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Birth Control

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Birth Control Hoodoo Man album cover
3.80 | 194 ratings | 17 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Buy! (7:10)
2. Suicide (6:16)
3. Get down to your fate (7:58)
4. Gamma ray (9:44)
5. Hoodoo man (8:25)
6. Klaustoß (2:40)

Total Time: 42:13

Bonus tracks on 2005 reissue:
7. Nostalgia (single A-Side) (3:37)
8. Gamma Ray, Part 1 (Single version) (3:30)
9. Gamma Ray, Part 2 (Single version) (3:53)
10. Hope (Live 2004: Bluesgarage Isernhagen) (5:54)
11. She's Got Nothing On You (Live 2004: Musiktheater Rex In Lorsch) (4:59)

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruno Frenzel / guitar, vocals
- Wolfgang Neuser / organ, keyboards, synth, church organ, vibraphone
- Bernd Koschmidder / bass
- Bernd Noske / drums, percussion, vocals

- George Mac Knickerick / bagpipes
- Peter Föller / vocals (11)
- Peter Engelhardt / guitar (10,11)
- Sascha Kühn / keyboards (10,11)
- Cyborg Haines / bass (10)
- Sascha Delbrouck / bass (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Heinz Dofflein

LP CBS ‎- S 65316 (1972, Europe)
LP Ohr Today ‎- OHR 556015-1 (2008, Germany)

CD Columbia ‎- 476973 2 (1994, Europe)
CD Repertoire Records ‎- REP 5047 (2005, Germany) With 5 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy BIRTH CONTROL Hoodoo Man Music

BIRTH CONTROL Hoodoo Man ratings distribution

(194 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BIRTH CONTROL Hoodoo Man reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Also my fave because of the longer numbers, this energetic hard-prog (hail, hail! I think I just created another sub-genre)is very pleasant and if not ground-breaking nevertheless , should be recommended but not highly. This one makes me think more of ATOMIC ROOSTER.
Review by Progbear
4 stars Yet another switch in organists, this one features Wolfgang Neuser on keys. The prog feel is a bit more overt this time, though it's still basically heavy rock in the DP/LZ mould. The protest-number "Gamma Ray" is justifiably considered a rock & roll classic in Germany, but the whole album is pretty solid, with the title track (gotta love that pipe organ!) and the rollicking "Get down to your fate" being particular faves. "Kaulstoß" is a whimsical synth-fueled take on Scottish bagpipe music, showing the band have a sense of humour.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For me "Hoodoo Man" is slightly over-rated. Yes, it contains the notorius hard-prog (to cite Hugues!) anthem "Gamma Ray" and powerful opener "Buy". But the remaining songs are not passing the test of the time. "Suicide" shows that the band obviously listened a lot of THE DOORS, since they copied the bass chord from "Light My Fire" (which they already had covered on their debut). "Klaustoss" is an obvious filler with some unnecessary folk-dance themes. Not bad album by any means, but overall so-so. Of course, "Gamma Ray" is worth getting.
Review by hdfisch
3 stars "Hoodah Man" was BC's third, their most famous and best-selling album not only due to its daring funny artwork. They've been accused those days by UK magazine Melody Maker being No. 1 copyists but we all know well that progressive rock music coming from Germany hadn't been taken really serious by British press and had been tagged with the disdainfully meant label Krautrock (not exactly what we understand nowadays by this). Certainly it might be true that they were using elements of famous hard and psyche rock bands from late 60's/early 70's but one has well to admit that they combined all those influences quite well with some other more progressive ones. Thus we get offered here some music based on harder-edged blues rock with plenty of organ sound, some jazzy pads (as in "Suicide") and a couple of synthesizer sections like in "Buy!", "Kaulstoss" and their ever lasting staple hit "Gamma Ray". But to be honest though containing actually a highly entertaining and enjoyable mixture this album cannot be considered as relevant in terms of Prog as their later jazzier album "Backdoor Possibilities" but for those ones preferring a slightly heavier sound it was certainly more exciting than "Plastic People". In many parts, especially in the church-organ enclosure in the title track the music here sounds however admittedly rather dated and not really suitable for repeated listens rather just good enough for a very occasional spin.

