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Brian Auger

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Brian Auger Open (with Julie Driscoll) album cover
3.46 | 22 ratings | 6 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1967

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In and Out (2:56)
2. Isola Natale (5:17)
3. Black Cat (3:17)
4. Lament for Miss Baker (2:31)
5. Goodbye Jungle Telegraph (6:05)
6. Tramp (4:01)
7. Why (Am I Treated So Bad) (3:25)
8. A Kind of Love In (2:28)
9. Break It Up (2:55)
10. Season of the Witch (7:40)

Total Time 40:35

Bonus tracks on 2004 CD reissue:
11. I've Gotta Go Now (4:11)
12. Save Me (4:03)
13. Road to Cairo (5:16)
14. This Wheel's on Fire (3:34)

Line-up / Musicians

- Brian Auger / vocals, keyboards
- Julie Driscoll / vocals
- Gary Boyle / guitar
- Dave Ambrose / bass
- Roger Sutton / bass
- Clive Thacker / drums

Releases information

released by Brian Auger & Julie Driscoll

LP (1967)
CD Quicksilver (2004)

CD Earmark (2004), 24 bit digitally remastered Spanish reissue of original album in a deluxe digipak with the original cover art. Features the American cover art from when Atco first released the album in 1968. 10 tracks, including 'Season Of The Witch'. (1999 release)

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BRIAN AUGER Open (with Julie Driscoll) ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BRIAN AUGER Open (with Julie Driscoll) reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars This is a very eclectic album from Brian Auger, unfortunetly most of it is not very good. The album starts off nicely with two 60s instrumental hipster lounge jazz numbers that feature Brian's great Hammond playing. This is a great style for Brian and shows his playing progressing nicely from his first album. Both of these songs also have much better production than his first album and feature a warm analogue sound with a big natural reverb background that you would expect from a classic 60s RnB-jazz record.

The third song is an awful rock song that features Brian on vocals, It sounds like a bar band covering Winwood's I'm a Man except they forgot the lyrics and the chorus. This song is followed by Lament for Miss Baker, a nice piano ballad that mixes Ellington style jazz with French neo-classical music. It would be nice if Brian recorded more songs like this. Side one closes out with Goodbye Jungle Telegraph that opens with Martin Denny style log drums and bird calls before stumbling into a free RnB-jazz percussion groove with an uncredited saxophone solo and weird keyboard sounds from Brian. I think they were trying for a Sun Ra type thing here but didn't quite succeed.

Side one must have been the opening set because they bring on vocalist Julie Driscoll for side two. Julie isn't a bad singer, but she tends to over-sing in an attempt to sound more RnBish. The first two songs on side two are covers of classic 60s soul songs. No one, but no one should ever ever cover classic 60s soul songs. There is no way you can improve on that sound unless you approach the songs ironically, ie punk or metal styled covers.

These two songs are followed by a nice Brit pop-psychedelic song called A Kind of Love In. Julie and the band sound much better with this style. The last two songs on the album are pretty bad with their cover of Season of the Witch being one of the longest most tedious songs I have ever heard. Brian's solo toward the end of the song sounds like he is falling asleep.

In a few years Julie would drop her glamorous RnB pose and become Julie Tippet and join her new husband Keith's avant garde jazz-rock band Septober Energy in which she would lead utopian hippie chants while the horn players tried to drown her out.

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not an Open and Shut case...

It's quite easy to hear why this album was not a big hit at the time, with the elevator music sound of the opening track - this is the piece that grabs the audience's attention, and unfortunately, grabbing is the one thing it does not immediately do, despite the sawing and cry of 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4...

Initially, this interpretation of the Long John Baldry classic is delivered like a kind of watered-down Booker T (whose influence along with that of Jimmy Smith pervades this album), then, when the octaved guitar of Gary Boyle joins with a simple ostinato, the elevator begins its descent towards oblivion.

The tantalising sounds of Auger's Hammond B3 insinuate their presence, until about a minute and a half into the piece, where Brian unleashes a few of the fireworks he's rightly famous for - stabs and slides based on some of Jimmy Smith's techniques, but much more aggressive.

Isola Natale has much more impact, as the bass is brought higher in the mix, and a heavy groove is settled into immediately. Boyle's insistent octave guitar keeps trying to take us back to the elevator, and some of the sixth and minor seventh-based progressions follow suit, but then launches into some sharp blues licks, making this a somewhat more satisfactory fusion effort. The big event, of course, is the return of Auger's B3, and despite the fact he seems to be going through the motions, there's still a lot of fire being delivered here, and no unnecessary bluster. There's not an awful lot of invention, though, so as the first homespun track on the album, again, impact is lost.

Everything then goes cuckoo for the second self-penned number, Black Cat - quite literally, and a rich, deep, funky groove is delivered with aplomb - exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to hear in, say, an Austin Powers movie. Groovy, baby, grooooovy. This whole piece is concentrated on the groove, but that is not to say that this is all there is, because there are plenty of delicious little details, and the band rocks like a steam train on a particularly twisty bit of track. It kinda resembles something by Traffic, but much more groovy.

