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AS YOUR MIND FLIES BY

Rare Bird

Crossover Prog


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Rare Bird As Your Mind Flies By album cover
4.03 | 124 ratings | 20 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. What you want to know (5:59)
2. Down on the floor (2:41)
3. Hammerhead (3:31)
4. I'm thinking (5:40)
5. Flight (19:39)
- part 1. As your mind flies by
- part 2. Vacuum
- part 3. New York
- part 4. Central Park

Bonus tracks on 2007 Esoteric Recordings remaster
6. What you want to know (Mono single version) (3:34)
7. Hammerhead (Mono single version) (3:23)
8. Red man (3:29)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Ashron / drums, vocals
- Graham Field / organ, keyboards
- Steve Gould / lead vocals, bass guitar
- Dave Kaffinetti / electric piano, keyboards

Releases information

LP ABC/Dunhill 716 / LP Charisma CAS 1011 / LP Philips 6369 904 / CD Virgin VJCP (1990)
2007 Esoteric recordings remaster with bonus tracks ECLEC2002

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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Epic ForestEpic Forest
Extra tracks · Import
El Records 2007
Audio CD$8.28
$12.97 (used)
Born AgainBorn Again
Import
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$11.31
$10.00 (used)
Somebody's WatchingSomebody's Watching
Import
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$11.48
$10.99 (used)
As Your Mind Flies ByAs Your Mind Flies By
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2007
Audio CD$11.35
$23.65 (used)
SympathySympathy
Import
EMI Europe Generic 1990
Audio CD$6.18
$10.00 (used)
1st//Somebody's Watching1st//Somebody's Watching
Import · Remastered
Red Fox 1997
Audio CD$15.99
$17.97 (used)
Rare BirdRare Bird
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2007
Audio CD$11.52
$17.21 (used)
Third Time Around: An IntroductionThird Time Around: An Introduction
Import
Universal Import 2004
Audio CD$24.88
$18.89 (used)
birdman-part one / part two 45 rpm singlebirdman-part one / part two 45 rpm single
POLYDOR
Vinyl$8.00 (used)
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RARE BIRD As Your Mind Flies By ratings distribution


4.03
(124 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
31%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

RARE BIRD As Your Mind Flies By reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Second album for RARE BIRD marking a wonderful contribution to the progressive rock genre. Without a question fans of organ and keyboard driven prog rock will love the music of RARE BIRD. Their arrangements although centred around the keyboard work of David Kaffinetti offers some great drumming and bass interplay. Steve Gould's melodramatic vocals are a tad bit raw but I think fit the music perfectly and give it a nice degree of grit. Prog heads will love the side long 20 min long track "Flight" an ambitious four-movement track which surprisingly does not overshadow side 1 which is littered as well with 4 fantastic tracks. For me the sound of RARE BIRD is a scientific cross of URIAH HEEP, T2 and ELP. "As You Mind Flies By" is pretty much a masterpiece and is an essential recording !

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#30457) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 23, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a wonderful album that is build around the excellent duo-keyboardwork from Graham Field and David Kaffinetti. The shorter songs alternates from romantic to bombastic featuring powerful vocals (warm, melancholic, dramatic) and great play on the Hammond organ ("I'm thinking" is the Hammond in its full glory!) , electric piano and harpsichord ("Down on the floor"). The absolute highlight on this album is the 'magnum opus' "Flight" (at about 20 minutes), divided in four pieces. Part One contains propulsive interplay between drums and organ, Part Two has exciting duo-keyboardwork (swirling organplay), Part Three delivers a psychedelic organ (like early PINK FLOYD) and in Part Four is the focus on slow and sumptuous Hammond organ play (including excerps from RAVEL's "Bolero"), the vocals have a slightly hysterial undetone but fits perfect to the atmosphere. Although this is a good and often compelling album, in my opinion it is a bit overrated because it gained a kind of 'cult-status'.

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#35519) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Their finest hour

In 1970, Rare Bird were a 4-piece band peddling a unique brand of bluesy heavy rock which, thanks to a twin keyboard attack, was brewing nicely into what might have been a major player in the Prog world had circumstances been more favourable. Both Graham Field and David Kaffinetti were multi-tasking keyboard players, but each had a speciality - Field's was organ while Kaffinetti's was electric piano. Their spirited interplay, combined with typically busy drumming and muscular vocal style, define As Your Mind Flies By. Any lack of overt virtuosity is countered by good compositions and strong arrangements, though a number of outside references suggest originality is something of a problem.

