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MOGUL THRASH

Mogul Thrash

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Dick Heath
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock Specialist
2 stars Reviewed based on the LP and Disconforme CD release.

James Litherland, the original guitarist and vocalist with Colosseum, left to form Mogul Thrash, very much intending to build on the growing tradition of John Mayall's jazz-blues with rock and British attitude (as Colosseum had done). However, musically the band ran out of ideas and never progressed beyond this album. After this I very much regret that James Litherland disappeared off my horizons, only to appear too briefly on parts of the excellent 3 CD set 'Alexis Korner Memorial Concert' (Indigo Records) in '95 or so, somewhat ironically backing Chris Farlowe. Then producing a nondescript MOR album, and subsequently found included in the musicians listed in the programme notes for a Gary Glitter touring musical (but Litherland was hidden away from view). However, this is the first album(?) recording for John Wetton (one vocal track and otherwise providing the bass), and the always welcome Brian Auger guests on one, taking time off from Trinity.

After the joys of Litherland vocals and guitarwork on Colosseum's 'Those About To Die', Mogul Thrash turned out to be a real disappointment. I picked up on the band after radio play of 'What's This I Hear', buying the album soon after - to discover that track was the outstanding piece by some distance. The long intro on alto sax is a repeated riff (that has long lingered in my mind), growing in volume from an initial silence moving to a heavy but slow blues as the rest of band enters. Litherland sung words are clearly about sexual disappointment, each line emphasised by guitar and sax. It then moves to an even slower prog interlude on Moog (by the sound of it) before returning to the vocals. Powerful blues rock with jazz overtones. But the album is inconsistent - sure more blues jazz rock (of the sort much of the British blue-eyed blues movement had shifted to by the early 70's).

The Disconforme CD issue is greatly extended from the LP release, with outtakes and single versions, although nothing has quite the ball-grabbing quality of 'What's This I Hear'. In the 2 to 3 star range I am afraid - while 'What's This I Hear' stands as 4 plus star track..

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Send comments to Dick Heath (BETA) | Report this review (#43094)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Recently I acquired, after a long search , original Mogul Thrash LP and I must admit that I was very eager to hear James Litherland accompanied with some talented musicians and supported by such a name as Brian Auger, who not only played piano on one track but even produced this album. I must say that my expectations were fulfiled. Interesting album, sounding very much as Colosseum, with no weak point but also none to be specially highlighted - except the variation of ''Elegy'' (originally from Colosseum's ''Valentyne Suite'' album) with Litherland's strong guitar improvisation. Really it's a pitty that such a talented musician as James Litherland was ( is ) not more present on the rock scene. During the Colosseum era he was , alongside Dave Greenslade , the author of the most interesting material on their best albums (''Those who are about to die salute you'' and ''Valentyne Suite''). His unjust dismissal from Colosseum, based on faulty estimate of band leaders, brought to a decline of Colosseum on one side and to only this one Litherland's album on the other. However, this Mogul Thrash album is excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to bsurmano (BETA) | Report this review (#43122)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars COLOSSEUM fans beware , this is for you!!! After Litherland came out of that band , clearly he had not enough of that style of music as this album is quite similar to the first two album , rather a bit more hard-rocking , also a bit brassier but with no keyboards bar Brian Auger's contribution on one track on top of his production work - aside of the sound engineer being Eddy Offord (of Yes fame).

From the first notes of Something Sad (leading to superb bass works from Wetton) to the end of What's this I hear , we deal with a speeded-up Colosseum jazz-rock with loads of energy. The 12 min Going North track is the center piece of the album with searing guitar leads divinely underlined by brass lines, over a superb bass hook. The St-Peter track is somewhat sticking out of the rest of the album, but it was also the B-side of the Sleeping In The Kitchen single that is the featured bonus track on the Blueprint cd version that was released in 1999.

