do. The bonus is nice too, taken from the same tour of Italy as the Era Ora LP."
Last Update: March 27, 2017