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RARE BIRD

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Rare Bird biography
RARE BIRD is a quartet that relied heavily on keyboards as both Kafinetti and Field played together, the former on piano and synthesizers and the latter on organ - much like PROCOL HARUM and later on GREENSLADE. They had a hit with "Sympathy" in the UK but were more successful in Continental Europe where they became quite popular, their sound often reminding us of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST. This double keyboard attack held no place for a guitarist until Field left along with the drummer Ashton and another keyboard player Lamb. This change occurred as they switched to Polydor label and they took on a guitar player, and played a harder rock with some funky lines. Nic Potter of VDGG played on two albums of the second line-up and John Wetton guested on one.

Most progheads will appreciate their first two albums and will also want to check out FIELDS, Field's new group at that time.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Somebody's WatchingSomebody's Watching
Import
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$10.69
$9.50 (used)
Epic ForestEpic Forest
Extra tracks · Import
El Records 2007
Audio CD$8.10
$12.70 (used)
Rare BirdRare Bird
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2007
Audio CD$10.78
$16.23 (used)
As Your Mind Flies ByAs Your Mind Flies By
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2007
Audio CD$10.78
$20.33 (used)
Born AgainBorn Again
Import
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$10.80
$16.79 (used)
SympathySympathy
Import
EMI Europe Generic 1990
Audio CD$3.87
$6.88 (used)
1st//Somebody's Watching1st//Somebody's Watching
Import · Remastered
Red Fox 1997
Audio CD$15.99
$14.97 (used)
Third Time Around: An IntroductionThird Time Around: An Introduction
Import
Universal Import 2004
Audio CD$24.88
$19.00 (used)
Attention / Vinyl record [Vinyl-LP]Attention / Vinyl record [Vinyl-LP]
Import
Vinyl$25.24 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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4 days
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RARE BIRD shows & tickets


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RARE BIRD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RARE BIRD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 70 ratings
Rare Bird
1969
4.03 | 126 ratings
As Your Mind Flies By
1970
3.16 | 48 ratings
Epic Forest
1972
2.44 | 40 ratings
Somebody's Watching
1973
2.62 | 34 ratings
Born Again
1974

RARE BIRD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RARE BIRD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

RARE BIRD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 4 ratings
Rare Bird '75
1975
3.38 | 19 ratings
Sympathy
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rare Bird: Polydor Special
1977
3.30 | 8 ratings
Rare Bird / Somebody Is Watching
1990
2.52 | 7 ratings
Third Time Around: An Introduction to Rare Bird
2004
4.17 | 6 ratings
1st/Somebody's Watching/Born Again/As Your Mind Flies By
2005

RARE BIRD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.52 | 4 ratings
Sympathy/Devil's High Concern
1970
3.00 | 2 ratings
Diamonds flexi 7''
1974

RARE BIRD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sympathy/Devil's High Concern by RARE BIRD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1970
3.52 | 4 ratings

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Sympathy/Devil's High Concern
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars RARE BIRD maybe was a "One Hit Wonder" band in some places like in my country, "Sympathy" was played a lot in some of the radio stations in my city. One of my brothers had it in an EP released here in the Philips Records label (not in the Charisma Records label) with other three songs which I can`t remember now. The EP was lost a long time ago, and curiously, my brother can`t remember the song now, even when I played it on youtube to him once sometime ago!

RARE BIRD maybe was a somewhat "atypical" band for the Pop Rock record market, because (like PROCOL HARUM) they had two keyboard players, But "Sympathy" is a slow song, with a good melody sung by the singers and played at the same time with the organ. It really is a "serious" and "sad" song that was successful maybe more due to the content of the lyrics. Another very characteristic thing from this band was that they had two very good lead singers (drummer Mike Ashton and bassist-guitarist Steve Gould). This song is more Prog Rock influenced than the song which was destined for the "B" side, titled "Devil's High Concern", which is more a fast Rock song with a distorted electric piano playing a very good solo similar in sound to the one used by Jon Lord with DEEP PURPLE. It seems that this song was only originally released in the "B" side of this single and was not released in their first album.

Historical fact: RARE BIRD was the band which recommended GENESIS to Charisma Records`s boss, the late Tony Stratton-Smith, in 1970. RARE BIRD sometimes played at some of the same gigs with GENESIS in the same bill.

