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RUFUS ZUPHALL

Krautrock • Germany


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Rufus Zuphall biography
Out of Aachen (a stone throw from Belgium and Holland) this superb band have often been called Germany's answer to JETHRO TULL. Their two studio albums are highly sought by collectors and this is no wonder. Both have been reissued on Cd but "Weiß Der Teufel" was still very rare. Apparently a second CD edition exists with live tracks as bonus. Also exist a four-disc box set; which contains their third unreleased studio album, it is also rare. Plans are for RUFUS ZUPHALL to release a new album this year.

If you are a TULL fan this is likely to please you but ZUPHALL liked their music raw and not-too-refined, but it should please all addicts of early 70's prog.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Weiß Der TeufelWeiß Der Teufel
LongHair
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walpurgisnacht / spanferkel 45 rpm singlewalpurgisnacht / spanferkel 45 rpm single
GOOD WILL
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RUFUS ZUPHALL discography


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RUFUS ZUPHALL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 28 ratings
Weiß der Teufel
1970
4.07 | 32 ratings
Phallobst
1971
3.14 | 9 ratings
Avalon And On
1999

RUFUS ZUPHALL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.05 | 2 ratings
Colder Than Hell
2005

RUFUS ZUPHALL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.95 | 3 ratings
Avalon And On
1993

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
Walpurgisnight / Spanferkel
1970

RUFUS ZUPHALL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Weiß der Teufel by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.85 | 28 ratings

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Weiß der Teufel
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars What an aggressive flute performance. RUFUS ZUPHALL's debut album "Weiß Der Teufel ..." has got to be one of hard Krautrock pioneers.

Firstly, the last titled track is the masterpiece, based upon a standard jazz number "Summertime". Klaus' floating flute playing and hard-edged rock phrases are amazingly violent although based upon such a jazz standard one. Their improvised heavy rock riffs in the beginning part and flexible drum machinegun-ish meteor shower remind me hard / shoegaze / freestyled Krautrock like Guru Guru or Ash Ra Tempel. Whilst the following one with Summertime's phrases, featuring stable jazz essence and steady flute punches, give us a momentary comfort. And the middle is kinda killa for us ... complex, eccentric flute violence makes a definite explosion as a percussive device, with crazy meaningless shouts. This part is very exciting and experimental, that can be suitable to be called as Krautrock. Basically not leans toward other Prog Folk outfits featuring beautiful flute sounds like Jethro Tull. They played with kaleidoscopic soundscape, with burning sunlight and cool moonlight. Not only simply jazzy footprints they'd left but also splendid kinky freaky experiment expression, let me say.

Not only the masterpiece above mentioned, we can enjoy their brilliant, delightful sounds, especially via Klaus' flute launcher. The third track "Spanferkel" is the shortest in this album but one of the most powerful, the most thrilling attacks too, where massive flute bomb makes exposures of eruption again and again. Their perfect innovation of sound drives us mad. On the contrary, the fourth (the last of Side A) one "Freitag" sounds a bit unrefined (in a fine sense) along with tense, slightly cynical deep riffs like jazz Krautrocker Xhol Caravan or Air in the same nation. In the first track "Walpurgisnacht" we can enjoy hard pop with fantastic flute-based dry-fruity tips as if we would throw ourselves into old-fashioned "non-kosmische" German rock really. Through the whole creation, we can feel very colourful structure here and there.

Anyway off-topic, this album was recommended by a Krautrock specialist Philippe Blache as a brilliant flute-fronted one. Let me say thanks to Philippe and I wish I could be such a killer flutist. :)

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 Weiß der Teufel by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.85 | 28 ratings

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Weiß der Teufel
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Searching for a band to define the Kraut Rock term in an accepted degree, Rufus Zuphall from Aachen would make for a great candidate.The band was formed in 1969 by flutist Klaus Gülden, guitarist/singer Günter Krause, bassist Helmut Lieblang and drummer Udo Dahmen, while reputedly they had a fifth Classical-educated keyboardist during the early days, and their popularity increased after their gig at the Jazz Festival in Bilzen, Belgium, in 1970 in front of 30,000 people, supporting Black Sabbath, Cat Stevens and May Blitz.Their debut ''Weiss der Teufel'' was recorded in the Netherlands in just three days at the fall of 70', released on the Good Will label with guest star Erich Engels on percussion.

