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Guru Guru - 45 Years Live CD (album) cover


Guru Guru



4.00 | 3 ratings

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4 stars Following the career of a band like Guru Guru can be a lifelong vocation. Rarely inactive over almost five decades (and counting), the band has weathered changes in taste, context and personnel with its integrity and humor intact: quite an accomplishment for a band that began as a trio of political agitators dedicated to a hallucinogenic lifestyle.

By this gig (in Heidelberg, circa December 2013) drummer Mani Neumeier was the last original Guru left standing. But from the animated opening roll of "Dark Blue Star" it's clear he hadn't lost an ounce of his stamina or enthusiasm, all the more remarkable from a musician then nearing his 75th (!) birthday. Despite his age, the tireless Neumeier was still a child of the '60s searching for Utopia. But somewhere along the road he traded his diet of LSD for eco-awareness and anti-nuclear activism: healthier muses, to say the least.

The exploratory spirit of the first Guru Guru is long gone, of course. These days, far removed from anything resembling a counterculture, the quartet is merely a hard working rock band, but with energy (and eccentricity) to spare. Some of the songs ("Rock 'n' Roll Machine", obviously) can almost be said to betray the fundamental Krautrock agenda of distrust for Anglo-American role models (always excluding Hendrix, of course). Each selection here is introduced in German to an exclusively German audience, but performed in heavily-accented English. "I'm a forrrrrest man", the singer confides, trilling his r's with Teutonic aplomb, " in the voods!"

Over seventeen songs and 104 minutes, the concert spans a lot of territory, from ersatz Native American war chants ("Pow Wow", complete with killer slide guitars) all the way to an intergalactic oasis of love, six million light years from "this fcked up planet" ("Spacebaby"). A fossil of that late '1960s obsession with all things Eastern can still be heard in the weirder digressions of "Chabbli Babbli", "Kabuki Dream", "Jaipur" and elsewhere, updated with bleating Turkish woodwinds and comic relief kazoos.

All of it was captured in razor-sharp fidelity and played with considerable punch, allowing room for some dynamic free-form jamming and, in "Ooga Booga Special", a surprisingly vital drum solo from a septuagenarian dropout, some of it performed by tapping on his cheeks (try it, for giggles). The result is not only a credible live document, but a worthwhile sampler of an enduring career: the perfect diversion for lapsed fans and curious newcomers.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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