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Rare Bird

Crossover Prog

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Rare Bird Somebody's Watching album cover
2.81 | 74 ratings | 7 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Somebody's Watching (5:27)
2. Third Time Around (4:56)
3. Turn Your Head (4:40)
4. More and More (4:06)
5. Hard Time (3:07)
6. Who Is the Hero (3:40)
7. High in the Morning (3:32)
8. Dollars (0:31)
9. A Few Dollars More (8:12)

Total Time 38:11

Bonus tracks on 2008 remaster:
10. Virginia (3:11)
11. Lonely Street (4:17)

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Gould / vocals, guitar, bass (6)
- Andrew "Ced" Curtis / guitar
- Dave Kaffinetti / electric piano, Hammond organ, clavinet
- Fred Kelly / drums, (northern) percussion

- Nic Potter / bass
- John Whetton / guitar (8)
- Nicky James / backing vocals
- Paul Korda / backing vocals
- Kevin Lamb / backing vocals
- Al Matthews / congas & percussion (8)
- Paul Holland / congas & percussion (8)
- Sammi Abu / congas & percussion (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Chris Yates (photo)

LP Polydor ‎- 2383 211 (1973, UK)

CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC2091 (2008, UK) Remastered by Ben Wiseman with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy RARE BIRD Somebody's Watching Music

RARE BIRD Somebody's Watching ratings distribution

(74 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

RARE BIRD Somebody's Watching reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars . . . anything but rare music

Rare Bird were classic under-achievers. They found singles success with the classic "Sympathy", and were capable of writing great tracks like "As your mind flies by" when they put their minds to it.

"Somebody's watching" though shows how they tended to drift through albums without trying to step outside the box. "Turn your head around" is a good example. It has some good but brief guitar work, and a slightly alternative country feel, but the vocals are only average, and by the time the annoyingly repetitive final chorus has faded, you've probably lost interest.

Much of the music on side one is quite funky, with similarities at times to Steely Dan. Side two is more relaxed, with an America (the band) sound to "High in the morning", a pleasant country rock ballad.

The closing track "Dollars", which includes an extract from "A few dollars more" is a lengthy guitar led freeform jam. It is well played, but you can't help feeling you've heard it all before.

In all, a pleasant but undemanding album, which could have been a lot better.

Review by loserboy
3 stars After Graham Field (organ and assorted keys) left the band, RARE BIRD went thru a bit of a metamorphosis and released an album of "American-funk-prog rock". Although in a new direction this album still works exceptionally well with some incredible musicianship and song writing. RARE BIRD always had a slight pop funk jazz vibe going on in their music (or I can hear this tendency anyway.) but it is clearly accentuated here. The music is rich and full of excellent musicianship with John Wetton making a guest appearance on this album sporting his bass guitar talents. Overall a solid album with some great tunes but cleary a departure from their 70's heavy organ drenched progressive rock.
Review by hdfisch
1 stars After the departure of Ashton and Field RARE BIRD had to re-arrange drastically their line-up with only one keyboardist left and with the addition of a full-time guitarist. A new drummer (Fred Kelly) joined who got huge support by percussionists Paul Holland and Nic Potter of VDGG. The final result of this change we could hear on their third album "Epic Forest" which moved away from their initially organ-driven sound to a more guitar-based one introducing some funky rhythms. Though being quite different from their first two albums and also not quite on par with them this one had been still quite a solid effort in terms of Prog and a highly enjoyable record. So now what had really happened on their fourth album here in review that actually it can be considered almost disastrous if compared to their previous works. The listed line-up looks impressive in fact but the music which is rather straight forward funk rock, sometimes in a harder vein with some ballads thrown in sounds quite disappointing. There are quite a few guest musicians and vocalists, amongst them John Wetton playing bass and a couple of percussionists contributing to the highly rhythmic and grooving sound of this album. But honestly there have been records by another band from that period called James Gang (not really considered Prog I think, Yer Album and Rides Again, anyone remembers?) I listened to again after ages just recently that were able to fascinate me more than this stuff here. Starting from the title track down to "High in the morning" there are just flaws here, mediocre songs at the best, good enough to run in the back without disturbing. The last one "Dollars" is the only slightly outstanding one in fact without being anything a Prog fan would run miles for. I've to say that this album is actually only for one reason part of my collection since I'm owning their debut as its CD re-release where it has been added on as a sort of "bonus". I would say as a stand-alone record it's even not worth purchasing it as a Prog-fan of this particular band but rather considered a "for completionists-only-one". The same applies even more to its follow-up "Born Again" BTW!
Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars Impressive line-up but poor music. This is at least my impression.

This album sounds totally different than their first three ones. You can forget about the great organ play, the catchy melodies and the fully prog oriented music sometimes close to ELP that "Rare Bird" has been playing so far.

Funk & Rhythm & Blues, that's all we get here. Needless to say that this change is far to please my poor ears. They are severely suffering while listening to any of these tracks. Same sort of weak music all the way through. No need to name them all of course. At random : "Turn Your Head", "More & More" (real bad) etc.

The only bearable song as far as I am concerned is Who Is The Hero. It is a great rock ballad, full of poetry and emotion. Like they use to write some years prior to this album. But one great track is a bit short.

This album is a major disappointment. The only reason to get this album would be to buy the 1997 CD edition which combines this one with their good first album. A strange marketing policy. They should have better released their first two albums in this format. But I guess that, as such, there was at least some interest (but only for their debut, believe me).

One star.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Somebody's Watching - but is anyone listening? That was the question which Rare Bird were grapping with as they crafted their fourth album, since it was now some four years after Sympathy gave them their last hit single and fickle audiences hadn't stuck with them in the intervening time.

Anyone who was still paying attention, though, may well have concluded that this album was Epic Forest Part 2, a similar mix of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young-esque West Coast folk rock with elements of bluesy hard rock, all mixed together with progressive sensibilities that retained a link to their early albums without going for a full symphonic prog compositional approach.

This time around, the West Coast folk rock aspect seems to be a bit more prominent, the hard rock seems to be dialled back a little, but at the end of the day it's a similar enough prospect that if you liked Epic Forest, you will like this - but if you think Rare Bird took a wrong turn on that album, this won't convince you otherwise.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Solid album. Most of the songs on here follow the sound of Epic Forests 3 minute long songs. One song, Dollars (8 minutes) is purely instrumental and really delightful music. It plays an old westerns theme then heads into jazzy goodness lead by guitar and returns to theme but at half the tempo to ... (read more)

Report this review (#2536874) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I remember buying this LP from a kid at school when I was about 15. I loved it then and at nearly 50 I love it still. This record is about the songs. Earlier Rare Bird LP's always come across as 'look what good musicians we are', which was never of interest to this 15 year old. What you get fro ... (read more)

Report this review (#192678) | Posted by Lost Follower | Friday, December 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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