Rare Bird

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Rare Bird
Origin England
Genres Progressive rock
Years active 1969 - 1975
Labels Charisma, Polydor
Past members Steve Gould
David Kaffinetti
Graham Field
Mark Ashton
Chris Randall
Fred Kelly
Andy "Ced" Curtis
Paul Holland
Paul Karas
Nic Potter
Andy Rae

Rare Bird were an English progressive rock band, formed in 1969. They had more success in other European countries. They released five studio albums between 1969 and 1974. In the UK, they never charted with an album but charted with one single, the organ-based track "Sympathy", which peaked at number 27. It sold one million copies globally.[1]

History[edit]

The band's initial line-up was as below, although there would be changes by the time they came to work on their third album. The first two members listed were a constant throughout the lifetime of the band.

The history of Rare Bird began when Graham Field placed an advertisement for a pianist in a musical periodical. He got thirty replies and formed a group called "Lunch". He met Dave Kaffinetti in November 1968, and together they formulated the basic ideas for Rare Bird. In August 1969, they finally found the ideal rhythm section in Steve Gould, Chris Randall and Mark Ashton. Field and Kaffinetti had originally envisaged that the band would be a four-piece and were looking for a singer/bass player. Steve and Chris, who had both previously been members of the Pop-Psych band "Fruit Machine", applied to the ad as vocals/guitar and bass respectively and were taken on. Lunch played a few gigs, one notable one was at the Tilbury Working Mens Club for the princely sum of five pounds. The band had no van and they managed to get amps, drums, guitars and Hammond organ into their cars. The gig was marred by Chris receiving a bad electric shock whilst on stage. It later turned out that the founders of the band were more interested in Steve and convinced him to play bass. Chris was now high and dry and was kicked out of the band. Two weeks later, they had signed management and agency contracts, and three weeks later, were in the studio recording their debut album. Before joining Lunch, Randall and Gould had previously written a song called "To the Memory of Two Brave Dogs". Rare Bird included this song in their debut album renaming it "Iceberg" but Randall received no credit on the L.P. Along with Van der Graaf Generator and The Nice, they were one of the very first bands that signed to Charisma Records, the record label that Tony Stratton-Smith had founded.[2]

Their late 1969 release "Sympathy" reached No. 1 in Italy and in France, sold 500,000 copies in France and over one million globally.[1] It became their only UK hit single, reaching No. 27 and staying on the chart for 8 weeks. A 1970 cover version of the track by The Family Dogg reached number two in the Netherlands. The song returned to the UK chart in 1992 when a version by Marillion reached No. 17.[3] In 2001, the track was sampled by Faithless in their song "Not Enuff Love", named after a chorus line in "Sympathy". The first album released in 1969 was called "Rare Bird".

In early 1971, Graham Field left Rare Bird to form a short-lived solo project, The Fields.

Later members included Fred Kelly (Nic Potter), Ced Curtis, Paul Holland, and Paul Karas on the Epic Forest album with Andy Curtis and Fred Kelly appearing on the album Somebody's Watching. The band finally split up in 1975.

Dave Kaffinetti (credited as David Kaff) played the part of Viv Savage in This Is Spinal Tap (1984).

Chris Randall went on to play with Martin Murray and The Honeycombs, the group of the mid 1960s with their worldwide hits, "Have I the Right", "Love In Tokyo" and "Thats the Way!".

Paul Holland had previously been a recording engineer at Southern Music's studio in Denmark Street, London during the time that Fruit Machine recorded songs for release on the Spark Label under the direction of Barry Kingston. He died of cancer in 2010.

The song "Beautiful Scarlet" from their first album was sampled in the 2004 song "Summer's Gonna Hurt You" by electronic music producer/DJ Diplo.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Rare Bird (UK: Charisma, U.S.: Command/Probe, 1969) U.S. # 115 (13 w)[edit]

All compositions by Rare Bird.

Side 1
  1. "Iceberg" - 6:46
  2. "Times"- 4:00
  3. "You Went Away" - 4:17
  4. "Melanie" - 3:27
Side 2
  1. "Beautiful Scarlet" - 5:23
  2. "Sympathy" - 2:30
  3. "Natures Fruit" - 2:32
  4. "Bird On A Wing" - 4:13
  5.  "God Of War" - 5:08
Personnel
  • Graham Field - organ
  • David Kaffinetti - electric piano
  • Steve Gould - bass guitar, lead vocals
  • Mark Ashton - drums, tympani, backing vocals


As Your Mind Flies By (UK: Charisma, U.S.: ABC, 1970)[edit]

All compositions by Rare Bird.