Nevertheless I'm proud to own the original edition on vinyl with the famous gatefold cover and though I wouldn't recommend this album to any Prog fan as an essential one I still consider it a nice show-piece for collector's of early 70's hard-edged progressive music in particular.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Extremely weird cover for this album. Remember, this album was released ages ago (1972) and it was not current at that time to have this type of design on the cover sleeve of an album. But the band has always had some sort of protest attitude. This one is a very example of their anti-conformist style.

Some songs from this album are inspired by blues ("Buy!) and jazz ("Get Dow To Your Fate"). I would lie if I tell you that I am thrilled with these two songs.

In between, comes the great "Suicide" which is where "Hoodo Man" really starts IMO. A great and powerful rock song in all its heavy splendour. One gets the hypnotic and splendid keyboards. It is really what the music of "Birth Control" is all about : sumptuous keys attacks and a sustained rhythm throughout their numbers. Why bother with other musical style if you excel in what your fans are waiting for?

The longest piece of this album is a guitar oriented extravaganza. "Gamma Ray" : a long psychedelic but wild "trip". A solid and nervous beat all the way. Traditional fans won't be deceived and casual ones might well be interested in this type of music. Of course, you need to be in some kind of "Uriah Heep" mood to fully appreciate it. But that's not a problem for me.

Another great track is "Hoodoo Man". Wiiiiiiiiild, heavy, but it holds many facets. Great church organ, very much of some Wakeman parts. The highlight from this album.

Three stars (just forget about the last and short "Kaulstoss".

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I'm guessing by the album cover that BIRTH CONTROL were non-conformists. Haha. This is pretty good hard Prog from early seventies Germany. There's no doubt that this was a talented band even if this album is fairly straight forward. Lots of organ with average vocals. If the vocals were better I might consider this a 4 star record because it's a really enjoyable recording.

"Buy !" is led by organ and drums, vocals a minute in. Guitar 3 1/2 minutes in and after 5 minutes takes the spotlight. "Suicide" is a brighter tune (surprising considering the title) with a groovy sound. A cool organ / bass section 2 minutes in. Guitar before 3 minutes then the vocals return. I like when it settles 4 minutes in. "Get Down To Your Fate" kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes with vocals. Guitar 3 1/2 minutes in with lots of organ to follow.

"Gamma Ray" has this spacey intro which is replaced by a catchy melody. Spoken words then vocals come in. The guitar makes some noise before 4 minutes then starts to solo ripping it up. When it stops the percussion comes in before 6 minutes. Some odd vocal expressions with guitar after 7 minutes. Fantastic song ! "Hoodoo Man" is another good one with drums, organ and vocals leading the way. Good chorus too. Church organ comes in at 4 minutes. Back to the original melody around 6 minutes. "Kaulstoss" opens with a dog barking then drums and guitar take over. Some guest bagpipes in this one. A bit of a "hoe-down" vibe as well. The dog is back later.