Flight

A near 20 minute organ-fest, popular wisdom perceives Flight to be Rare Bird's Prog 'epic', abundant with mood contrasts, key changes and inventive instrumental interplay. According to the CD booklet Flight is in 4 parts though the bulk is concentrated in the first [almost 10 mins] and last [6 mins] sections. None of these sections has any apparent thematic connection with the others, though they do flow seemlessly.

Neither does there appear to be any conceptual links. While I suspect this is probably due to my lack of insight, I fail to understand how the free-floating mind soaring to the heavens in As Your Mind Flies By ends up in Central Park as an "evil little man with a gun in his hand". Unless someone can enlighten me [please do], my nearest guess is ..... drugs! I surmise that we begin tripping to the stars [ā la Timothy Leary] as a "..... craggy mountainside / wondering watching as your mind flies by" [cf. Moody Blues "thinking is the best way to travel"]. We are urged to "sail into the sun", but like Icarus in the famous Greek myth, the experience is initially sublime but ultimately becomes a bad trip. We fall to earth as the habit needs feeding, to familiar back streets of New York [or any large city really] as we descend into its seedy drug culture and a date with destiny, and a gun, in Central Park.

More than half of Flight is taken up by the opening As Your Mind Flies By, a song not unlike Greenslade with a light but insistent rhythm ably supporting vocal [including choir voices] and instrumental parts with tempo and mood changes throughout. An extended coda [the good trip?] switches to a spacier psychedelic jam session, swelling and falling with each keys-man taking it in turns to execute 8 bar solos. Vacuum [the bad trip?] is a surreal ambient section, starting with weird evil-squelchy keyboard effects and includes what sounds like an amplified Leslie whirling away. This builds to a painful cacophony of distorted sound before dying away.

New Yorker, introduced by a 2-chord keyboard riff [later copied by Echo And The Bunneymen], proceeds to a short spacey-rock band work-out with a echo/reverb drenched gratuitously heavy metal vocal. A slower 4-chord riff soon takes over as we enter Tarkus territory with Central Park, an ELP-like stomp before inexplicably excerpting and improvising around Ravel's Bolero. The vocals follow, still sung in a metal-ish manner, but the tone of the piece is more Purple-heavy, dark and brooding. The vocals fade to a false ending before the main riff returns for a final blast. Perhaps this riff is a little too ponderous to be the climax, but overall Flight is a masterful piece of Prog, even if the subject matter isn't clear.

Summary

The remaining tracks are fine without being as spectacular. What You Want To Know is a straightforward slow blues-rock song with an interesting ascending scale riff in the coda. Down On The Floor is a slow short song accompanied simply by harpsichord, pretty enough but not my cup-of-tea. With a weird synth intro, synth-flutes in a middle break section and an atmospheric ambient coda, Hammerhead is a cracking hard-rocker with a driving bass/keys riff. I'm Thinking begins with duelling organs on a lengthy instrumental intro, though the song itself is a little generic [I'm thinking Joe Cocker!]. Good arrangement though, and a good Prog song.

An excellent album, highly recommended to lovers of melodic Prog, though I cannot help but feel this was a leader to what would have been a brilliant next offering had this quartet stayed together. Sadly Field left, thus ending the twin keyboard layout and taking with him some of the more interesting Prog ideas. Flight on its own would be worth 5 stars, but overall it is short of a classic album. 4 Stars then.

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Send comments to Joolz (BETA) | Report this review (#79900) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Many Prog fans obviously consider RB's second release their best effort but I've to say I prefer their debut to this one since it offered much more of variation (which is for me one of the most important criteria for progressive music). Of course here we have an epic side-long track, something being certainly unique for this band and the Hammond sound comes here even more massive than on the previous one. But even this half of the record which is the more interesting one with some nice choir sound and slightly experimental organ effects especially in the first two parts "As your mind flies by" and "Vacuum" happens to sound rather dated to my ears I've to say. Moreover the rest of "Flight" and the first half of the album consisting of more or less rock ballads in Procol vein and some more rocking songs cannot keep up the quality level set by those parts. The first song "What you want to know" could fit nicely on a sampler for old romantic love songs and the following three ones fall somehow into the category of "sounding nice for one listen but rather forgettable". Overall I consider this album a quite good one in organ-driven Proto-Prog but essential only for huge fans of Hammond sound in particular.