Side 1
  1.  "What You Want To Know" - 5:54
  2.  "Down On The Floor" - 2:35
  3.  "Hammerhead" - 3:29
  4.  "I'm Thinking" - 5:35
Side 2
  1.  "Flight"
    •  "Part 1: As Your Mind Flies By" - 9:48
    •  "Part 2: Vacuum" - 3:16
    •  "Part 3: New Yorker" - 6:33
    •  "Part 4: Central Park"
Personnel
  • Graham Field - organ, assorted keyboards
  • David Kaffinetti - electric piano, assorted keyboards
  • Steve Gould - bass guitar, lead vocals
  • Mark Ashton - drums, tympani, backing vocals


Epic Forest (Polydor, 1972) U.S. # 194 (2 w)[edit]

Side One
  1. "Baby Listen" - 3:20
    • Ced Curtis - lead guitar
    • Steve Gould - rhythm guitar, co-lead vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
  2. "Hey Man" - 5:47
    • Ced Curtis - lead electric guitar
    • Steve Gould - rhythm electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano, Hammond and Farfisa organs
    • Paul Karas - bass, backing vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
  3. "House In The City" - 4:20
    • Steve Gould - co-lead vocals
    • Ced Curtis - guitars
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
  4. "Epic Forest" - 9:08
    • Ced Curtis - electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals
    • Steve Gould - electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano, Hammond and Farfisa organs
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead and backing vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
Side Two
  1. "Turning The Lights Out" - 4:33
    • Ced Curtis - lead guitar, percussion
    • Steve Gould - rhythm guitar, co-lead vocals, percussion
    • Dave Kaffinetti - Farfisa organ, percussion
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead vocals, percussion
    • Fred Kelly - drums, percussion
    • Nic Potter - percussion
    • Paul Korda - percussion
    • Ashley Howe - percussion
  2. "Her Darkest Hour" - 3:30
    • Ced Curtis - acoustic guitar
    • Steve Gould - acoustic guitar, vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - piano
    • Paul Karas - bass
    • Fred Kelly - drums
  3. "Fears Of The Night" - 3:14
    • Ced Curtis - acoustic guitar
    • Steve Gould - acoustic guitar, lead and backing vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - piano
    • Paul Karas - bass
  4. "Turn It All Around" - 4:38
    • Ced Curtis - lead guitar
    • Steve Gould - rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - Farfisa organ
    • Paul Karas - bass, backing vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
    • Paul Holland - percussion
  5. "Title No. 1 Again (Birdman)" - 6:01
    • Ced Curtis - lead guitar, percussion
    • Steve Gould - rhythm guitar, co-lead vocals, percussion
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano, Farfisa organ, percussion
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead vocals, beads
    • Fred Kelly - drums, congas, percussion
    • Paul Holland - percussion
    • Chris Kelly - percussion

Somebody's Watching (Polydor, 1973)[edit]

Born Again (Polydor, 1974)[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Sympathy" b/w "Devils High Concern" (UK No. 27, 14 February 1970)/US No. 121, 11 March 1970 / F # 3)[4]
  • "Roadside Welcome"/"Four Grey Walls" b/w "You're Lost" Uncharted UK Polydor 2814 011 (1972)
  • "Birdman -Part One" (Title No. 1 Again) US No. 122, 1 September 1973)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Attention! Rare Bird (1972 Fontana cat. # 9299 008)
  • Rare Bird (Polydor cat. # 2384 078, a budget re-release, compiling tracks from their three albums on Polydor; released in the Polydor Special series in 1977)
  • Sympathy (Blue Plate, (1976))
  • Third Time Around: An Introduction to Rare Bird (Universal, 2003)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 284. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ Christopulos, J., and Smart, P.: "Van der Graaf Generator - The Book", page 60. Phil and Jim publishers, 2005. ISBN 0-9551337-0-X
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 1-904994-10-5
  4. ^ "ChartArchive - Rare Bird". Archive.is. 29 July 2012. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 

External links[edit]