On the down-side if things , however superb (and greatly expanded) the Colosseum track Elegy might be (a good sign that his leaving that band was probably not on a friendly basis), I just wish , he would have written yet another track instead of giving us already heard material. Please note that the horn section of Ball and Duncan will be the foundation of Scotland's Average White Band.

As for Dick's surprising low rated review , his excellent remarks about the future of Litherland points to a wasted talent. The Disconforme re-issue of the album appears not to be of more interest than this version since the bonus tracks are all alternate version/takes.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#43160)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Mogul Trash I suppose were one of the early "Supergroups" of the 70's who recorded this one and only fantastic album. Featuring the alumni talents of John Wetton on bass (King Crimson, Roxy Music), James Litherland Guitars (Colosseum), Roger Ball (Sax) & Malcolm Duncan - Sax (Average White Band), Michael Rosen- Trumpet (Eclection), Bill Harrison - Drums and the magician Mr. Brian Auger. Musically these guys were a pure mix of Jazz, fusion and Canterbury Progressive rock having written some pretty cool tunes here. Hard to exactly compare their sound but I would suggest a mix of "Colosseum" with "King Crimson" might be an attempt. Included on this album is a great 10 min version of Colosseum's hit "Elegy" which will blow your lips off. I love their mix of sax'es, trumpet with the wild guitar and bass interplay that accompanies this. I was lucky enough to have snagged Disconforme's CD re-mastered release which includes a couple extra bonus numbers which are very complimentary to this album.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#85732)
Posted Friday, August 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I bought myself a Disconforme Records re-release of this album, as I had heard a sample of this album when I was searching stuff of John Wetton, and the song's excerpt sounded quite good. I wasn't disappointed, as the record was very good in my opinion. This music resembles Blood, Sweat & Tears and Finnish Tasavallan Presidentti, being fast, energetic and soulful jazz rock. There are some very tasteful saxophones here, especially the solo in "Dreams of Glass and Sand" is wonderful, where the sax blows very long and calm notes over the powerfully pulsing band. My album version opens with a single cut "Sleeping in the Kitchen", which brings a very cool and groovy start for this uplifting record. "Going North, Going West" is a longer jam number, reaching nearly twelve minutes, and it's one of my top favorites here. "St. Peter" has peculiar jazzy rhythms, and Wetton does the singing here. I'm not sure if all of the bonus tracks are very essential, but the CD was quite cheap so I didn't have to pay much extra for them. This is a worthy album to check out, if you like the bands I mentioned in the beginning of this review, or you are interested of John's earlier work.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#88163)
Posted Friday, August 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars FInally aquired an original viyl copy of this after much searching. Was not dissapointed!

After his departure from COLLOSEUM, guitarist James Litherland continued with the brassy sounding rock. This time we have a sound not too far removed from his previous band only with more emphasis on the brass section. After all they did have 3 players. The result gives a pretty heavy album with lots of stunning guitar solos and great arrangements. Also featuring JOHN WETTON, 2 years before his spell with KING CRIMSON. He plays like a trooper on this album, with bass melodies flying all over his fretboard.

Well worth checking out!