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#100330) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I remember this record having a different cover than the plain blue one; there was a kind of profile of the god Mercury or something, with the little rare bird that was on the first album’s cover. But I don’t know which release(s) of the album had that cover since my only copy is a very old cassette of dubious origin.

This is one of those bands that were pretty much a non-descript generic entity where I grew up at least, in the American heartland. These guys got lumped in with Uriah Heep, Procol Harum, Vanilla Fudge, Wishbone Ash, Steppenwolf, probably even Rare Earth as sort of psychedelic, sort of heavy rock, sort of bluesy, and sort of boring unless you were stoned. It wasn’t until many years later that it dawned on me Rare Bird were rare indeed for their first few years, being one of those few bands without a guitarist and featuring two keyboardists.

I still think they are a bit boring, mostly because this music hasn’t aged all that well in the past thirty-seven years. The recording quality is average at best, and I’m not just saying that because I’m listening to it on cassette. The organ mixes are quite flat, and there is that pervasive bass sound that many bands like this had in the very early seventies. If you heard a few minutes off this album and didn’t know the band or the music at all, you’d still place it between 1969 and 1971 without any problem whatsoever.

The most interesting track is of course the nearly twenty-minute long “Flight” with its heavy organ and keyboards tempo variations, the middle section that does that morph- to-feedback-and-noise like some of the Edgar Winter stuff from around the same time. Come to think of it, its possible Winter picked up some ideas from listening to these guys since his big breakthrough was three or four years after this came out, and this was a minor hit in the States. There’s also the strange ‘Bolero’ organ passage at the end which will really screw with your mind if it is altered at the time, and even if it isn’t this is a pretty innovative rendition of that Ravel classic. Not a very creative ending though, considering one has to invest nearly twenty minutes of their life to get to that point. A pretty typical funk-lilted short crescendo and then an abrupt cease. Sort of leaves a guy hanging.

The other four tracks are pretty average fare. “What You Want to Know” is a plain sort of love song with fairly heavy organ; “Down on The Floor” slowly builds on a piano and solo vocal pattern but also ends too abruptly to really complete a thought; and “I'm Thinking” sounds as if it might have been intended as a radio single.

Only “Hammerhead” offers varied keyboards that aren’t dominated by organ, and lyrics that seem to be anti-war, or at least anti-establishment, but in a sort of medieval dragon-slaying sort of way. This is the stuff you expect to hear out of 1970, and well- done.

But two songs don’t make a classic, even if one consists of half the album. This is a decent record, probably not more than a collector’s item to those who don’t have fond personal memories of when this was new. But since there are undoubtedly several of those types of people around, and since I really don’t have anything majorly bad to say about this record, I suppose three stars is close enough. Recommended to prog fans who like old stuff that doesn’t age all that well.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#124798) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Mini-masterpiece!

Rare Bird's fab four Graham Field, Dave Kaffinetti, Steve Gould and Mark Ashton had created their own distinct sound using keyboards, bass and drums but without, unusually for the time, electric guitars. "As Your Mind Flies By" found them at the peak of their creative powers, especially on the mini-masterpiece "Flight", a four part Suite utilising their keyboard wizardry to the full. This Suite covering the whole of side 2 is a true Prog classic, unfortunately after this album the band underwent personnel changes and a change in musical direction also saw they were never to recover their previous creative form in Prog music.

The first track on side one of the LP "What You Want to Know" is a rather poppy song and was projected as a 45rpm single by Charisma ("Hammerhead" was on the 'B' side of the single), a short organ sequence introduces this piece, the song is followed by the sound of the Harpsichord on "Down on the Floor" , the song is short but develops into a rather grand Baroque-style piece. The next song "Hammerhead" is a battle hymn dominated by a heavy rock style riff alternating with the chorus , building into a crescendo and tailing off to the sound of a pensive solo organ. "I'm Thinking" begins like an overture to a mini-opera, a optimistic song about the good times to come after a broken relationship - "wow".

