Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Charles Tyler
Eastern Man Alone


Released 1967 on ESP-Disk
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 17/03/2001ce


I don't know that much about Charles Tyler's background but I do know that I dig his music immensely, and "Eastern Man Alone" is one cool freak jazz album. Charles cut another album for ESP-Disk in 1966 simply called "The Charles Tyler Ensemble" and it's pretty way-out featuring some serious elephant honks ( just the way I like it), also some whacked out cello playing and ultra psychedelic percussion, I would recommend that you seek it out.
This brings us to Tyler's second ESP-Disk album "Eastern Man Alone" recorded in 1967, this record should have been called "The Psychedelic Sounds Of Charles Tyler" because that's just what it is, high energy trip music that will space you right out like it does for me and I haven't used drugs in over 20 years!!
The lineup is Charles Tyler-alto sax, David Baker-cello, Brent McKesson-bass and Kent Brinkley-bass, you might be thinking 2 bass players, a cello and sax how can that possibly work?, but work it does and then some. Side One opens with the brilliant "Cha-Lacy's Out East" which revisits a theme from his first ESP album, this selection has a wonderful hook that is positively addictive, you will find yourself humming it for days after hearing it, the main theme melts down during the mid-section where you have 2 bass players battling each other while David Baker hacks away at his cello like the bastard son of Alan Silva!!, the song the reverts back to the main theme, by now your head is spinning.
The next track is "Man Alone" this one has a strong Albert Ayler influence and it appears Tyler's sax has been double-tracked so it sounds like 2 players are blowing at the same time, this piece is quite spacey and recalls the mood of Tyler's '66 album, it's highlighted again by Baker's wonderful cello work which has the same feel as Rick Grech's style of violin playing from the first Family album.
Side Two begins with "Le-Roi" which was written by Dave Baker and is probably a tribute to Le-Roi Jones. This one also carries a heavy Ayler influence, it starts like a funeral dirge similar in style to John Coltrane's "Alabama" then the group take flight, Baker's cello has a real eastern flavor and he does some serious freaking out all thru the track, Tyler begins to duel him at one point, the fact that the group has no drummer is actually a plus as it gives the music a real chance to breathe, during the song's mid section Tyler drops out and it's just Baker and one of the bass players who just blasts away at one chord, Baker plays like John Weider's intro on the Animals version of "Paint It Black", the song then returns to the original theme and fades at 12:52.
The record closes with "Eastern" a kind of mid-tempo "come-down" piece, by this time the group is spent and they're just kind of tripping out into space. Each group member is just playing whatever he feels like giving the record's finish the same feel as the "Feedback" section on The Grateful Dead's "Live-Dead" all in all a very satisfying trip can be found in these grooves of this record, and you even get a super cool bright orange psychedelic sleeve. Get this record by all means, "Cha-Lacy's Out East" is worth the price of admission alone.


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