24 August 2007

Dantalian's Chariot - 1967 - Chariot Rising

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

Here we have another band that scored a major single on the Nuggets box (with "Madman Running Through The Fields") but never produced a proper album back in the day. Unlike The Third Bardo, however, the extra recordings stand up to the single and this collection in fact makes for an almost-classic ad hoc album.

It might have helped that Dantalian's Chariot had a relatively impressive pedegree. The bulk of the band were holdovers from the R&B rockin' Zoot Money Big Roll Band. Finding themselves hopelessly out of date come 1967, they refitted their sound to psychedelic pop. Also joining the ranks was future Police guitarist Andy Summers, although I wouldn't come here looking for anything even slightly resembling that bands signature sound.

Each of the ten tracks present here has something groovy to offer, even if they don't all necessarily equal the classic "Madman." It is definitely an above-average collection of British psych-pop. "World War Three" trails "Madman" with some wild and freaking acid guitar and organ parts, while "Sun Bursting Through My Cloud" is a well written ballad that might have made for a great second single. "Coffee Song" is another contender for that distinction. Meanwhile "Flying Bird" is just waiting to track a 60's documentary for shot of freaky hippies frolicking in the park.

There are a few instrumental tracks here that take the band in a slightly different direction, and I feel shows them at their best. These guys had some impressive chops to show. "This Island" is an evocative, sitar-laden piece that almost sounds like something Martin Denny would have done, although first dragged through a thick cloud of an opium den. Also featuring sitar is the six-minute long "Soma," which glides nicely though several different moods and makes me think of a really chilled out early Floyd instrumental.

This album arrived about 30 years late and is already lost to the winds. For those of you that are curious about this bands further exploits, Chariot Rising should be nicely satisfying.

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Unknown said...

great albums!
thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you know this, or ... maybe you don't.

When Zoot broke up the popular Big Roll Band in late 1966 he recorded an albums worth of material using Andy Summers and Colin Allen from the BRB, but it wasn't released at the time because these three then formed Dantalians Chariot which was going in a more psychedelic direction. They recorded a number of tracks for an intended album, and released the amazing "Madman Running through the fields" single. Unfortunately the band broke up before the album could be finished. The record company wanted "product" so in early 1968 they released the album from late '66 under the title "Transition". In the sleeve notes it's claimed that it marks a transition from Dantaleons Chariot to some new direction, whereas in reality it was the transition from the BRB to Dantanleons Chariot.

When Zoot was asked in the 1990s to dust off the DC recordings for a CD release there wasn't enough material so he used three tracks from the Transition album; Coffee Song, Recapture The Thrill and Soma but with new mixes. If you listen to these tracks you can hear that they come from an earlier period. Record production was changing every year in the 60s and material from '66 sounds different to stuff from '67.

I've got this CD and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes British Psych from the Summer Of Love.

Anthony Harland

Dr. Schluss said...

Can't say I knew any of that. Thanks for the info, Anthony. I'd dig hearing the "Transition" stuff.

Anonymous said...

and look for Zoot's solo album WELCOME TO MY HEAD [1968] it's some kinda psych pop classic, with arrangements by Vic Briggs who since became a serious Indian music singer. Zoot's rough and tumble boozy voice is one of my favest, and some of those songs are classics, like THE MAN WHO RIDES THE WIND, which Zoot said [in an email] was partly inspired by Jimi... then seen but once on ebay was yet another strange solo album or comp. with a puppet Zoot on a big Zoot's lap [is all i recall] Zoot!!!

Anonymous said...


soulphate said...

'sun bursting' was actually the b-side on the 7 inch of 'madman' if I remember correctly. Will have to dig it out to check.

Óscar SP said...

WW3 is stunning!

thank you!