The whole side 2 of the album is taken up with the multi-influenced mini-masterpiece "Flight", the band's crowning glory, a four part Suite; Part 1 "As Your Mind Flies By", Part 2 "Vacuum", Part 3 "New Yorker" and Part 4 "Central Park". The first part takes your mind on a trip across the skies, a dramatic galloping introduction interspersed with classical keyboard phrases acting as an overture to the whole piece, "flowing rivers, craggy mountain sides" "now's the time to free your mind", complete with a choir of backing vocals - an epic journey indeed. The next stage, Part 2 of the journey finds us in a dream-like "Vacuum" - an extremely atmospheric piece using technical and stereo recording techniques to the full, with swirling keyboard effects circling across the speakers - play loud! A complete change in mood finds us in New York for "New Yorker", a staccato keyboard and American west-side vocal builds into a grand Bernstein/Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - style piece segueing into Part 4 when we are in "Central Park" - with "an evil little man with a gun in his hand", "an hour after dark" - he's the "head park shark"...!

A truly fabulous album somewhat underrated in its day but very influential in Prog, the sumptuous keyboard effects, the New York Bernstein-influenced theme predating a more well known work by four years. An essential masterpiece of Progressive music!

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Send comments to mystic fred (BETA) | Report this review (#136320) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'As Your Mind Flies By' is the 2nd album by Rare Bird, and what an album it is. In a word - MAGNIFICENT !! Centred around the twin- keyboards of Graeme Field (real 'dirty' overdriven Hammond Organ - heavier than lead, and maybe the Harpsichord) and Dave Kaffinetti (overdriven Electric Piano) together with Steve Gould (vocals/Bass) and Mark Ashton (Drums), these guys really make a noise. All that, and a knack for composing some 'killer' material make this release one to track down, immediately. From the opening track, through to the closing moments of the side-long 'Flight' ; the wonderful melodies, the amazing, often frenetic keyboard duels and Steve Gould's sweet voice should captivate any listener. Gould sings with a powerful rawness, fitting to the music, and he is often bright and positive, which is aided by the fantastic musical progressions which flow behind him. Apart from the entire album, 'I'm Thinking' has got to be one of the most incredible songs ever created. 5 star masterpiece.

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Posted Saturday, December 15, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars RARE BIRD were the first band to release music with the Charisma Records back in 1970. Other bands who would sign to this label were GENESIS, VDGG, HAWKWIND and many more. Actually they shared something in common with VDGG back then as neither band had a lead guitarist. RARE BIRD featured two keyboardists(organ, synths, piano), a drummer, and a vocalist / bass player.They fuzzed out the piano and organ at times as well. I was impressed with how progressive this album is. Lots of tempo and mood changes. The side long song "Flight" has so much variety and different styles of music on it. Parts of this album(side one) may sound a little too commercial, but that's a minor complaint.This album has a lot offer.

"What You Want To Know" had to be released as a single. It opens with organ as vocals join in on this pastoral intro. Just a beautiful sound really. The song kicks into gear 1 1/2 minutes in before calming right back down. This contrast continues. Some fuzz piano comes and goes. Lots of piano late in the song. "Down On The Floor" is a mellow, straight forward track with vocal melodies to begin with that turn into vocals later. "Hammerhead" is probably my favourite. Intense vocals are accompanied with an even more intense soundscape. This rocks out pretty good. The bass and powerful organ has a lot to do with that. The heavier sections are contrasted beautifully with lighter passages. "I'm Thinking" builds to a full sound 1 1/2 minutes in. The synth work reminds me of GENESIS. It calms right down as reserved vocals arrive before 3 minutes. The contrast continues. Yeah i'm saying that a lot with these tunes.

"Flight" is my second favourite, but no doubt the most amazing track on here. An almost 20 minute ride. The drumming to open is prominant as keys pulse. The organ take the keys place in the soundscape and they keep trading places. The tempo speeds up 2 minutes in with vocals right behind. It really sounds like mellotron before 4 minutes, or choirs? The song settles down to a whisper 6 minutes in. Organ a minute later hen more mellotron-like sounds.Incredible passage right there. More choirs after 9 1/2 minutes. A haunting, atmospheric soundscape arrives after 10 minutes. This is really cool and unexpected as it turns into something out of a horror movie soundtrack 12 1/2 minutes in. We're grooving again after 13 minutes with vocals back a minute later. Some powerful organ follows. Nice. Some fuzz late as the vocals return.

It was interesting reading Graham Fields(organ player) reason why the band didn't employ a lead guitarist. They felt back then in 1970 that fuzzed out piano / organ was a lot nastier and evil sounding then any guitar could be. I can't argue with him on that point.

