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BRIAN AUGER'S OBLIVION EXPRESS

Brian Auger

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Brian Auger Brian Auger's Oblivion Express album cover
3.74 | 30 ratings | 7 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dragon Song (4:30)
2. Total Eclipse (11:38)
3. The Light (4:24)
4. On the Road (5:28)
5. The Sword (6:36)
6. Oblivion Express (7:45)
7. Dragon Song [Live CD Bonus Track] (5:32)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Brian Auger/ Keyboards
- Jim Mullen/ Guitar
- Barry Dean/ Bass
- Robbie McIntosh / Drums

Releases information

LP RCA (1970)
CD Sanctuary (2004)

Thanks to alucard for the addition
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Mood YearsMood Years
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Ais 2011
Audio CD$11.89
$4.75 (used)
Auger Rhythms: Brian Auger's Musical HistoryAuger Rhythms: Brian Auger's Musical History
Quicksilver 2003
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Mod Years 1965-1969Mod Years 1965-1969
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EMI Import 2003
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BRIAN AUGER Brian Auger's Oblivion Express ratings distribution


3.74
(30 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
13%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(60%)
60%
Good, but non-essential (27%)
27%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

BRIAN AUGER Brian Auger's Oblivion Express reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Finally letting go of his slightly staid jazz-fusion past, Brian Auger and his band rip it up on this debut from his Oblivion Express project. 'Dragon Song' breathes fire, Auger leaving no doubt of his credentials on organ, Barry Dean (bass) and Robbie Macintosh (drums) support with confidence and guitarist Jim Mullen adds some beautiful accents. 'Total Eclipse' is a very cool groove, Auger caressing the keys with love and Mullen adding the perfect amount of blues heat, 'The Light' is propulsive and go-gos with 1960s Rhythm 'n Blues, the quartet consistently achieving a good balance as a heavy blues band with jazz underpinnings. 'The Sword' continues down an urban post-Hendrix road and the title cut is terrific, almost symphonic rock fusion with suggestions of Mahavishnu and Miles Davis' proto-fusion masterworks.

Well worth the price of admission and should probably be among the first Brian Auger releases one acquires.

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Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I wasn't even aware that Brian Auger & the Trinity (one of my favorite groups in those days) had disbanded when I strolled into the off-campus record store in early '71 and spotted Brian's menacing mug gracing the cover of his brand new "Oblivion Express" LP. However, I didn't hesitate for a second to plop down my precious few dollars and rush this album home to my awaiting turntable. I had faith that whatever "Auge" had put together was going to be high quality and I wasn't disappointed although the music was a surprising departure from what he had been creating with Thacker and Ambrose. Actually it was a surprising departure from most of the music that was out there in general. I didn't realize it at the time but what I was hearing was the true beginning of "heavy" jazz rock/fusion.

Bear in mind that The Mahavishnu Orchestra had yet to release their unbelievable fury upon the world and Chick Corea's Return to Forever project was still a few years away from becoming a force of nature so when the gargantuan opening riff of John McLaughlin's "Dragon Song" came barreling through my speakers I was stunned. (I may be wrong but, to my knowledge, this is the first instance of what I think of as the fusion of hard rock and electric jazz.) What I know for sure is that I hadn't heard anything quite this intense and edgy in many a moon and I was exhilarated. Lead guitarist Jim Mullen plays a brief but eyebrow- raising ride, then Brian's fingers literally fly over the Hammond keyboard while drummer Robbie McIntosh and bassist Barry Dean provide a solid rhythm track underneath. I wasn't sure what to call this music but I was definitely intrigued with where they were taking me with it. The longest cut, "Total Eclipse," follows and it's a stalking, atmospheric piece where Auger combines piano and organ to create a hypnotic, pervasive mood. Mullen's solo wanders a bit but perhaps that was the point they were trying to make. This wasn't formula music and the old rules didn't apply. Brian's brilliant organ performance is an example of how to utilize and feature all the varied tones and settings that the Hammond B3 organ can generate in the hands of a virtuoso. His extended jam is spacey at first but then he brings his trusted jazz chops into play and demonstrates how delicate his touch is.