Review by stefro
4 stars Whilst the first six albums from this taboo-baiting outfit are all well worth exploring, it is probably 'Hoodoo Man' which best personifies the lightning-hot heavy rock sound Birth Control were, during their earlier days at least, so adept at producing. Featuring yet another controversial sleeve design - this time it's a gruesomely overweight woman toying with what can only be described as some kind of bizarre, wind-up skeletal junkie - 'Hoodoo Man' finds the German outfit in blistering form. Indeed, everything about 'Hoodoo Man' simply exudes confidence, the improved production quality showing off the group's razor-sharp brand of manic, high-tempo power-prog to ear-shattering effect. This time around then the focus is very much on bristling grooves, crazed organ solo's and pumped-up riffs, the evil, psych-tinged sound of 'Operation' now fully mutated into a powerful new strain of galloping proto-metal best emphasised by the crushing rhythms of 'Suicide', the gloriously anthemic strains of fan-favourite 'Gamma Ray' and, best of all, the charging organ-drenched groove of 'Get Down To Your Fate'. A remarkable song, 'Get Down To Your Fate' is Birth Control cruising at full steam, rushing breathlessly through eight minutes of heavy prog mayhem as frenzied organs, chiming guitar licks and drummer Bernd Noske's throaty vocals swirl into a manic whole that never lets up for a minute. As progressive as it is heavy - bluesy foundations underscore the more experimental elements - 'Hoodoo Man' pulls of the very difficult trick of allowing its creators to wander freely amongst the seared landscape reaped by their own sonic carnage, yet never losing focus and heading off into those frustratingly over-elaborate prog cul-de-sacs that many groups fall into, ultimately going nowhere. Not Birth Control. Every track here has a purpose and a power, the dynamic tone set by opening gambit 'Buy!' meticulously maintained throughout. By their own admission, this was always a group in search of the easy shocks, an image that has at times undoubtedly overshadowed the actual music being cooked up, yet here the combination of deliberately provocative imagery and pulsating heavy rock makes for a wonderfully heady brew. Amongst their very best, 'Hoodoo Man' comes highly recommended. Heavy stuff indeed. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Despite showing plenty of instrumental flair and smaller moments of musical ambition on their first two albums, Birth Control's third release, 1972's `Hoodoo Man', is where everything really started to come together for the group. Although a lot of the music was still bookended with vocal sections that simply provided a launching pad for frenetic and thrilling instrumental jams/improvisations, `Hoodoo Man' was one of their first albums to really start implementing progressive rock elements, perhaps in part due to new keyboard player Wolfgang Neuser. There's a very cool variety of combinations of the musicians playing off each-other, and along with a more expansive production, lengthier instrumental runs and more clever and exciting arrangements, the band delivered their best album to date.

Opener `Buy!' is all Bruno Frenzel's heavy plodding guitar riffs and Wolfgang's Hammond organ blasts with a trademark roaring vocal from lead singer/drummer Bernd Noske. You get a brisk up- tempo middle of spiralling synths/moogs with a chilled-out dusty bluesy guitar come-down before a thrashing finale. Although Bruno takes the lead vocals of `Suicide' in slightly uncomfortable English, some sprightly drumming and upbeat Hammond organ liveliness brings some infectious jazzy vibes for almost a touch of the English Canterbury bands. A Genesis-like charge races as if a battle-cry throughout `Get Down To Your Fate', and the extended jam in the middle delivers everything from rippling electric piano runs, E.L.P-style Hammond organ fury and serrated Black Sabbath-like guitar throttle.

Frequently driven by a variety of relentless percussion, `Gamma Ray' unleashes with all manner of Hammond organ slinging (jaunty and playful like Beggars Opera one second, swirling and attacking the next) and exhausting heavy, dirty and smouldering wailing guitar grooves. Especially nice is the lusty panning distortion and splintering guitar assault in the middle jam, an unhinged vocal from Bernd and Bernd Koschmidder's bass that seductively purrs away throughout. Be sure to listen out for the scat vocalizing with call-and-response fiery guitar fill duelling in the final minutes! The gutsy rocker title track brings plenty of danger and intensity. Dominated by a stomping beat over hell-bound brooding Hammond, the band show more daring than ever before with a psychedelic treated vocal from Bernd, ghostly creeping piano and even some booming and malevolent gothic organ! After that, you can probably skip the final two minute closer `Kaulstoss', a whimsical little album filler that has the band zipping through a Scottish bagpipe tune.

The next album `Rebirth' a year later would see the band growing even more in confidence and maturity, starting to move away from the more obvious Hammond-driven elements, so it just makes `Hoodoo Man' all the more special. If you like those early heavy Hammond-drenched proto prog bands like Atomic Rooster, Rare Bird and Bodkin, etc, this album is even more adventurous than most of them. A charismatic frontman, highly-skilled musicians and killer tunes - what more could you ask for?! The band had plenty more great albums to come, but this one is one of their best, and definitely my own personal favourite!