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Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rare Bird is a fine early seventies prog rock band. Their style reminds me a bit about Aquila and Paladin which means heavily organ driven rock with prog tendencies. As Your Mind Flies By is a very good example of that genre.

The music is basically rock with lots of organ and a hard rock sounding lead singer. The album is pretty diverse as it starts with a hard rocking song What you want to know. The next song Down on the floor continues in the same style and I was loosing patience with the album until the third song came on. Hammerhead is a fine little prog rock song. It has a completely different mood compared to the two first songs. Fortunately the rest of the album is in this vein. I'm thinking starts with some great organ runs and ends with a more rock like structure. The real treat of the album is the epic Flight. Flight is 19+ minutes long and has a lot of different sections. Near the end I even think a bit of Ravel´s Bolero theme is played by the organ. Flight is a very good prog rock song.

The sound quality is very good for the time.

The musicians are very competent and I have to mention Graham Field for his magnificent organ playing throughout the album. It´s really great if you´re into that instrument.

I´ll rate the album 3 stars because I think it´s good but not good enough to be rated excellent. This is simply not my prefered style.

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Posted Friday, February 22, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This band offered a good debut album, which should please any keyboards oriented music.

Of course, this one doesn't hold a gem like "Sympathy" but they kept on with the good work. And even if this album is dominated by an epic track, side one of the original album is rather decent (if you would except the short "Down on the floor").

Popish mood for What You Want To Know but not only. Tortured vocals and omni present keyboards (two Rare Bird trade marks) are raising this opening track to high standards.

Some heavy psychedelia during "Hammerhead" instantly reminds us the late sixties during which almost anybody produced such tracks. But this one is really good. Vocals from Steve Gould fitting perfectly here.

And even if "I'm Thinking" starts with difficulties, the instrumental section is quite powerful. It is fully dominated by the keys and the vocal style is again pleasant during this heavy bluesy track.

At this time, we are ready for a long "Flight". An epic of nearly twenty minutes whose instrumental intro is fully in the style which will be developed by ELP later on. The first part "As Your Mind Flies By" holds a fantastic keys duo which is extremely performing. This song can easily be considered as a great prog epic.

Momentum, aerial but intriguing passages, superb and sustained bass, bombastic moments. You got it all there. Vocals are smoother than usual and the crescendo is really building up nicely; as I like it. Some purely psychedelic passages combined with an incredibly strong rhythm are interplaying constantly. At no moment should the listener be bored with this long track which is divided into four parts.

Some experimental work ā la Floyd for "Vacuum" (would you believe!) is a bit harder to digest but it is short enough to avoid irritation. It leads to a solid rocking part called "New York". Upbeat rock which introduces the closing section (Central Park which is fully premonitory of what ELP will do later on (the "Boléro" part mixing rock with classical music you know like.).

The only minus point of this epic is probably the lack of consistency; it doesn't really sound as one song. More a collage of four parts put together. But still, it is a very interesting piece of music which has inspired some famous bands.

I would rate this album with four stars. A very good album which fits into any good prog collection.

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Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A Bird spotter's paradise

Rare Bird enjoyed some critical acclaim with the release of their debut album in 1969, the first album to appear on the Charisma label. They also secured a surprise hit single in 1970 with the song "Sympathy" (covered by Marillion among others) from that album. An unchanged line up returned to the studio to record this their second album.

If the eponymous debut had offered strong signals that Rare Bird were a band to be watched, "As your mind flies by" saw them mature with astonishing rapidity. The opening "What you want to know" is a stately power prog ballad featuring the distinctive vocals of Steve Gould backed by the wonderful organ playing of Graham Field. While the album is (deliberately) devoid of lead guitar, some of the supplementary keyboard sounds of David Kaffinetti could at times be mistaken for guitar. The track has a great outro section where the keyboards come to the fore.

"Down on the floor" is the shortest track on the album at under three minutes. The song is primarily a vehicle for Gould's vocal talents, accompanied only by what sounds like a harpsichord. The following "Hammerhead" is the first track to rock, the fantasy lyrics and spooky keyboards being reminiscent of Arthur Brown. Heard today for the first time it probably sounds quite dated, but in 1970 it was highly progressive. For me, it retains all the magic and appeal that it had way back then. The first side of the original LP closes with "I'm thinking", a song whose intro alone features all the Hammond you could ever want. Once again, the song has a pleasingly progressive arrangement and a strong vocal.