"The Light" showcases Auger's limited but not unpleasant voice as the group charges ahead in a strong, confident groove that proves they weren't just some jazz purists that wanted to make a rock & roll record. Brian's short but hot organ ride provides the high point. "On the Road" is a bonafide rocker with jazzy accents where you first start to realize what an excellent drummer McIntosh is. The biggest complaint I have about Jim's guitar leads is that he sometimes gets too frantic (as he demonstrates here) but I have to remember that he was courageously venturing into uncharted realms of guitar land. To his credit, the McLaughlin-like tone he employs underneath Auger's fiery solo is gritty and effective.

The straight-ahead rocker "The Sword" has Jon Lord's influence painted all over it and don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing at all. The song is based around a heavy riff not unlike what Deep Purple was doing at the time and, in fact, I can only wish that Mr. Blackmore could have somehow made a cameo appearance because Mullen starts getting predictable at this juncture and Ritchie would have torn this baby up! Brian saves the day by effortlessly gliding through the many key changes during his ride without a pause. And, last but not least, the band makes an indelible statement of purpose with "Oblivion Express," another Purple-ish ditty where Robbie's drumming is superb and Jim puts together his best string of spicy licks. You just have to ignore the "terminally hip" lyrics (they simply reflect the idealistic dreams of the era) but when Brian's screaming Hammond solo evolves into what sounds like a steam locomotive from Hell you know these boys didn't shy away from creating a little out-of-control chaos from time to time.

If you're expecting some cool, smooth jazz akin to what Brian and his former buddies would occasionally delve into on the Trinity LPs then you'll be disappointed with this album. There's not a ballad or even a quiet moment to be found. Just the passionate exuberance of four talented, young musicians that wanted to push the envelope of the jazz and rock world in order to see what would happen next. And many of us thought it was about time.

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Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!!

After the last throes of Trinity, Brian decided to form a new band from scratch and allow for more instrumental space in his music. And what a departure this was from the Trinity days. Here the music took a more severe turn away from his previous sound while remaining accessible, but being much more energetic as well and combined jazz and rock even further. With Dean and McIntosh as a solid rhythm section, Brian had to look for a guitarist that wouldn't be tempted to overdo his own antics on the keyboards and eventually he chose Jim Mullen. With the artwork depicting our favourite Ogre unleashing his Oblivion Express out of his chest and straight into your face and ears, it's easy to see that Brian is the boss with the majority of the compositions to his name. It wouldn't be the case every time as the following Better Land (but much poorer album) is mostly penned by Mullen.

Opening on the fantastic McLaughlin's Dragon Song, Brian's crew is out for your throat and eardrums tight from the starting blocks, with Brian unleashing all hell from his Hammond, while Mullen backs him up quite complementarily. On the 11-mins+ Total Eclipse, however, I find that they over-stretched a bit too much the track duration: the rhythm section finds the groove almost instantly and go on to maintain for the full duration, allowing lengthy solos from Mullen and Auger. At the start of the track, Auger changes from piano to organ to electric piano, but later seem unfortunately to get his finger stuck on his Hammond. The hard-driving jazz-rock The Light gives us a chance to hear Brian's voice, which is apt, but he's strongly helped out by Dean and Mullen in the chorus. The track strolls on 100 MPH on the Hammond Express before fading out electronically a bit too early only to come back and add further electronics death throes.

On the flipside, Brian shows his vocal limits (and lyrical ideas all the same) with the up-tempoed On The Road, Mullen's guitar sizzling in its middle section with our Ogre's organ covering him from all sides. Another up-tempoed Sword has some Purple accents, especially coming from Lord's many chord changes rather than Blackmore's metallic riffs, Mullen's play remaining less chunky (thankfully) than Ritchie's. This leaves us with the anthemic eponymous track, where Brian shows that, vocals excepted, he feared nothing from crunchier guitar-lead groups. Again very much in the line of what Jon Lord would do, Brian changes chords constantly, allowing Mullen boulevards to expand and exploding his organ into saturation and leaving you the fan to lift the needle back onto that slice of wax.

