Wounded Bird Rec.The Rainbow Band (US,1971,re.2008)***°
Having followed all the acoustic reissues from the last 20 years or so it takes longer before unknown albums see the light of day that haven’t been reissued yet. The Rainbow Band is such a forgotten band worth rediscovery.
The first track isn’t the best access for it. Psychedelic acoustic bands from those days had various ways to come to a mind-expanding experience. Hare Krishna devotional chant is not particularly my favourite intro to hear, but it was good as any excuse for some bands from those days of how to become psychedelic. This first song repeats the “rama rama” theme in group with mind blank naivety and at least some song inspiration, tablas, piano, tempura, acoustic guitar which repeat the rhythmic hypnosis with a hippie minded psychedelic devotion, before the guitar in a strummed raga fashion develops the theme in an energetic way with one more return of the group marching row singers. After this tuning in, the right atmosphere has been made. “Lotus” has a stoned rhythm and beautiful male / female harmony vocals in the song, with melancholic pickings with rhythmic and sound accents on drums, percussion, congas and electric guitar. The track calms down to a total free open space with pickings and sweet flute improvisation, for a last part to a “I am who I am” mushroom-effect of a last devotional song part. “Sweater song”, led by the female singer is accompanied by acoustic guitar and electric jazz guitar, is another sweet hippie song. “Simple Song” is an improvisation with all the hippies singing and with lots of percussion including hand claps and glockenspiel, piano, a somewhat naïve song with high tones in the female voice reminding me a bit of Incredible String Band during their performances on “U”. “Midnite Song” is more electric (with slide effects) and with more drums, rocking a bit with an American country-rock flavour. “Song Of The Navajo” is a songwriter song, a lament with acoustic guitar. The last track, “Now Is The time” with tampura drones is an improvisation with Indian styled associations on the guitar unfolding like a raga as the instrumental foundation, with a dual vocal sad song on top. The song increases in rhythm towards a psychedelic raga orgasm, unfolding its speeding up rhythm with electrified raga guitar, drums and some bass. A very nice psychedelic conclusion.
Rainbow Band is Mahesh & Pavarthu assisted by Muruga Booker, Nithyan Gefron, Scotty Avedisian, Phil Catanzaro, Ragunath Mancini, Trevor Young, Gary Olerich, Darius Brubeck, Colin Walcott (from the band Oregon ; Colin Walcott appeared on a few more hippie/songwriter records from the time besides his appearance on jazz records), Nirmala, Sharron Simon, Lalitha, Janiki Tenney, Priscilla, Victoria, Felix, Anandi and Shiva.