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Brian Auger

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Brian Auger Second Wind (as Oblivion Express) album cover
3.51 | 32 ratings | 5 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Truth (7:46)
2. Don't Look Away (6:01)
3. Freedom Jazz Dance (5:25)
4. Just You, Just Me (6:15)
5. Second Wind (6:39)

6. Freedom Jazz Dance - [Live,CD Bonus Track] (5:27)

Line-up / Musicians

- Brian Auger/ organ, electric piano, piano
- Alex Ligertwood/ vocals, tambourine
- Jim Mullen/ guitar
- Barry Dean / bass guitar
- Robbie McIntosh /drums, percussion

Releases information

LP RCA (1972)
CD Castle (2005)

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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BRIAN AUGER Second Wind (as Oblivion Express) ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(59%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BRIAN AUGER Second Wind (as Oblivion Express) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chicapah
3 stars Upon hearing both of this talented band's 1971 US releases it was frustratingly hard to get a bead on what they wanted to be. Their groundbreaking, forceful debut had further opened the gates for "heavy" jazz rock/fusion to infiltrate the musical landscape but their pointless follow-up, "Another Land," was so milk toast and unremarkable that I can't even remember what it sounded like. I just recall being very, very disappointed and confused. (I eventually sold the LP to a used record dealer in Redondo Beach and that's something that, as a vinyl collector, I NEVER did so that should tell you volumes right there.) I was therefore understandably skittish about purchasing "Second Wind" until I heard some of it being played on FM radio and realized that Brian had steered himself and his cohorts back into what he does best. Plus, it must have become evident to them and their label that they weren't going to go very far without a better lead vocalist so the unknown Alex Ligertwood had been brought in to shore up that deficiency.

The group kicks things off with the very tight, contemporary rock sound of Ligertwood's "Truth" and it's our first exposure to his somewhat R&B-tinged vocal style. It's not all that impressive but definitely a step up from Auger's limited crooning. After Jim Mullen's pedestrian guitar lead Brian turns to the piano and performs a nifty ride. The song ends with a soulful chorus and it's obvious that this is a much better effort than their previous album by a country mile. "Don't Look Away" is a jazzy ditty based around a repeating chord pattern interrupted only by a cool transitional riff. Its shuffling beat is mesmerizing in its own way and it gives Auger another chance to dazzle you with his piano improvisations. On his first break he demonstrates what "tickling the ivories" means as he concentrates on the high end of the keyboard before spreading the notes out more on his second go-round.

Just about the time you start wondering "where's the big Hammond B3, Brian?" the up tempo, jazzy "Somebody Help Us" barges in with the organ in tow. It's a good tune and Auger presents us with one of his fastest, most ear-blistering Hammond solos ever but what keeps it from being a great cut is Alex's stubborn insistence on trying to sing as freakin' high as he possibly can. (Unfortunately it's a trend that will stain the rest of the album.) The next track, a fantastic rendition of Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance," is the best reason to own this recording. Ligertwood continues to be annoyingly screechy but even that can't defeat the intriguing allure of its unique melody line and the undeniable groove that drummer Robbie McIntosh and bassist Barry Dean lay down. (The band I was a member of in the 70s used this as our opening song for years because it always set a great tone for the evening and gave the sound engineer a chance to get his settings right. Audiences loved it, too.) Brian's organ solo is excellent and Jim provides his most tasteful and fluid guitar lead on the album. This song is addicting.

They wisely decided to rehash Auger's "Just You Just Me" (the original version appeared on the Trinity's "Befour" LP) and their updated treatment and arrangement serves the tune well. Alex behaves himself on the vocal, allowing you to enjoy the tight harmonies and Brian's return to the piano keys for the hot ride in the middle. "Second Wind" ends the album on a sour note, though. It starts with considerable promise as Auger's mighty Hammond delivers a majestic opening but once Alex starts singing it goes straight downhill fast. Someone should have stepped in and stopped this torture from the get-go but they didn't so we fans have to live with it. Mullen's guitar licks are weak, to boot, and even Brian's usual mastery of the organ can't save this stinker. At least they saved it for last.

While this record showed the band finding their bearings once again, it still isn't anything approaching a "must have" album by any means. I don't blame them for not trying to compete with the likes of The Mahavishnu Orchestra that snatched the "hard" jazz rock/fusion baton and ran like the wind with it because they would never have been up to that challenge. (Few would!) What they discovered for themselves was a calmer, more marketable stratum of that burgeoning genre and their subsequent efforts would show them to be comfortable in that niche. 3.4 stars.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars After the misstep of ABL, our fave Ogre had to straighten things around, and the best thing around that issue was to gain control back of the songwriting. Indeed if Mullen had written the majority of ABL tracks, he only gets a partial credit in this on Second Wind, behind newcomer singer Alex Ligertwood, Brian grabbing the lion's share. And if Alex is the main change to the line-up, he also pulls in this album his best performance in his entire career, which is not that hard given his future inclinations. So with their third album, the Express manages to get back on track and pull of an album that comes very close to the debut's quality, and sadly it misses a train artwork on the sleeve, rather than Brian's mugshot. Had the comic-like drawn back cover done the front face, it might have drawn equal ratings.