The feature track of the album is the 20 minute "Flight", a suite in four parts. This really is without exaggeration one of the lost masterpieces of prog. The four parts of the suite merge to form a magnificent whole. The first of the four Movements, which gives the album its name, accounts for about half of the track length. The two keyboard players play off each other as we are taken on a fantastic trip through dramatics, theatrics and operatics. The second part, "Vacuum" is a brief exercise in spaced out, unstructured sounds, while "New Yorker" suddenly finds the piece entering a hard rock phase. In fine prog tradition, the final section "Central Park" includes an extract from the Ravel's "Bolero" leading to further operatic choir vocals. It's all so wonderfully over the top and excessive!

Those who enjoy the classic prog of Genesis, Wakeman, ELP, etc., plus the more modern prog of Arena, IQ, Pendragon etc. should discover this suite without delay.

Despite being heaped with praise on both sides of the Atlantic, the album failed to enjoy commercial success, perhaps in part due to its lack of a hit single. Seen in retrospect almost 40 years later, "As your mind flies by" stands as a milestone prog album and a terrific example of the pioneering sounds and compositions which made the early 1970's such a unique period in the history of music. Essential.

The 2007 remaster includes 3 bonus tracks. Two of these are simply single edits of tracks on the album. The third "Red man" was recorded by the band in 1971 without Graham Field or Drummer Mark Ashton, but with guitarist Andy Curtis (who produced the band's debut album) and new drummer Fred Kelly. The song was clearly written as a potential single, but it is appealing nonetheless.

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Posted Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars If Charisma's first release was a rather good looking gatefold, when they returned to Rare Bird, the probably decided to go for the blandest of artwork, even though the debut had encouraging sales. With the same unchanged line-up, the band decided to get more ambitious and they wrote a sidelong multi-movement suite for the flipside, but the group forces us to listen to the shorter stuff on the opening side.

Thie album starts under-average, opening on the heavy ascending What You Want To know, then onto the horrible Down On The Floor with bad harpsichord with some of the more approximate (to put it politely) singing ever, the second player definitely screwing things up in the closing seconds. Clearly Rare Bird was in over its head, with this track. Hammerhead presents a darker face and more adventurous face, but as with most of this album, its production is not the top. After a lengthy intro I'm thinking is closing the first side on a very average note, partly again due to the production, but the production, the vocals, but also the organ playing which appear anemic and without strength. Although both Field and Kafinetti play organ together, they don't come up to Vincent Crane or Keith Emerson's eel, in terms of boring playing. The song seems either ripping off Brubeck or Joe Cocker, beit in the intro or the main body of the song.

The "epic" (four apparently unrelated pieces, both musically and lyrically, assembled into one title) on the second side draws all of the objects of attention, especially now that we know the shorter tracks are either fillers or failures. Starting out on demented drums and a duo f (finally) energetic organs, the first movement is reminiscent of The Nice or even Genesis' The Knife (out a few months earlier on Trespass released o the same label), with the voice now sounding a tad Gabriel-like or a bit Moodies-like, but there are some wild Space Odissey choirs that bring much excitement to the whole thing. Yes, this first movement (title track) is probably what Rare Bird did best, even if it is still not. Vacuum is certainly RB's most experimental work, but it doesn't seem to bring a real intention (unless it represents hyperspace travel across the Atlantic Ocean towards NY and its Central Park. And the experimental part soon leads into an ELP-like section (strangely enough sounding like the yet-to-publish Tarkus) and a bolero that they should "Abbadon", for Crimson was there first or did it better. Some good (excellent) moments, but often reminiscent of something else.

The Esoteric remasters can't do much to fix the shoddy production job,, and to correct some of dynamics mistakes would mean remixing, rather than remastering, and it doesn't matter how many bonus tracks you add to it, the first being single edit and the last being a track from another line-up, and neither of the three fit much with the album and therefore don't add much to the overall disc's value.

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Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I grew up listening to the first part of "The Flight" - album title track 9 minutes section "As Your Mind Flies By", which was also presented on the compilation "Sympathy". This composition was amazing to my ears but I never managed to listen to the entire album, until recently. And after doing so, I could not say I stayed amazed.