Their style trully represents the outlandish sound of the major Kraut Rock bands, being a hybrid of storming Heavy Prog and Psychedelic Folk with the atmosphere changing from jamming and intense musicianship to melancholic and hypnotic folky tunes.The opening side contains four cuts of pounding and energetic Psych/Prog with dominant guitar solos, loose grooves and heavy-driving flutes with a JETHRO TULL flavor, while there are plenty of impressive breaks and edgy interplays to be met as well.Hints of Classical influences and the pure Psych/Folk piece ''Knight of third degree'' with its long percussion-led parts show the diverse sound of the group.The English vocals are rather limited and the focus remains on a very dynamic and powerful combination of guitars and flutes with a confident rhythm section supporting.The flipside contains the sidelong eponymous track, which clocks at 17 minutes, and sums up Rufus Zuphall's main influences and at times extremely psychedelic style.Lots of flute sections, hypnotic drums and smooth guitars combine with passionate instrumental textures with heavy guitars, flute solos and and endless batlles between them, while there are plenty of bluesy and Folk references through the epic.Some obcure vocal passages and the drum solo at the beginning are the epic's weaker moments.

The Long Hair CD reissue comes with an extra six tracks, caught live in Aachen in June 72' in one of the last performances of Rufus Zuphall.A couple of them appeared later in other releases of the band (''Avalon Suite'', ''Prickel Pit''), while the line-up includes bassist Manfred Spangenberg and guitarist Thomas Kittel in the place of Helmut Lieblang.The sound has little to do with the debut of the band, these pieces contain mainly British-flavored Heavy/Blues Rock with emphasis on the guitar parts of Krause and rather limited flute parts, while the vocals are even closer to British-styled groups with little originality.

Despite not belonging among the monumental releases of the Kraut Rock movement, Rufus Zuphall's debut is a strong album of flute/guitar-led Progressive Rock with tons of energy and some pounding instrumental themes of nice inspiration.Recommended, a good starting point for everyone who wants to come in touch with the early-70's German Progressive Rock scene.

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 Weiß der Teufel by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.85 | 28 ratings

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Weiß der Teufel
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars An album more interesting than actually entertaining, the somewhat unfocused debut from Rufus Zuphall ranges from Jethro Tull-influenced prog-folk-rock (as on the opening Walpurgisnacht) to strange, unclassifiable material suck as Knights of the Third Degree, which incorporates influences from traditional musics from all over the world. A nice distraction, but I think it may be one of those albums whose rarity has led to it becoming very slightly overrated - it's good, but doesn't exactly blow the competition out of the water. Ultimately, jam-driven unfocused debut albums by Krautrock bands were not exactly uncommon in the early 1970s and this isn't an especially vital addition to that crowd.

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 Phallobst by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 32 ratings

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Phallobst
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was recorded in Dieter Dierks studio so it's much more polished than their debut which was recorded live in another studio. Unfortunately Dieter's studio was under construction so it made for a difficult week for the band. On top of that the label was trying to convince Krause the guitarist / vocalsit for the band to go solo, saying he could be the German version Neil Young. This was all done behind the band's back and Krause was very irritated about this. Another problem was the final track "I'm On My Way", the band had already rejected a version of it that the label wanted to release, but instead of honouring the band's wishes they released it anyway. The band didn't know about it until the final product was revealed.There were also other headaches for the band regarding the label that I won't get into. I should also mention a second lead guitarist was added for this release.

"Closing Time" features laid back vocals in this mid paced tune and when he stops singing before 1 1/2 minutes the tempo picks up and we get an all instrumental soundscape right to the end. "Wenn Schon, Denn Scon" is an instrumental. I like the intro especially the bass. It settles after a minute with dual acoustic guitars. Nice. It kicks back in before 3 minutes to the original melody. "Schupfner" kicks in before a minute with flute. It settles again with some intricate acoustic guitar. "Waste Land" features acoustic guitar and flute as reserved vocals arrive a minute in. Percussion follows in this melancholic track.

"Makrojel" is an impressive track and one of my favs. It's brighter and uptempo with flute. "Prickel Pit" has some good bottom end to it early. Guitar takes the lead after 1 1/2 minutes then flute joins in. Love the sound before 3 minutes. "Portland Town" opens with some mellotron and the song continues to drift along with mellow vocals. Cool song. "I'm On My Way" opens with acoustic guitar and vocals. I'm reminded of Jim Morrison as he sings on this track for some reason. Mellotron comes in later.

I do like the debut more, but this is worth the 4 stars.

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 Weiß der Teufel by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.85 | 28 ratings

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Weiß der Teufel
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was RUFUS ZUPHAL's debut released in 1970. It was recorded live in the studio so we get a fairly raw and unpolished sound that I like.They had a very good rhythm section (the drummer would go on to play with KRAAN) and prominant flute.