There then follows the delicate jazz-piano piece Lament for Miss Baker - a quite wonderful change of style, and side one is rounded off by Goodbye Jungle Telegraph, which begins with quasi-tribal drums and overblown recorder, which increases in intensity as the groove twists and turns, delivers a round of surprises, and emphatically dances around barefoot, putting me in mind of some of the more experimental Krautrock bands who would appear later in the decade. The wailing sax is pure jazz, but the percussion-driven music, including an incredibly percussive B3, puts me in mind of some of the bongo-backed hippy music that was so popular in psychedelic circles at the time.

If you take this as a percussive piece, it works spectacularly, with nice pathos in the highs, lows and dramatic curves.

Fliping the album over reveals a couple more covers (the first track on side 1 is a Long John Baldry cover), and we kick off with a heavy version of Tramp, originally written but never recorded by Jimmy McCracklin. Instead, Lowell Fulson had a hit with this piece that is well worth checking out, and later, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas ripped the soul out of it with Booker T and the MGs, providing what has proven to be a very samplable backing.

Auger and the band more than do the piece justice, though, fusing rock, soul and jazz into a delightful proto-prog edifice - and here we hear Driscoll for the first time, attempting a kind of Janis Joplin meets Grace Slick style vocal - quite successfully.

The only thing that lets this cover down really is the horn section, which is rather stilted - the Sly and the Family Stone version of this section works a lot better.

This is followed up with another Stax-soul/Blue Note derived number, Pops Staples evergreen Why (Am I Treated so Bad), delivered lugubriously rather than laid back, but still just as enjoyable as the Booker T-backed original (even if it is tricky to determine the difference).

A Kind of Love In is the kind of thing that Auger deserves all the recognition he's recently been getting for - that familiar insistent single note rhythmic ostinato that makes and drives the piece will either get on your nervers in no time, or keep your head bobbing and your foot tapping throughout.

A warped Big Ben chime then introduces the Booker T/Stax influenced Break It Up, which really should be kept a secret from the samplers. Driscoll's vocals sound more assured with this original number, going into Aretha Franklin territory in style, if not spirit. The vocal improvisations intertwine well with the piano, and the fadeout comes all too soon.

The album is wrapped up with yet another cover (it was still common practice for bands to release albums that were only 50% original material in 1967, although many were breaking away from this restrictive tradition) - a version of Donovan's Season of the Witch. Driscoll attempts to vocalise with some of the lines, but these come across as over repetitive.

Just before 3 minutes into the piece, there is a surprising breakdown with some brilliantly delicate and highly expressive B3 playing, demonstrating that Auger was no Smith imitator, but a great interpretor of his style, which is superbly built back into the song over the course of the next two and a half minutes.

When Driscoll's vocals reappear, they feel even more overdone and repetitive, and the piece ends unsatisfactorily - as Easy Money says in his review, it really sounds like Auger is nodding off for this one...

In summary, some real highs and no real cringe moments until Season of the Witch, on an album reasonably light on filler that takes a while to get going. If you're already a fan of the funky Stax sound, then this album could go two ways - you could hate it for the jazz-rock-soul fusion treatment, or you could really dig it.

An interesting document from the cauldron that eventually produced Progressive Rock, which was London's Progressive music scene in the late 1960s - there are better albums by Auger, not least the 1964-67 collection, also with Julie Driscoll.

This album would also be a welcome addition to fans of the Hammond B3 sound, as Auger gets almost unheard of emotion out of the instrument - frequently.

For anyone else, if you can find a cheap copy, it's got some great Austin Powers moments that'll really get your Mojo working baby...

Review by Warthur
4 stars This is almost a split album, were it not for Brian Auger and the Trinity playing on all the tracks. There's two sides of the album, each representative of the two main creative forces here. The first side, "Auge", consists of Brian Auger leading the Trinity through a range of mostly-instrumental tracks, which are decent enough; the second side, "Jools", consists of a clutch of songs recorded with regular collaborator Julie Driscoll, who knocks it out of the park (as usual) with her excellent vocals. These psychedelic-tinged soul-jazz numbers may be artifacts of their time, but it's a time certainly worth revisiting in Julie's company, and there is an extent to which the "Auge" side feels like little more than a warm-up act. Three stars for side 1, four stars for side 2.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is very fine album and for 1967 it is superb. It's important link in the evolution of jazz rock. I'm not an expert but there were not many bands pushing the rock part so upfront while not loosing their jazz credentials at the time.They even throw some psychedelic percussion/flute improvisat ... (read more)

Report this review (#2572118) | Posted by Artik | Sunday, June 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars BRIAN AUGER (born 1939) has a very long and complicated discography, so let's go right back to the beginning for this London- born Hammond organ maestro and Jazz-Rock legend. Brian Auger formed the soulful British blues band Steampacket in 1965, although they never recorded an official studio alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#2338359) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Brian Auger is one of the best interpreters Hammond organ, and a great jazz musician. Despite all the 60 has got to be appreciated and judged fabulously, until 1969 was able to release the album that launched him as a star. This "Open" is the debut album of Trinity, a sort of backing band of s ... (read more)

Report this review (#625513) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Friday, February 3, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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