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Pops Classic Vinyl Review: Captain Beyond

We've shared previously that we’re a family operation. So for those of you that have any experience with this you'll know only too well that it's all hands on deck. That said we figured we'd roll out the big guns by recruiting the auld fella (A.K.A. Pops) and his rabble of co-conspirators to delve into their vast collections of vinyl and pull together a few reviews on interesting albums they felt were worthy. FYI, Pops has been know to drop the F-bomb on occasion, so consider yourself warned.


Rod Evans – lead vocals, Bobby Caldwell – drums, Rhino – lead guitar (died 2012), Lee Dorman – bass (died 2012)

This forgotten classic LP was released in 1972 on Capricorn (CP105); some, like mine, had a hologram cover. This was the eponymous first album from American heavy rockers that morphed out of Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly and Johnny Winter’s band. It was not their only album but it is the only one that matters apart from the brilliant title track on their second “Sufficiently Breathless”. You can ignore everything else due to band implosions and the obligatory mediocrity that followed.

As far as I can remember the music press in the UK did not care for it much at the time and I can’t remember why I bought it. (No drugs involved!) However it remains one of my favorite albums from the Seventies – top 10 for sure. Why?

I am not really a big fan of heavy rock/metal apart from the amazing Blue Oyster Cult, Frank Marino/Mahogany Rush and the Montrose album. Yet the guitars hit you from the off. Without doubt this is Rhino’s album with the others holding up the sonic pyramid. Multi-layered solos with a smear of (dare I say it) jazz. There is no forty minute Garcia noodling here. Short, sharp and to the needle. The stereo production is awesome as it shifts and segues beautifully between each track. Fun, psychedelic lyrics that add to the color collage. They were trying something a little different; it was not mainstream rock – not Grand Fuck Railroad ad nauseam. This is why it stands out today. It is still fresh and alive and has not gone BC like so many other so-called classics of the day.

Yet maybe it is not so forgotten now as it has reached cult status - the ultimate kudos. Check out the 1999 Scandinavian metal/prog rock panegyric "Thousand Days of Yesterday - A Tribute to Captain Beyond" on Record Heaven Music (RHCD19). You can also catch the current Captain Beyond line-up at one of their US tour dates.

I have not played this for a while but I can still play every and each guitar solo after 40+ years on my cricket bat as if it was yesterday; and my hair was perfect as I was dancing madly backwards. Go buy it – now!

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