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 As Your Mind Flies By by RARE BIRD album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 126 ratings

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As Your Mind Flies By
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

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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 As Your Mind Flies By by RARE BIRD album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 126 ratings

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As Your Mind Flies By
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

Review by progshachar

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". It's astounding - full of great melodies, change of rhythm, strong vocals. A real wow. Not many bands did a 20 minutes song back then. what a change from Sympathy to a 20 minutes great song. The quality of the recording is good and the bonuses are ok, specially the last song - Red man.

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 Rare Bird by RARE BIRD album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.71 | 70 ratings

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Rare Bird
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars NOTE: The version of the album I am familiar with has Iceberg, Times, You Went Away and Melanie at the start the other songs towards the end. Perhaps my CD has the LP sides in the wrong order, or perhaps the progarchives entry is wrong. (Either way, I think the running order placing Iceberg at the start and God of War at the end is superior, since it means the album is bookended by its two best and most progressive tracks.)

With two keyboardists and no lead guitar, Rare Bird's debut album takes them into territory much like that occupied by early Procol Harum (if you take the talented Mr Trower out of the picture). But it's evident from the first track on this album, Iceberg, that they're a somewhat different proposition. As dark and mysterious as Procol themselves could get, the track also brings to play a higher level of complexity and at points starts to sound similar to early Van der Graaf Generator.

If the whole album were up to this standard, the band would have a real treat on their hand, but there are a few numbers that are simpler, more commercial, and (if I'm being brutally honest) just plain less good. Times is, to be frank, kind of lousy to start off with, but the second half of the song improves once the singing stops and the keyboard soloing kicks in in earnest. You Went Away and Melanie are similarly conflicted; the love song parts are a bit less simplistic and clumsy, but then again the improvisation parts are briefer and more tightly contained, so on the whole they're both clunkers. (Melanie, in particular, is let down by an unconvincing vocal performance that lacks the impressive intonations of the more dramatic tracks on the album.)

The second side puts things back on track as it opens with Beautiful Scarlet, that recaptures the dynamism and drama and foreboding of Iceberg. But the side lets itself down with Sympathy, apparently a hit for the band - which I can't understand, considering that it's a plodding, sappy mess of a song. I guess the "half the world hates the other half" message seemed more relevant during the Cold War. But actually, as a whole the second side holds up much better than the first: Nature's Fruit, the other short song on this side, is actually a bit more peppy and more musical interesting to boot, and I'm also personally quite fond of the pastorally-themed Bird On a Wing. And the side closer, God of War, is the first hint of the dark and Van der Graaf-haunted territory they would explore on their superior second album.

Rare Bird's debut is an extremely promising album with some dynamite tracks in the form of Iceberg and God of War, but it's badly let down by the filler material that seems to have been cooked up in a rush to get the thing finished - particularly on the first side. (After all, the band had barely formed when Tony Stratton-Smith signed them up and hustled them into the studio to lay this one down.) It's also suffered from a fairly cheap production job - perhaps not surprising considering that this was one of the very first albums Charisma put out - and, on at least the CD copy I have, a rather poor-quality transfer which sounds like it was taken directly from a vinyl copy rather than the master tapes. (That said, I've not heard the latest reissue from Esoteric so that might have superior sound quality - they've done a wonderful job on other reissues so I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't spruce this old Bird up a bit.) Still, when the band is up to scratch, they are a true delight for any proto-prog fan.

Three stars, but very, very close to being dragged down to two stars by that production job and those filler tracks.

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 Sympathy by RARE BIRD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1976
3.38 | 19 ratings

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Sympathy
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

Review by 1967/ 1976

4 stars If The Moody Blues, Barclay James harvest, Procol Harum, Nirvana (UK) or pre "666" Aphrodite's Child are your bands certainly Rare Bird is another band for you. In fact I have this impression when I listen to "Symphaty", a good compilation from first two albums of Rare Bird. "Symphaty" was the only song that I know but the rest of the songs in this compilation was good as an example of early Prog, also if not fuly in Prog expression. The sound is a gat organ (hammond) sound but not in the vein of Atomic Rooster or Iron Butterfly, because the music is generally easy and sweet.

Rare Bird is a good band, an example of early Prog and, in my opinion, a band with music aged too well.