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Send comments to kingdhansak (BETA) | Report this review (#104141)
Posted Friday, December 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A strangely unsatisfying jazz-rock excursion featuring ex-Colosseum guitarist James Litherland and star progressive bass-player John Wetton(King Crimson, Family, Asia), the one-and-only release from Mogul Thrash proves once again just how difficult it is to properly nail the mixture of jazz and rock without over-egging the pudding. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the actual playing - this is an album filled with virtuoso instrumental displays and impressive interplay - the actual tunes prove pretty uninspiring. The album kicks off with the fragmented 'Something Sad', before serving up a lengthy re-worked version of Colosseum's 'Elegy', albeit with a harder edge and pacier rhythm section, though in this case bigger and faster doesn't equate to better. The twelve-minute 'Going North, Going West' fares better, with Litherland's quicksilver guitar work prominent, yet in truth it's a rare moment of clarity in an otherwise overwrought album. That's not to say 'Mogul Thrash' belongs in the bargain basement bin. Fans of Nucleus, Tony Williams, The Keith Tippett Group etc might find much to admire here, yet the adventurous essence that made those artists appeal beyond the jazz demographic is largely absent. Lots of style then, and even a little substance, but very little soul. In a word then: disappointing.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#654007)
Posted Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars 'Mogul Thrash' - another album I originally purchased as a vinyl sometime in the 1970's. Can't remember where I heard from it first or who suggested it to me. The line-up is a who is who of the prog and rock scene basically and only regarding Michael Rosen and drummer Bill Harrison there's nothing to find about a life after MOGUL THRASH. There we have James Litherland who started with Colosseum, John Wetton - at the very start here, evolving to a prolific (prog) rock musician later - I never heard him playing the bass that virtuoso! Roger Ball and Malcolm Duncan changed to the Average White Band in the aftermath - a scottish soul funk band which I also like ... at least when it comes to their early phase.

Now when listening to this album after such a long time (the original version) I at least can recollect that I found the trippy sci-fi cover art somewhat fascinating, six cool musicians in front of clouds, nowadays this can't move me anymore though. The music so much the more. Elegy starts as a typical jamming instrumental jazz rock track with a line-up reduced on bass, drums and guitar (Litherland on top) . After some time though the track turns into another direction including vocals and brass contributions which remind me of Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Keyboards are missing, okay except when Brian Auger's piano once appears on the short St. Peter - and finally What's This I Hear comes truely shimmering, a challenging composition. Their self-named debut is a very good jazz rock effort, with John Wetton in a genial mood, produced by Brian Auger, James Litherland is quite dominant. So besides the aforementioned bands this is also reminiscent to Colosseum, Chicago, IF a bit. Vocals and musicianship are excellent. The digital re-issue comes with several alternative songs versions, this might be an additional argument to check this album out.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#786600)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars For years I wanted to listen to this album. Well, I did it yesterday. MOGUL TRASH was a short-lived band created by ex-Colosseum`s guitarist James Litherland with John Wetton and other very good musicians, and they played together for about eighteen months between late 1969 and early 1971. In an interview done some years ago with Wetton, he said that in this band there was a bit of conflict about the musical direction of the band, with him being more in favour for the Progressive Rock elements in the music and with Litherland more interested in playing Jazz and Rock arrangements, but the horn players were more interested in the Funk elements of the music. This things, along with very important problems with the manager, led to the split of the band. The horn players later joined the AVERAGE WHITE BAND while Wetton joined FAMILY for two albums. It seems that Wetton was somewhat impatient to be the front man and lead singer in a band, so he also didn`t last for a very long time with FAMILY and he became in 1972 the lead singer and bassist with KING CRIMSON, on which band he also became one of the main composers, a thing that he also wanted to do a lot. But in MOGUL TRASH he was mostly a backing singer and a very good and heavy bassist. In fact, in this album the lead singer and main composer was Litherland, but as a whole this band sounded very well, in my opinion, with some very heavy arrangements and playing, sounding like the album was really recorded "live in the studio" (with a few notable guitar overdubs), with a lot of freedom but fortunately no mistakes can be listened in the final product. Even if this happened, Litherland in another interview said that recording engineer Eddie Offord edited the tracks and that the band liked the results very well. It is similar in some ways to Colosseum in musical style, something that is very obvious due to Litherland`s presence. But I think that a line-up like this (a guitar-bass-drums trio plus a horn section but no keyboards) was a bit unusual combination of sounds. Producer Brian Auger played a bit of piano on one track and Litherland said in that interview that Auger gave to them a lot of freedom to record in this album. Well. The album as a whole sounds a bit dated, but it is very good anyway.Maybe there are some influences from bands like BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS and CHICAGO, but the music is heavier and more "raw", in my opinion. Litherland is a very good guitarist and lead singer.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#1143377)
Posted Friday, March 07, 2014 | Review Permalink

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