Certainly one of the better hard Hammond-driven rock albums coming out of the early 70's from England, BA's OE is a 100 MPH album that gives no rest, bar in the longer groove of Total Eclipse. Indeed Brian's train is one jazzier than Jon Lord's Purple tram, but than again the tram would show more regularity in the long run and gather much more success. Definitely very close to a five star, but not quite partly because of their main weakness, the vocals.

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Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There on PA all Brian Auger projects are placed under his name. Possibly, it's good in sense of marketing, at least you will find all Auger-related projects easy. But any fan interested in Auger music, should note, that in fact there are some bands, established by Auger. Their albums are placed there in one place, but the music of different bands is quite different. OK, all music is connected with jazz-rock fusion.

I like Brian Auger's Trinity ( the band with great singer Julie Driscoll or without her). If you can hear some early jazz-fusion with experimental or even avantgarde sounds in Trinity albums with vocalist Julie Driscoll, their later work after Julie left is presented by Hammond organ based early fusion.

After Trinity was disbanded, Auger founded new band Oblivition Express, which started it's discography with this album. And music is quite different. First of all, it's heavier: in fact it's one of very first examples of heavy jazz-fusion ( in Machavishnu Orchestra or late RTF style). And if Hammond still is one of leading instruments ( and sounds as jazzy version of John Lord's Deep Purple early works), you will feel strong difference with Auger's Trinity music: guitar is another leading instruments, sometimes even more important,that organ, with some first heavy-rock solos! And bass line is more heavy and is accented during sound mixing. So in fact you have here very rock-influenced sound,including some vocal moments.

To be honest, I like this album as one of most rock -influenced jazz-rock fusion sound example. I believe it should be interesting for early Deep Purple fans and John McLaughlin or Retun To Forever fans as well.

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Review by Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Part of Jazz-Rock and Blues-Rock that he had been pulling since the 60's. And, the creation of music including the element of mods might be one person of the dawn in the field of Jazz-Rock of importance as the backer thing.

"Fortunately" his word was in the environment that expanded the creation of the music exactly. He grew up in the environment with which music overflowed. His family taught the possibility of music for Brian Auger. It is said that Brian Auger was able to touch music freely no receiving compulsion from the family. It is likely to have become one of the elements to which this environment exactly expanded the width of his music character.

Part of Jazz-Rock in the 60's. And, activity as the keyboard player was expressed by the work of "The trinity". It might already be a well-known fact. The music character on which an original sensibility is taken to Blues and Jazz-Rock along based on Jazz the flow of music at that time and it works might have the part evaluated to some degree as one person who pulls Jazz-Rock.

However, the dissension and dismantlement with management became the flows connected with this "Oblivion Express" for Brian Auger. It is a creation, Jazz-Rock, and Blues of the music refined from The Trinity further in this band. And, the listener will be able to discover the form that promoted a progressive part. The member changed places a little since the middle of the 70's. And, Oblivion Express in the 70's produced a high-quality work as he also declared. The debut album of Oblivion Express might talk about all his Music characters at that time and ideas.

"Dragon Song" is a tune by John McLaughlin. The element of Lifetime and Mahavishnu will be exactly reminiscent. The sound of the organ that dashes in the space while continuing the tension will exactly give the impression of the start of the band. Solo of an intense guitar merges in the tune. And, solo of the organ has exploded splendidly, too. Zeal continues.

"Total Eclipse" expresses the anacatesthesia with a good Bass and guitar. It progresses with the part of an element of mods and good Jazz-Rock in the part of the float in the space. The sound of the guitar distorted a little might act on the tune well, too. There is no substantial change in the tune. However, the sense of Chord. Or, the obbligati of E-Piano has succeeded. The arrangement of Brian Auger might go out well exactly.

