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Gong - Continental Circus CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.13 | 147 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Daevid Allen was well aware that making a soundtrack for a film was one way to get some extra cash in the early days, much like PINK FLOYD did early in their careers. Of course Allen was part of SOFT MACHINE in the mid sixties playing with FLOYD at the UFO Club and no doubt he followed PINK FLOYD's career. The film "Continental Circus" was about the Grand Prix Motorcycle circuit and in particular Australian Jack Findlay who had a great career of 20 years which is incredible since he wasn't part of a sponsored team but privately funded. We get sort of a stripped down version of GONG here of five members with Gilli Smyth taking care of almost all of the compositions and adding her space whispers as well. At around 34 minutes this certainly was a full length album back in the day and it contains four tracks.

"Blues For Findlay" has such an infectious melody with vocals, a relentless beat from Pip Pyle, and it's very much guitar driven. The lyrics are lame or silly but hey it's GONG and they are known for this. You can't help but move to the music here as the vocals come and go. Check out the prominant bass before 6 minutes. The drum work and guitar continue to impress. We get some spacey guitar before 8 1/2 minutes as it settles back some then it kicks back in late. "Continental Circus World" is the only miss really. Although this track which splices bits from the film along with music does give us some context to what the movie is about, and at 4 minutes it's by far the shortest track. We get lots of motorcylce sounds and bits where the drivers speak about different things.

"What Do You Want?" is my favourite and it starts with a bass solo(nice) as light drums join in followed by spacey guitar sounds from Allen. I love this stuff. Vocals from Daevid 6 minutes in as the trippy instrumental sounds continue although it is softened here. The guitar then becomes more aggressive and we get backing vocals from Gilli that are GONG 101. Sounds like sax after 7 minutes that will continue to the end as the vocals stop. The guitar is the focus though and we get brief vocals to end it. "Blues For Findlay-Instrumental" ends it and is self explanatory really although while we get the same beat and melody the guitar is spacey this time throughout, plus we get sax on this one.

Like my buddy Tom Ozric I can't give anything less than 4 stars as we get three long tracks that in my opinion are as good as any GONG tracks that will follow in their career. Mind you I really like when bands jam in a spacey and psychedelic manner.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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