‘Legend of a Mind’ is a collection of songs from bands
between the years of 1968 and 1974 from the off-shoot record label of Decca
Records, neatly called Deram. Deram Records was actually set up in 1966 by the
suits at Decca, who had already made the cringe-worthy mistake of turning down
the Beatles. They realized then that the young folk of the day did not only
want to buy Englebert Humperdink records, but needed something with a bit of
street cred that they just plain did not understand.
This was a lucky break for them. In the summer of 1967 the
Beatles turned the rock world on its head with the release of ‘Sergeant
Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band’, allowing all serious minded musicians to
break out of the 4/4 structures of 3-minute songs. There were literally
hundreds of bands out there wanting to sign up to a record company to get their
sound out to an eager public; some with 2ฝ -minute songs of cleverness,
others with 20-minute epics. Deram was keen to sign them all - the good and the
bad - (How would they have known the difference?) and here, spread over three
77-minute discs, is a selection of arguably the best.
Some bands on this collection went on to be household names,
like Thin Lizzy, The Moody Blues, and Camel; some miraculously are still going
on today in one form or another like Caravan, Savoy Brown, and Ten Years After;
and some went on to become bigger and better things, namely Giles, Giles &
Fripp of course became King Crimson, who went on to be both household names and
are still going strong today. After a fine career Trapeze gave us Mel Galley
for Whitesnake; Dave Holland for Judas Priest; and Glen Hughes for Deep Purple,
ensuring gainful employment for the trio years after they bit the dust. Other
bands like Black Cat Bones, Leafhound, and Egg gained legendary status years
after they had disbanded.
Some bands were plainly a little too ordinary or too way out
to make it. East Of Eden had a massive hit single with ‘Jig-a-Jig’, which
is included here, but their other material never quite lived up to their early
hit, although after the band’s demise violinist Dave Arbus turned up on the
Who’s Baba’ O’Reiley playing the fiddle solo that brings the song to a
Others, alas, only lasted one album, but that is where you
come across some unexpected delights. If you like heavy metal guitar riffing to
bang your head to, then look no further than the eight minutes of T2’s ‘No
More White Horses’.
How Aardvark missed the boat to rock superstardom will
always be a mystery. I mean they even had the perfect name. When you walked
down your local record store racks Aardvark’s album must have been the first
album you came across, they would have even been in front of Abba. The
marvellously monickered ‘Once Upon A Hill/Put That In Your Pipe And Smoke
It’ is Aardvark’s tour de force over ten minutes of keyboard mayhem that
only Keith Emerson or Jon Lord could have equalled.
The reason that Clark-Hutchinson did not last long is
evident in their sole contribution song title here.
It’s quite fun just to read the names of the bands with
the title of the song(s) they play and then to imagine the sound and see if you
The set comes in a psychedelic cardboard box with each CD in
a full colour replica of one of the albums from Deram. The 48-page booklet
includes essays from the people at Deram, plus a full page devoted to each band
and some very embarrassing photos from the era (stand up ‘Mellow Candle’).
At fourteen pounds and fifty pence, the price of a normal single CD, this box
set is a real bargain. Whatever your taste you just have to like something.