Deep Dive: Graham Bond, SOLID BOND
Today we celebrate the birthday of the late, great Graham Bond, one of the founding figures of the British R&B movement of the 1960s and the man behind the aptly-named Graham Bond Organisation. To commemorate this important date, we thought we’d take a deep dive into his 1970 solo LP, GRAHAM BOND, which was his third album under his own name but proved to be his only effort for Warner Brothers.
Produced predominantly by Jon Hiseman at Olympic Studios (with the exceptions being “Ho Ho Country Kicking Blues,” “The Grass is Greener,” and “Doxy,” all of which were recorded live at Klooks Kleek), SOLID BOND made a point of mentioning all of its players on the front cover: Bond, Hiseman, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Dick Heckstall-Smith, and John McLaughlin. The album’s contents weren’t exactly freshly minted when it was released: the aforementioned live material was recorded in 1963, and the other tunes were done in sessions during 1966. Why the multi-year wait for its release? Blame it on business: Bond recorded the material for Polydor Records, but when the executive who greenlit the album was replaced, the new guy wasn’t nearly as hot on Bond’s music, and into the vault they went.
In his liner notes for the reissue of the album, journalist Richie Unterberger detailed how SOLID BOND came together when those 1966 studio recordings as well as the 1963 live recordings ended up being sold to Warner Brothers for a whopping £5,000. "Considering they were recorded in six hours the tapes must have been raw," Hiseman told Unterberger. "But I 'produced' the sound in that I spoke to Eddie Kramer about how I wanted it to sound—very upfront—and he agreed.”
While the three live tracks definitely feel like they’ve just arrived from another album, as one would expect from material recorded not only three years earlier but also in a concert setting, SOLID BOND still proves to be a solid listen, offering considerable insight into why Bond was a musical legend. Alas, his life came to an abrupt end far sooner than he should have (by his own choosing ), this should give you some idea why he was such a well-respected man about London town.
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