Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5
Despite what the name would suggest, this is actually the third album from the Oblivion Express. The actual second album didn't really catch my attention, but I've been grooving to this disc. The band has a new vocalist/guitarist in tow on this one. The jazz fusion and Cambridge psychedelic/prog flourishes are still in effect, but this album makes a few moves towards the Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath sort of 70's rock zeitgeist as well. This results in a notable drop on the Trip-O-Meter from the first album, but the group keeps their chops strong.
"Truth" and "Second Wind" are the rockingest tunes to be found here. There are some fine guitar leads from what must be a Les Paul cutting through the British funk, and Auger takes the license to ramble all over his organ since he doesn't have to sing anymore. In between are plenty of lite-jazz grooves which keep making me think of when Spinal Tap is forced to unleash their jazz odyssey. Fortunately, Auger's doods can play a lot better than the Tap and keep the tunes floating above the wanna-be-posh, sleazy nightclub atmosphere. Think red satin stained with a few cigarette burns. I think it might sound a little like the early Jeff Beck Group, but I've honestly not listened to enough of that to be sure.
Not quite the standout of the first album, "Second Wind" is a fine specimen of its time and place. This is the kind of group that seems to have had the record-tour-record routine down. You've got some prime strains of jazz rock and a touch of the heavier stuff being played by pros. It doesn't really have the psychedelic spark that really sets me off, but when you're on the third album of early 70's British groovesters 'Brian Auger's Oblivion Express,' you probably don't expect that coming in anyway.