East of Eden (band)
|East of Eden|
|Years active||1967–1978, 1996|
East of Eden was a British progressive rock band, who had a Top 10 hit in the UK with the single, "Jig-a-Jig", in 1971. The track became something of a stylistic albatross around the band's neck, since it did not resemble their usual sound or anything else they normally played. Although some might consider this group as being a symphonic progressive band, others state that their style is mostly jazz oriented. Combining flutes, violins and tape loops to folk, gypsy and psychedelic music, the East of Eden style was always heavily supported on a pure rock base; strong and experimental.
Their professional career began back in 1967 when they were formed in Bristol as Pictures of Dorian Gray, by Dave Arbus (born David Arbus, 8 October 1941, Leicester) (violin, flute, saxophone, trumpet), Ron Caines (born Ronald Caines, 13 December 1939, Bristol) (alto saxophone), Geoff Nicholson (born Geoffrey Nicholson, 27 June 1948, near Bristol, Somerset) (guitar, vocals), Mike Price bass, and Stuart Rossister drums. Price left in Spring 1968 and was replaced by Terry Brace (born Terrence Brace, 28 September 1943, in Bristol, Somerset). Vocalist Al Read (born Alan G Read, 26 March 1942, Chelsea, London) at the same time. In September 1968 Brace left and was replaced by Steve York (b. 24 April 1948, London) and Rossister also left and was replaced in September 1968 by Dave Dufort (born David Dufort, in 1947, in London). In 1968 they moved to London, and the group was signed to a recording contract with Decca's progressive rock imprint Deram label. In February 1969 Dufort left and in came Bryan Appleyard, who was replaced in June 1969 by Geoff Britton (born Geoffrey Britton, 1 August 1943, Lewisham, South East London) (drums), who later joined Wings. York also left in June 1969 and in came bassist Andy Sneddon (born Andrew Sneddon, 8 May 1946, Ayrshire, Scotland).
In 1969 they released the Mercator Projected album, followed shortly after by Snafu (1970), and Jig-a-Jig, a European only compilation, released in 1971. Snafu made it into the Top 30 in Britain of the UK Albums Chart, whilst a single, "Ramadhan," got to number two in France. Caines and Nicholson left the band as the 1970s began, and Arbus kept it together. They jumped to the Harvest label, but their work there never caught on, coinciding as it did with a change in style and a veering away from Eastern music to a country-ish sound. Arbus left in the early 1970s and was replaced by future Rory Gallagher collaborator Joe O'Donnell. The band carried on as almost exclusively a European act, recording and releasing albums in Europe only.
In May 1970 original guitarist Nicholson left. Later that year, they were joined by Davey 'Crabsticks' Trotter on the Mellotron, adding a new dimension to their trademark sound. The band broke up in 1978 having undergone various changes in membership. Important members in late line-ups included vocalist Al Read; bassist Terence 'Terry' Brace; bassist Andy Sneddon; bassist/vocalist David 'Davy' Jack (born 24 January 1940, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland), drummer Jeff Allen (born Jeffrey Allen, 23 April 1946, Matlock, Derbyshire) (from June 1970); keyboardist Martin Fisher (born in 1947, in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey); and violinist Joe O'Donnell (born Joseph O'Donnell, 26 December 1948, in Limerick, County Limerick, Ireland) (from March 1973); Alan 'Al' Perkes (born 26 May 1949, in Bow, East London); guitarist Garth Watt-Roy (born Garth Philip Watt-Roy, December 1947, in Bombay, India) (from February 1972).
The three core members (Arbus, Caines and Nicholson), reunited in 1996 and their album Kalipse was released next year. Like most of their earlier work, it was only a cult hit.
- Mercator Projected (1969, Deram)
- Snafu (1970, Deram)
- Jig-A-Jig (1971, Deram, European only compilation)
- East Of Eden (1971, Harvest)
- New Leaf (1971, Harvest)
- Another Eden (1975, European only release)
- Here We Go Again (1976, EMI, European only release)
- It's The Climate (1976, EMI, European only release)
- Silver Park (1978, EMI, European only release)
- Kalipse (1997, Transatlantic)
- Armadillo (2001, Blueprint) (Voiceprint)
- Graffito (2005, Eclectic)