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 Born Again by RARE BIRD album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.62 | 34 ratings

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Born Again
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

Review by trackstoni

4 stars It's been really a long long time since i've lost this album in 1979 , due to civil war in Lebanon , all my vinyl archive was lost . ever since , this album was in my mind until 2008 , i've been able to get it from a friend ! this album is really underrated , and i believe that maybe only very few ( tens ! ) of proggers knew about this excellent album !! i don't have to give a technical view on this album , but as an opinion only , Rare Bird are simply amazing in their mid releases , and maybe the first two albums were great , but this one , and after 31 years of loss , gave me back the spirit of the 60's & 70's ( Moody Blues - Barclay James & Babe Ruth ) - so many beautiful songs , lovely & solid lyrics , and captivating simple music by all means , it's not progressive in all terms , but it's more than that , it's something we can hear anytime & anywhere ! Redman , Peace of Mind & Last Tango in Baulah are great songs ! Enjoy it , really worth your pennies !

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 As Your Mind Flies By by RARE BIRD album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 126 ratings

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As Your Mind Flies By
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

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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 Rare Bird by RARE BIRD album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.71 | 70 ratings

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Rare Bird
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Signed to the famous old Charisma label along with the likes of Genesis and Van Der Graaf Generator, Rare Bird were one of the earliest purveyors of symphonic prog, utilising a double- keyboard approach, thick bass-lines, yearning vocals and galloping drums. The band excelled in creating tricksy, ever-shifting tunes and melodies with complex, inter-changing time signatures and for a brief while Rare Bird were the equal of both their label-mates Genesis and proto-proggers Procul Harum. Their eponymously-titled debut features a wonderfully dense, classic progressive rock sound, with exciting rockers interspersed with gentler, more pastoral numbers and classically-themed pieces that showcase the talented skills of organist Graham Field and synth-player Dave Kaffinetti. Highlights include the up-tempo 'Beautiful Scarlet', which kicks things off nicely with some wonderful organ-drums-bass interplay, the jazz-tinged symphonic rock of 'Iceberg' and, last but by no means least, the seminal ballad 'Sympathy', a huge-selling single(two million copies, no less) which, for a brief while, made Rare Bird a household name at the beginning of the 1970's. Those with a penchant for old- school prog, crisply-played hammond organs and soulful vocals should feel right at home. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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 Rare Bird by RARE BIRD album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.71 | 70 ratings

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Rare Bird
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Iceberg starts with (how to define it), not so strong organ solo, while evolving slowly into faster pace. Some tracks actually reminds me "Greenslade", what about Melanie, of course, that's not only similarity, the biggest one are two, sometimes duelling, sometimes one supporting another keyboards. You either love them, or they will make listening this music unbearable. My case is first choice, I like their sound, reminding me past, almost ancient times of rock music. And even in this year it could easily sound old. Vocals are good, sometimes, can be pleasant for someone, while terrible for other. Some songs could be sung better though, but that's matter of personal taste. As normal guitars are missing, bass sound is prominent (when you know what to look for and where). It's weird combination, but it works, somehow.

4(-), so, organ solos instead of guitar ones, that's not usual thing. But we should differ old from old. Old sound is good, but old flaws are not. Times, blues organ song ?

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 Rare Bird by RARE BIRD album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.71 | 70 ratings

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Rare Bird
Rare Bird Crossover Prog

Review by FatalV

4 stars A beautiful tail is about to be born...

Rare Bird appears at the late 60's with a lot promising self-titled debut. Their music consists to Rock compositions that go from Crossover, to Progressive and Symphonic. Considering that era, when a lot of Prog Monsters were about to be born, Rare Bird presents a beautiful album, that excites the interest of many.

Steve's Gould guitar and bass playing are mainly presenting a Classic Rock style that fits to the whole project so well. Steve has also a wonderful voice, so special and particular. His voice and Graham's hammond give the album his own character. The compositions are mainly arranged to the Hammond and keys performing, presenting a lot of doubled parts, beautifully put together, reminding Deep Purple's Jon Lord. Mike's drum playing (often fast and technical) and his beautiful voice (mainly for backing vocals) complete this amazing group.

Despite the fact that ''Rare Bird'' was recorded in the late 60's, the sound of this album is clearly a 70's one. And that adds a nice feeling and atmosphere. Rare Bird enter the Prog Scene with an interesting debut, boding their next album, ''As Your Minds Flies By'', that will bring them into a wider recognition.

A very talented band presenting a beautiful album! 4 stars...

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