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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Iron Butterfly

Live at the Galaxy 1967

Review by Gary Hill

Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately. This was originally a bootleg and a really popular one at that. So, for that reason the sound quality is not great on this. At times it can be downright annoying. This is an official release of the bootleg and it really captures a killer Iron Butterfly show. Do I wish the sound was better? Yes, definitely. Is it worth having this way? Yes, definitely. These guys really show that they influenced a lot of music from heavy rock to progressive and maybe even punk at times. This is a stellar live performance captured in a less than stellar recording.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Real Fright

This comes in a bit tentatively. It’s amazing how much Iron Butterfly influenced early progressive rock, really. The vocals are a bit distorted on this and the sound quality in general is a little weak. Still, it’s so cool to have this live recording of this piece that it’s okay. The contrast between mellower movements and rocking ones is great.

Possession
Coming in fairly mellow, the organ really drives this early. Then it gets more rocking elements added and we’re off. The vocals aren’t as poor in terms of sound quality here. Besides, Iron Butterfly was always a little muddy in terms of vocals. This rocker has some great charm and class.
Filled with Fear
I’ve always loved this song. While I wish the vocals were a little further up in the mix, this live recording is quite a cool one. The extended instrumental section mid-track on this is pretty amazing.
Fields of Sun
A more mid-tempo rocker, this is another strong one. It does suffer some from the sound issues, but not as bad as some of the rest do.
It's Up To You
This powers in with a hard rocking jam and they bring it through some changes and variants. The sound is a bit better than on some of the others a lot of the time, but it does have some moments where it feels like it drops out because the signal is more intense than the microphone can handle.
Gloomy Day to Remember
I like the cool rocking riff on this one a lot. The sound seems a bit better here most of the time.
Evil Temptation
A faster paced, hard rocker, this one really suffers from distortion and drop out on the recording. That’s a shame because there is some awesome jamming going on here. There are some particularly inspired musical passages here – some provided by the guitar, some by the keyboards and some by both.
So-Lo
There is more of a late 1950s, early 1960s pop rock sound to this thing. It’s got some of the Iron Butterfly trappings blended into it, but overall this isn’t one of the better things here. The sound quality is better on this piece than on some of the rest, though.
Gentle As It My Seem
Fast paced, this one has a real punk rock type energy. It’s got some sound quality problems, but is one of heck of a smoking hot jam.
Lonely Boy
A mellower song, the sound quality is better on this one. It makes me think of Iron Butterfly doing jazz. It’s a great tune and one of my favorites here, really.
Iron Butterfly Theme
This song has only non-lyrical vocals. It’s a real thrill ride rocker and has better sound quality than some of the rest of the music here. The crazed jamming later in the tune is among the best here, really.
You Can’t Win
The closer is another that’s classic Iron Butterfly. This is a solid rocker that works well to end the set in style.
 
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