Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

RAM
Where (In Conclusion)


Released 1972 on Polydor
Reviewed by gogmagog, 21/02/2007ce


Just recently I've been digging out a few early 70's obscure LP's that I was finding difficult to define genrically. Settling for the 'rock with progressive tendencies' get out clause I was simply overwhelmed by the amount of great quality obscure LP's out there that deserved more than just that simple vinyl obscurity. It was only reading Seth Man's account of The Pretty Thing's de wolfe Electric Banana material that I alighted on a phrase that seemed to perfectly describe some of these acts: 'robust Rock refracted through a hardened psychedelic lens'
the Pretty things Harvest material for sure, Captain Beyond's first LP, Mad River's unbelievable west-coast freak out classic on Columbia (just buy it!!), Andromeda, even early Golden Earring, but top of the pile must be this obscure American late-psych monolith I found in my old employers (Hairy's of Liverpool) on American polydor: RAM's WHERE (IN CONCLUSION) of 1972.

Frustratingly little seems to be known about this 5 piece act, but their only LP is an absolute stormer taking in hard-prog, space-rock, even Chicago-esque brass moments, and flowery flute driven pastoral psych, all topped off with a thunderous bass solo of Jannick Top-ian proportions.
Why this Lp was not huge news at the time beats me. Recently, it has been re-issued on Akarma, with no extra material. The band comprises John and Ralph de Martino on brass, woodwinds and guitar, vocals repsectively, and Dennis Carbone on piano, vocal, and Michael Rodriguez on bass, vocal.

4 tracks cover the first side starting with "The Want in You" - a raucous start to the LP with great organ driven long-hair fuzz rock to the fore. "Stoned Silence" follows sounding like one of Golden Earring's quiter moments while "Odyssey" is a beautifully arranged flute-driven pastoral mini-symphony which wouldn't sound out of place on the Swedish Silence Label and displays the versatility of this band. "The Mothers Day Song" finishes the side in great form, another rocker of sorts. But its Side Two that really drives this LP home - the 21 minute suite that is "Aza"

Starting off with "Spiral Paths", the vibe is very Floyd-like, the band's stoned intonation of the opening line 'Whats Stars Calling Me' layered over spacious guitar strokes. An organ creeps in, and you just know your in for one of those great full-siders that only the early 70s did so well. The mood continues until BANG!! - the bass of "Bound" crashes in like the apocalpyse of St John and all hell breaks loose. Keeping the pace on the bass for nearly as long as Bernard Paganotti does on 'KohnTark part Two' from Magma's 1975 Live double, the track then erupts into a full blitz-out until before you know it another ten minutes has past and the refrain of 'Spiral Paths' enters - the same spacey intro brings us full circle.

This truly is a deserved obscure classic, and it seems that the LP is now gaining ground in collector's circles - I'm glad I snaffled my original copy for a tenner about a year back. But what is most surprising is that there seems no more material (at least to my knowledge) from this band. In the fertile early seventies, you would have thought a label like Polydor could have given the band a little more attention. Maybe they split, but one thing is for sure, its a shame that this band did no more material, and this is a criminally under-acknowledged LP that is well worth seeking out.

Anybody have any more info on this band? What the members got up to later?


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