"Walpurgisnacht" hit me right away, the first time I heard it I thought "What a great sounding band". The vocals and flute both sound outstanding. Some nice contrasts in this one. Guitar leads the way 1 1/2 minutes in. "Knight Of 3rd Degree" has this heavy rhythm as flute plays over top. It calms right down 2 minutes in. Reserved voicals before 3 minutes. This is all melancholic sounding. It kicks back in before 6 minutes as the song ends just like it began. "Spanferkel" is more aggressive with lots of flute. Great sound ! It's funny when the song ends you can hear the flute player take a deep breath. "Freitag" has a Blues flavour to it. The drums start to dominate after a minute with flute. The guitar comes in and I really like the flute melodies here. The guitar starts to rip it up and a good rhythm follows as the style of the flute changes. The guitar is back ! "Weiss Der Teufel" is the over 17 minute closer. It opens with flute and some heaviness. A good steady rhyrthm follows as guitar plays over top.The flute replaces the guitar. We get a 2 minute drum solo that's actually pretty good. Vocals after 5 minutes with prominant bass. It turns psychedelic with some crazy vocal expressions 8 minutes in.The insanity lasts for about a minute. The song kicks back in at 12 1/2 minutes to a fantastic sound ! It settles again before kicking back in to end it.

This is a good one that's well worth a 4 star rating.

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 Colder Than Hell by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Live, 2005
2.05 | 2 ratings

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Colder Than Hell
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars This album documents the band's reunion concert performance, and though the event was probably an interesting event of seeing this fabulous 1970's band back on the stage, sadly this record itself wasn't very good album to listen trough. There are some good points here though: Their sound is very vintage, mostly due well preserved electric guitar tone and the old keyboards, and the flute lines of Klaus Gülden are really cool. Also the inclusion of their epic "Weiß Der Teufel" here is a nice gesture, though the performance of it wasn't very exceptional. In that track especially is revealed a one big disappointment for me: The absence of the original drummer Udo Dahman. My all respects to his substitute Mr. Roland Hegel, I don't wish to be impolite towards him, but his more straightforward style isn't as interesting as Udo's chaotic jazzy manners to my ears. There are also some moments here where the playing doesn't work very well, like the fast scale runs on "Schnupfer", which didn't really go through very well. Also I was quite disappointed by the songs on this concert which weren't from their earlier repertoire, as they were really quite mainstream bluesy rock numbers. I have understood, that in the early 1970's after their "Phallobst" album the management wished the band to evolve as German version of Deep Purple. Against their wishes they ventured deeper to psych rock and folk sounds and recorded a demo album "Avalon and On" which didn't please their record company and the group was disbanded. Now, 30 years later, it seems that the band has after all chosen to adapt the direction which they rejected before: The Hammond driven bluesy hard rock tunes here sound very much like Deep Purple? I appreciated the original more artistic line of Rufus Zuphall, and though there are some good parts on this long CD, I really wouldn't recommend it but serious fans of this band, and those who participated these concerts and got good memories from them. The early 1970's recordings of this magnificent band are then another case, which I would like to recommend warmly.

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 Phallobst by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 32 ratings

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Phallobst
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by bristolstc

5 stars I have played my copy (an original!) of this album enough times and loved it to say that it is a masterpiece, an absolutely original work that combines westcoast styled psychedelia with flute and guitar driven progressive rock and folksy passages here and there, with tremendous energy and enthusiasm from the whole group. Rufus Zuphall are often referred to as "the German Jethro Tull" not only is this gravely unfair to Rufus Zuphall, it also is the wrong comparison for Jethro Tull as the flute is generally much quieter and I can't hear too many Tull similarities on this album. There is more guitar/dual leads here than there are flute solos and flute riffs, also marking a difference. The album is songs of two different types: there are half instrumentals with titles in German and half vocal tracks with titles in English. The voice is quiet, almost a whisper, dark sounding, and very Germanic. This album is full of olde German and olde English dark and mystical vibes juxtaposed with healthy doses of humour and energy. It is more psychedelic than progressive, with a rough edge and some phasing effects on the flute here and there. I like this much more than the Spanish group Pan And Regaliz who sing in very broken English and really are just a Tull cast off. Tull are so great that emulating them and their unique sound is potentially fatal. Rufus Zuphall may have been influenced by Tull, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Fairport Convention, and some other bands, but never do they copy or imitate. In fact, I would have to say this is one of the most original albums I've heard of late and that alone makes it refreshing. When I am bored and I put this on it elevates me and makes me feel better. Music is supposed to bring your spirits up, not make you miserable, right! It's hard to choose a favourite track here, I actually wouldn't be able to pick only one track. The record opens brilliantly with "Closing Time-" a fast paced jazzy rocker, and then it moves into two driving/atmospheric instrumentals before a very different slow vocal number "Waste Land." These guys are way, way better than Parzival, perhaps more Krautrock than folk and therefore more interesting. In 1971 a lot was happening, and this album is full of the excitement being generated then by bands who cared only about producing great music and not making a lot of money. Phallobst bombed, but since it is on the collectable Pilz label has been given a lot of praise along with their first album which I haven't heard. So, I say this is a masterpiece of progressive music? I am, but I am also stretching the term "progressive" to mean simply "innovative." The songs aren't long, there aren't a ton of time changes, not a lot of polish, but this is psych into progressive era circa Germany 1971 at its best, and a complete and total gem all the way through.