The complete 19 minutes "Flight" is excellent for sure, even if some parts like psyche-ambient "Vacuum" are perhaps unnecessary. If you like heavy sound of keyboards, particularly Hammond organ, you simply must have this in your collection. Given the period when the album was released, I can describe it as a cross-reference between the dying THE NICE and emerging heavy organ riffs of DEEP PURPLE (imagined without Blackmore's guitar) or ELP . The whole suite is very dynamic with lots of changes in tempo and mood, containing borrowed section from Ravel's "Bolero" with furious ending. Good example of early prog.

Unfortunately the A-side of the album (with possible exception of a driving heavy rock of "Hammerhead") falls much below the high standard of the B-side magnum opus. Songs seem lame, unfinished or even without basic idea of what they wanted to achieve. They are listenable to be sure, but for "progressive" rock we ask for more, do we?

PERSONAL RATING: 3,5/5

P.A. RATING: 3/5

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Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Rare Bird's second album is a major advance over their first, a sublime achievement achieved by the band focusing on the best material from their debut and polishing their songwriting until it shines, and then giving the performances of their lives in the studio itself. The interplay between Field and Kaffinetti's keyboards is never less than electrifying, and Steve Gould's lead vocals carry a drama and gravitas with them to rival labelmate Peter Hammill's.

Indeed, the group seem to have picked up a few tips from their pals in Van der Graaf Generator this time around, the material generally being darker and more foreboding than on the previous album, though the band retain their own personality throughout. The songs on the first side are all perfectly composed, the slow ballad What You Want to Know and the rocking Hammerhead being particular highlights, whilst the crown jewel of the album is the sidelong epic Flight. This seems to be an account of an astral projection experiment gone wrong, a cutting riposte to more unrealistic and idealistic lyrics peddled by other bands; far from soaring to heights of spiritual transcendence, the mystical narrator of the song instead ends up with a terrifying vision of some brutish mugger or rapist stalking human prey in Central Park.

In terms of sheer ambition, drama, and experimentation, this album easily outstrips its predecessor and lays stake to Rare Bird's claim as a vitally important band of the early prog scene, even if their later albums never quite managed to measure up to this one. I heartily recommend As Your Mind Flies By to any prog fan, particularly symphonic fans and those who enjoy Van der Graaf Generator; in particular, I'd say that if you're interested in exploring Rare Bird's music in the slightest there is simply no better place to start. In the infamous words of a certain future bandmate of Dave Kaffinetti, "this one goes to 11".

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Posted Monday, June 27, 2011

Latest members reviews

4 stars Wow what a disc. I have known Rare bird since childhood with their Sympathy song -a great song. I didn't know until lately what a great prog band they were. This disc is full of power mellotrons and great singing. The melodies are fantastic. The climax is the 20 minutes "As your mind flies by". ... (read more)

Report this review (#466424) | Posted by progshachar | Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A masterpiece of music, a psychedelic nugget, and one for the ages, this keyboard driven monster begs to be heard again. The first album was better over all, but the four part track Flight is the best thing Rare Bird ever did. Sounding somewhat like a european Vanilla Fudge these fellas rais ... (read more)

Report this review (#125983) | Posted by vingaton | Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the one !!! Yesssss ! Enjoying right from the start! Short, sweet and remarkable. This is the album that sticks to your ears like a glue and stay there for a long time, echoing and echoing and echoing .. and never ends !! First four songs are good (I say proto-prog in best, just swe ... (read more)

Report this review (#117381) | Posted by Komodo dragon | Thursday, April 05, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Rare Bird are my all time favourite band and i saw the original Rare Bird play live a couple of times.This album is brilliant and they were even better than that live.The unique sound the band produced when playing live with Hammond organ and Electic piano leads was thrilling to listen to and ... (read more)

Report this review (#30454) | Posted by | Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If anybody ask`s me who is my favorite album of all time,i will say this album is and i have no problems with giving it 5 stars (in fact there should be more stars) Wonderful songs all through,nicely buildt together themes,it even has Ravels "bolero" fitted in.The Hammond Organ,Oh my god the Ham ... (read more)

Report this review (#30453) | Posted by | Tuesday, June 01, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This being 1970..a time of guitar and guitar "heroes"...its rather strange to imagine a band coming forward, with absolutely no guitars ( bass exceptet)..such a band were Rare bird! Steve Gould (Vocals/Bass) Graham Field (Keyboards) Dave Kaffinetti (Keyboards) and Mark Ashton ( Drums /Vocals). An ... (read more)

Report this review (#30452) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Saturday, May 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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