Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Sir Lord Baltimore

Released 1971 on Mercury
Reviewed by Annexus Quam, 17/05/2000ce

On opening the parcel I find stars all over the place…wow! This promises much. A Cosmic Jokers design and four guys who look like Gila’s members. This is the one! The opening sounds announce this is going to be loud and noisy… when suddenly, a truly beautiful melody reminiscent of early Jefferson Airplane floats into the scene, creating a very soulful atmosphere, with voices proclaiming Hidden Things. My favourite “kraut” instrument, a flute, appears for a few seconds. Even a kind of Ash Ra Tempel guitar pops in very briefly…is this prophetic or pathetic? There is even a sax later on in the next track. This record is full of nuances behind its hard edge and therefore requires repeated listenings though I am only commenting after my first one. Beware, this IS conventional hard rock, though with a difference –incredibly Raw, Cryptic and Intense, thus gaining my appreciation. The first impressions are this is a very powerful record, with Amon Duul II guitars and incredible voices, choruses blurting out simple things like “People they do Bad Things” or “Often they pull the Wrong Strings”. A chorus enters and I feel delirious. Tickles all my 36,274,559 skin cells. The opening track is in fact 5 short ones and in conventional rock circles, this would have been the finishing long part of the album. It is a very short to-the-point record (the usual duration in the late 60s, a little over 30 minutes) and never wallows in long prog meanderings although the intensity is very Kraut, and leaves you shaking and wondering, wanting to play it over and over again. Do I hear Television guitars here? Little Johnny Jewel dates from 75 and this record from ?! (no info on what I am listening to, which is NICE). But NO! The sucker turns into a huge Intense metal piece and surpasses anything by Television. Slowly and sadly the 11-minute piece fades away…giving way to the other track on side-A (Where Are We Going) with fake (?) crowds cheering in and out, and which bursts in with the same ferocity Iggy displays in Raw Power. Incredible. I thought he was Unique. Blue Cheer pales in comparison, Black Sabbath sound ridiculous, Alice Cooper is easy-listening pop. Oh yes, and Iron Butterfly are flowery-scented candles. The B-side is pure hard rock of the Kraut variety. Virus come to mind, but even they sound too tame and too Cream and the traditional hard rock structures of the four songs do not disappoint, especially when the singer sheds his tongue, larynx and soul on to the stage…cos this is a stage or am I hearing the rawest rock in history? Perhaps the MC5 are the best comparison for Sir Lord Blastimore. This guy is freaking me out again, is he singing or is he shouting secrets as if he had only 2 minutes left to live? Totally ridiculous prog keyboards open Chicago Lives. I love artists that SERIOUSLY take the piss by using stupid instruments and confusing the Serious Breed with their Big Game while at the same time being righteous and incredibly Beautiful and Meaningful. But any notions of believing their “serious” intentions are dispelled for good with the best guitar work I have heard since the Stooges. The singer is entirely berserk, wailing and erupting like an ass-free volcano. Excellent. My due respects, man. Then again, the last track, Caesar LXXI begins quietly with Kraut drums and Eastern gong before the song is quickly driven into metal terrain again, dark prophetic intense voice and even the ridiculous Hail Caesar heavy metal chorus sounding good. Gun-like noise and heavy riffing guitar finish the album in the same way it started. When and where can I listen to this record? Opposed to listening indoors because it makes my ear constrained into a box-like feeling, I will certainly “use” this one Out There as it possesses a free spirit. This means the visions are yet to come.

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