Four stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Though some prog fans may prefer later Birth Control albums such as Plastic People or Backdoor Possibilities, perhaps due to the more mannered, polished, and symphonic-leaning keyboard playing of Zeus B. Held, I greatly prefer the raw, dirty, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep- derived heavy psych-rock of Hoodoo Man, which derives much of its pleasures from the keyboard work of Wolfgang Neuser. This would be Neuser's sole album with the group, which is kind of a shame, because he's able to range from bluesy Deep Purple-esque playing to more classical-influenced organ work reminiscent of the more hard rocking moments of early ELP with ease. The distinctive Hammond organ sound would drain away from Birth Control beginning with the subsequent Rebirth, which is a shame because this album is pretty decent... shame about the horrible cover art, though.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I remember watching this album cover on a music store when I was a teenager. I did not really take it seriously: it looked lie a funny cover for a funny record. And I guess, after listening to it after several decades, it´s also easy to see why it didn´t make this band huge: German band Birth Control had, obviously,fine musicians, but their sound was definitely too derivative. Some sparks of originality do shine here and there, eventually: the classic hard rock anthem Gamma Ray is one. But for most part this band was doing exactly what most rock bands were doing at the time, and better. Here the main influence seems to be The Doors and Uriah Heep (Get Down to Your Fate, specially, sounds like a jazzy up early UH cut). The voice of guitarist and singer Bruno Frenze even sounds like a cross between John Lawton and David Byron, and that´s a compliment! Few good instrumentalists had the gift of also having such fine pair of pipes.

Of course the jazz rock/fusion parts are, in the end, the most interesting ones, since on those bits they show they could do something really different. And different would make a big detail at the time. With so many new and exciting things happening at the time, it is no wonder Birth Control got little attention outside their native country. Nowadays you can enjoy this album much more, I guess, as long as you don´t compare them to their competition at that period. And the inclusion of a medley of folk themes on the last cut Kaulstoss was definitely a bad idea, sounding too appellative in a record in desperate need of original ideas. A good production helped here, and the excellent musicianship show they had potential to go much further. Fortunately they did.

Rating: 3 stars. A good heavy prog record with strong jazz influences that probably sounds better today than it did when it was originally released. If you like the style, go for it.

Latest members reviews

5 stars What an astounding German group what a brilliant record. Love it. It's so powerful and full of surprises. I think it can't be compared to any other group I know. It is strong as deep purple; brilliant in its own way, there is a unique sound of keyboards - organ, synthesizer and even church orga ... (read more)

Report this review (#775675) | Posted by progshachar | Friday, June 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Very shocked to see this recording only receiving a paltry 3 stars. I've read numerous posts that claim this is far more of a hard rock experiment than anything truly progressive, and to these statements I merely shake my head in dismay. Hoodoo Man is an intense, potent ride, drenched in enoug ... (read more)

Report this review (#278956) | Posted by Lozlan | Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Nuna was a cute little cat living in her fluffy world of neverending fun. El Paradiso meine Freunden. Paradises can be pretty exciting as long as you only imagine them. You'll ask me whyI'm saying all this and see.. I don't know. So let's concentrate on music presented on this album. Birth Contr ... (read more)

Report this review (#215167) | Posted by LSDisease | Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars There are heavy guitars and Hammond organ enough to please fans of hard rock, but on Hoodoo Man Birth Control are more a Uriah Heep influenced hard rock jam band than a true progressive rock one, so I can't give them any more stars than 3. Hoodoo Man definitely approaches prog on several tracks ... (read more)

Report this review (#176692) | Posted by Tylosand Ektorp | Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Undoubted the highlight of the band's career. Not only because of 'Gamma Ray', every single song (apart from Kaulstoß) is an absolute winner. What a shame that apart from 'Gamma Ray' no live versions from the other songs exist. ... (read more)

Report this review (#57013) | Posted by ekaton | Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An Album which ist typical for Birth Control. I discovered Birth Control in the 90s and was very pleased by her music. This album Hoodoo Man is one of their best albums. It is an essential piece of Krautrock and contains their greatest hit 'Gamma Ray'. But the other songs are good, too. ... (read more)

Report this review (#39448) | Posted by | Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although a bit simpled structured, the songs are verty varied and convey the very essence of the true progressive rock, which means, to me hevy rock Hammond stabbing (Gamma Ray, Hoodoo Man), powerful rhythms (Get Downh to your Fate), and yet beautyful and almost "dancing" solos (Suicide). The ... (read more)

Report this review (#28900) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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