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Bob Downes' Open Music - Deep Down Heavy CD (album) cover


Bob Downes' Open Music

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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2 stars released 1970 on the super-cheap label MFP but sounds like an earlier recording to me., and probably so because the recording quality is mediocre about 7-8 out of 10. i guess the intent was to have this as a proper release as the recording on a number of tracks uses environmental sounds [london transport] and the band includes such luminaries as : chris spedding / ray russell / harry millar / laurie allan / alan rushton plus a few others. the best tracks are : side one trk`s 1 & 2 & 3 two 1 & 3 & 5 & 7 nb., trk b6 is a poetry recital by `robert cockburn` and is very good trk`s a1 / b7 sound like `if` trk a3 is more `mayall` styled trk a2 is instrumental , and sounds reminiscent of french band `ame son` trk b1 is a jazz rock with `funk` rhythm trk b3 is a `psyche` styled blues rock trk b5 is instrumental `sax` led jazz rock [med tempo]

let down trk`s being : a4 [environmental sounds with flute meandering] : a5 [middle of the road blues rock] : b4 [a bit `long john baldry` cabaret styled] if the quality of recording was `proffessional` the better trk`s would become very solid indeed.

Report this review (#381087)
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Happy New Year, folks! I have a bunch of artists to listen to and write about, but first I just recycle this one that originally appeared in the Finnish Colossus #45 magazine as a part of my article on recent Esoteric Recordings' releases. It's not often that I can sincerely rate an album with one star only!

This album is such a strange case, but hardly that kind of experimental work which anyone would think to be a mind-blowing listening experience. Flutist-saxophonist Bob Downes was in the sixties a free-minded musician jumping over any musical fences, wandering amidst jazz, avant-garde and pop. In the year 1970 he released THREE albums - and each on a different label. Deep Down Heavy was made quite spontaneously in a short time, and it sure sounds like it. The main elements are bamboo flute, traffic noises and a gritty blues-rock backing, plus awfully bad singing with lyrics by the poet-collabotaror Robert Cockburn.

No, this is not a unique, "challenging" work of art demanding the listener's patience to reveal its genius. It is, quite simply, an artistically poor thing done in a careless manner, and not any amount of brave personality can hide that fact. On the opposite, this album is after all so sincere, literally "on the street level", that it doesn't even attempt to impress as emperor's new clothes (except for the interesting, psychedelic cover art perhaps - which frankly gives very false expectations). One sympathy point deserved.

Report this review (#1104755)
Posted Wednesday, January 1, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars A rough 'n' ready excursion into the murkier realms of British psychedelia, this underrated little gem seems to get a rough deal these days, mainly thanks to it's rushed, low-budget production and the gritty, almost Altman-esq sound quality(just check out the reviews on this very site!). Issued in 1970 on the EMI-backed Music For Pleasure imprint, 'Deep Down Heavy' was one of three albums issued during 1970 by jazz-flautist Bob Downes, the others being 'Open Music' and the high-brow sounding 'Bob Downes New Sounds For Flute, Percussion & Synthesizers'. Of the three, this curious psych-jazz relic is perhaps the strongest, with Downes showing off his impressive flute and saxophone skills over a series of deeply-psychedelic, blues-tinged jams. Also involved is poet buddy Robert Cockburn, who adds some very gritty vocals, and rising young guitarist Chris Spedding, who seemed to be everywhere during this time, fresh from stints with both Nucleus and Pete Brown's Battered Ornaments to name but a couple. To put it bluntly, 'Deep Down Heavy' is a product of it's time, very much a lost relic from a bygone age. But that's exactly what makes it so fascinating. From the rough opening blasts of the hard-rockin' 'Too Late', to the hazy bad-trip psychedelia of the hypnotic closer 'Circus Rising', this is an album that cooks with a raw, fuzzy, late night power perfectly summed up by the album's title. It's an ambience that is maintained throughout, with surreal background noises and strange instrumental interludes adding to the already highly mystical feel, but this is very much Downes baby and it is he who dominates, pulling off some scintiallating solo's on both flute and saxophone. The mixture of deeply-trippy cosmic jamming, edgy blues riffs and druggy jazz breaks exists to serve his improvised displays, and to a lesser extent vice-versa, the lo-fi sound quality only heightening the whole late-sixties vibe. This is certainly for those with a penchant for obscure psych relics, and this writer is confident that if you take a chance on 'Deep Down Heavy' you won't be disappointed. A real curio from the heart of the sixties, it doesn't really get any more underground than this. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2014

Report this review (#1159637)
Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | Review Permalink

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