Starting wildly on a Ligertwood composition Truth (which in truth sounds lifted from Jeff Beck), the album announces the wild pace from minute 1, where the singer gives us a feel of Stevie Winwood vocals, with Mullen pulling an average solo and Brian shinning on piano.. Don't Look Away is a group effort where the descending riff provides plenty of space for some of Brian's best piano moments on the present album, while Mullen's guitar underlines Ligertwood's verses. With the inaptly titled Somebody Help Us, the album gets to the album's highlight, with Brian's huge hammering of his Hammond . When the Oblivion Express soars like this, they don't need anyone's help and frankly not many could help them effectively, except somebody forcing Ligertwood's to lower down his tone a bit.

The flipside starts on a cover Freedom Jazz Dance with its infectious hard-driving groove defined by the rhythm section, Brian shinning like the sun, and even Mullen finally pulling some attention to his playing and Alex is fittingly on spot. The Trinity days Just Me is a fine rework, this version being much livelier with Brian's brilliant piano piece in the middle. Closing up on the title track, the album hits a bit of a low (Ligertwood again), but Brian's usual dazzling Hammond manages to save the track from sinking.

Even if Litgerwood's best ever performance is on this album, he's still one of the main reason why this album doesn't reach the height of following Closer To It and the debut album, but Second Wind is definitely on the podium of Auger's discography, narrowing-ly beating some Trinity album. Definitely worth seeking out if you liked the two up on my top three Ogre albums, it won't disappoint you, as even Alex can't ruin the Express when it's on a roll.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With this album Auger introduced new vocalist Alex Ligertwood ( ex-Jeff Beck Band) and new musical direction. If earlier Oblivion Express works were made under heavy jazz -fusion sign, "New Wind" is based on keyboard-lead r'n'b. Alex has strong voice, but his vocal style is different from old Oblivion Express works as well.

So we have here vocal and keys based groove ( and keys mean not only Hammond organ, but plenty of piano as well). Arrangements are mostly jazzy, with some Latin nuances. In fact, this album's music sounds very similar to Santana's works of their r'n'b/ Latin soul period ( without Carlos guitar, for sure ).

I believe, that such change of direction isn't everyone's cup of tea, but generally I like this music. Happily, this album isn't so pop-oriented, as Santana's "Festival" for example. And it isn't strange, that after some years Alex found his place as Santana's vocalist for years.

So, if not on the same level as previous Auger best albums, still really good work. 3,5 .

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By 1972 Auger had to be one of the busiest men in the rock field.Not only he was fully commited to his own ''oblivion express'', but he had also become an entry in Roland Kovac New Set, a band with which he released a handful of albums during the year.But he also found time to work on his brainchild's next effort, he had actually invited Alex Ligertwood from Troc to join them on lead vocals, so he could focus on his instrumental work.Again the Advision Studios in London was the place of the recordings of ''Second wind'', released in 1972 as well on RCA.

With ''Second wind'' Brian Auger's Oblivion Express would find again their way into efficient and tricky music, the album walks exactly on the thin line between the style of the debut and the somewhat flat offerings of ''A better land''.The accesible influences and playful parts are still present in a great number of funky and Soul influences, but the music is more professional, recollecting the jazzy flavors of the debut and eventually delivering a decent amalgam of intricate and more poppy tunes.Auger shines with his work on Hammond organ, while his piano moments are coming straight out of a Jazz band, the supporting group is always consistent with some muddy bass lines, smooth guitar moves and solid drumming.The album balances dangerously between in-your-face organ-drenched paces and the jazzy abnormalities, where the pieces begin as typically song-structured and end up being a storm of piano and organ tortuting.Alex Ligertwood is definitely a welcome addition on vocals, delivering a nuance of a more rockin' attitude, moreover strengthened by the mass of rhythmic parts.A couple of tracks are still weak, dominated by dated psych and Pop leftovers of the 60's, but the bulk is going the right way with a nice sense for instrumental originality and vocal balance.

Back on track for Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, a sweet little album of jazzy, psych and Fusion elements, recommended for all lovers of organ-based light Prog/Psych.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Brian Auger was always a capable Hammond organ player and you can recognize his style quite fast. He is one of the grooviest jazz-rock Hammond players. I have a problem that I can't discern his albums much and while they sound like a pleasant flow of music, I would prefer them being full instrum ... (read more)

Report this review (#2314015) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, February 8, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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