"The Light" is a tune where the element of POP of Brian Auger was expressed. It might be a chorus and the progress of Chord in the part of the unison of the organ and the song be exactly original flows that are. It is expressed by the tempo that Solo of the organ is good.

As for "On The Road", the sense of Brian Auger is expressed well. The part of Jazz-Rock and Blues-Rock has been absorbed to good Groove well. And, the whole progresses with harmony. The guitar in close relation to the progress of the organ also contributes.

"The Sword" is a tune where the part of good Blues and Jazz-Rock is expressed. The line of Bass might pull the tune in this tune. It might be a tune to continue the dash feeling and to demonstrate the role as Jazz-Rock and Blues enough.

"Oblivion Express" is exactly a tune for this band. The organ has strongly gone out ahead. The song and the sound continue the dash feeling. Solo of the guitar explodes, too. The flow of the band that uses a variegated sound is expressed well. Ensemble might be also splendid.

The start of this band might have had a good flow for Brian Auger that had rushed into in the 70's. A progressive element is included enough. Oblivion Express started exactly here.

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Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The master of Hammond organ Brian Auger was born in London in 1939, where he would produce some of his best music.His first band was Steampacket along with Julie Driscoll, with whom he would form Brian Auger & the Trinity in 1968 (featuring Gary Boyle of Isotope).With Trinity Auger produced two albums mixing Jazz, Blues and R'n'B, before founding his most prolific band Brian Auger's Oblivion Express in 1970.With Jim Mullen on guitars, Barry Dean on bass and Robbie McIntosh on drums Auger would record Oblivion Express'es eponymous debut at Advision Studios in London in November 1970, released the following year on RCA.

Side A contains some of the best early-70's Jazz-Rock to be heard, both the short ''Dragon Song'' and the long ''Total eclipse'' are pure Jazz-Rock/Fusion delights with some powerful, dominant bass lines by Dean, Auger performing incredibly on organ and some fine jazzy guitar soloing by Mullen.''The light'' on the other hand is closer to the sound of Trinity, groovy organ- based Fusion/R'n'B with plenty of vocals by Auger with a positive taste at the end.On the flipside ''On the road'' kicks off with more of the same style, pleasant Fusion with good jazzy guitar soloing and Auger rather performing on the background this time than delivering any virtuosic notes except the middle solo.With ''Sword'' the band seems to lack inspiration, another long organ/guitar-led rockin' Fusion cut, very similar to the previous to the point you can't set them musically apart.The last track ''Oblivion Express'' has a certain DEEP PURPLE vibe on its groove, being a good blend of organ-based Heavy Rock and guitar-based Jazz-Fusion with Mullen in pure orgasm by the middle and some fiery almost EMERSON-ian organ offerings by Auger later.

It's a pitty tha the album did not maintain the high inspiration of the first pair of compositions.But again the rest of it is played with some great passion and energy, so Brian Auger's Oblivion Express'es entry in discography can be listened easily even today.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Brian Auger's Oblivion Express first album selftitled from 1971 is considered one Brian Auger best works in his long career and one of the most intresting hammond driven jazz rock/progressive rock albums of first part of the '70s. Trinity his first band now is history Brin Auger allowing in his music lots of instrumental arrangements going from jazz rock to progressive rock with some spacey ingredients thrown in, the result is more then ok to my ears. The album is powerful and gives to the listner no rest from first to last piece with hammond running all over plus a quite good guitar work and druming. I'm not bothered at all by the vocal lines Auger voice is pleasent to my ears, really is more then ok like on The road, very pleasent vocal parts and groovy instrumental sections. Not a weak moment here on this release, only energic pieces with intresting creative passages all over. One of my fav musicians keyboardists and albums. 4 stars maybe in places 4,5 stars. recommended for sure.

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