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 Avalon And On by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.14 | 9 ratings

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Avalon And On
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

The story of this posthumous album is that the high-quality demo tape did not please their new label that had started promoting the group in a different manner than the band was heading in another. So the band could not record it and broke-up. These 5- tracks demo tapes reappeared in the 94 4-record box-set and they were later released under the ten-working title Avalon. Were added three tracks from their early stages and another three from a reunion concert in 99.

These demo tapes can actually show how much a great album this would've been had it been allowed to be properly recorded. Actually, the demos are fine enough to be released on their own as a full-fledged album (since RZ was always proud of its rough and raw sound). The 11-min+ Avalon is a rather interestingly progressive track with a medieval-influenced guitar middle section. The next tracks are yet unfinished also, but the great Pachebel and the short Prelude (a guitar duo that has reminiscence of Hackett and Rutherford) are both a pure joy if you are not picky of sound quality. The last two demo tracks were clearly intended as part of other more intricate composition.

Where things go slightly awry is with Krause's vocals: they were never RZ's forte, but in this demo, they are (understandably) just acceptable. Again looking at the three potential albums, RZ had a relatively unique sound, but even these demo tapes sound so typical of them, that it remains difficult to tell quickly on which track you are listening to.

On the other "side" of this record are three tracks coming from early recordings, among which is a 12-min+ Dylan cover of Hollis Brown, which starts slowly and builds a slow crescendo, and if the track stays on the same tempo, the jam-like ramblings are quite enjoyable for non-demanding progheads. Granum Cerebri has a rather messy intro, but develops quickly into a riffy guitar and flute thing. A bit naïve, but this track was recorded prior to their debut album and is still a joy to hear. An early version of their classic reprise of Portland Town follows.

The last three tracks are taken from a re-union concert in 99 with the original line-up and doing tracks from their debut album: Of a much better quality than the bonus live tracks of their two historical albums (Cd version), all three are closely respected in spirit.

If you enjoy much the other two historical albums and like me considered RZ worthy of an obscure and tiny cult-status, this "posthumous " release will most likely please you, and it might not be anymore essential than the other two records, but not much less either.

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 Phallobst by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 32 ratings

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Phallobst
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The second album by this sadly too unknown German band isn't as good as their first "Weisß Der Teufel" record, but it's still a worthy bargain. The sound is bit different, as the bass player has been changed, and there's a second guitarist introduced to the band. "Closing Time" is a good psych rock, with funny sounding vocals, as they have been sung very quietly and calmly over a loud rock'n'roll song about "a merchant selling peace". "Waste Land" is also a track worth to mention, a slow minor ballad with haunting flutes. Some of these melody lines resemble some old cradle songs I think? "Portland Town" is a great arrangement of a traditional folk song, now played with mellotrons and heavy guitar riffs. All other songs are also OK, but they are not maybe as raw and innovative as their earlier material. But I consider this yet a very recommendable album. I had my vinyl copy from "Avalon and On" box set, which also has the live tracks released with the reissue CD.

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 Weiß der Teufel by RUFUS ZUPHALL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.85 | 28 ratings

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Weiß der Teufel
Rufus Zuphall Krautrock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This wonderful debut album by the roots-oriented German prog act made a big impression on me, when I bought it over ten years ago. This is one of the few albums which has stood the test of time, and listening to it is still gives me lots of enjoyment enriched with nostalgia. Though the music is impressionistic and wild, it mostly bluesy 1970's rock oriented by jazz, folk and slightly psychedelic influences. I think that the most talented musician of the band is Udo Dahmen playing the drums. There are evident classic jazz influences to be heard in his playing. Klaus Gülden's flute is also a good extra color in the band's palette, creating both soothing and chaotic sounds. The album begins with "Walpurgisnacht", a stoned bluesy rocker in the vein of early Jane. The second song "Knight of 3rd Degree" has Spanish and medieval elements in the music, and its metaphorical lyrics are fine, making up this track as one of the top moments of this wonderful album. The following songs "Spanferkel" and "Freitag" are instrumental numbers, the last one having very insane and painful sounding guitar solo. The second side of the LP holds the title track "Weiß der Teufel", which concludes many different elements like Gershwin's "Summertime" and mad flute solos to a wonderful avant-garde rock epic. Very emotional and powerful stuff. My copy of this album is a vinyl released by Little Wing, so it doesn't have the bonus live material from Aachen, but I have heard them from my "Avalon and On" boxed set, and at least the live version from their "Avalon Suite" is a good performance of a fine tune. A very recommendable, wonderful album.

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