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Escalator (+7" single)
SAM GOPAL
Cat. No. : SECBT501201
Sam Gopal took up the tabla in Malaysia at the age of 7, before coming to study music in Britain in 1962. By the mid 1960’s, Indian music was exerting a huge influence on Western rock, most notably on the Beatles (with Indian influences all over ’Revolver’ and ’Sergeant Pepper’), but also on the Rolling Stones (exemplified by Brian Jones playing sitar on ’Paint It, Black’) and the Moody Blues, for whom Justin Hayward played tabla and sitar on the ’In Search Of The Lost Chord’ album.
Sam being joined by Roger D’Elia on guitar, Phil Duke on bass and most famously, ex Jimi Hendrix roadie Ian ’Lemmy’ Willis on vocals and guitar. Signed to the short–lived Stable label, songs for an album were quickly written, most of them by Lemmy, and the album was released in March 1969, beautifully packaged in a gatefold sleeve.
Something of a classic of psychedelic acid rock, complete with fuzzed guitars, but rooted by its Eastern percussion, the album included one cover, a rocked up version of Donovan’s ’Season Of The Witch’, whilst a projected single release included a version of Willie Dixon’s ’Back Door Man’, which managed to be even heavier than the interpretation by the Doors on their first album, released two years earlier. ’You’re Alone Now’, one of the Lemmy–written songs on the album, became quietly influential, acting not only as a forerunner of Hawkwind’s seminal ’The Watcher’, but having an intro that brings to mind Black Sabbath’s 1970 smash ’Paranoid’. The album ends with undoubtedly the gentlest song of Lemmy’s career, the rather lovely ’Yesterlove’, which has Lemmy’s vocal floating gently over a backing of tabla and acoustic guitar. Sadly, despite apparently having all the ingredients in place for success, this incarnation of ’Sam Gopal’ proved to be no longer–lived than ’Sam Gopal’s Dream’, and broke up not long after the release of this album.
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