It was kinda stormy with an RnB beat

I’ve just downloaded an intriguing new record from eMusic (and when I say “new”, you’ve probably guessed I mean “really old and a little odd”…)

Graham Bond

It’s “Love is the Law” by gravelly-voiced sixties growler Graham Bond, a man who played a star role in bringing the mighty Hammond organ to the sixties public (and at least one suggestible West Country lad, twenty years later). Bond was also responsible for giving breaks to Jack Bruce, John MacLaughlin, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Ginger Baker and probably a few others in his Graham Bond Organisation. As well as being a band leader and organist, he was also an accomplished alto sax player and apparently played both on stage (at the same time).

Image result for graham bond love is the law

“Love is the Law” came out in 1969 and even by then, it was beginning to look like the ship might well have sailed for the GBO – his various alumni had graduated to high-profile posts in the Rock Cabinet, and Bond was increasingly looking like a latter-day Boris Johnson, his Bullingdon pals having timed their runs a little better than he had. With the exception of the drum parts, he played all the other instruments himself (he was also one of those organists who would play basslines on his pedals…)

By this point, he’d become somewhat erratic and unreliable, (there was a disturbing reliance on kaftans). On top of this, he was obsessed with Aleister Crowley and occultism (the record actually credits Bond with a kind of magickal extra “e”), and had spent time in hospitals fighting depression and addiction. The poor feller died under a tube train in 1974.

I’m still exploring the record – it’s a little patchy to be fair – but there are some strong moments, and the ubiquitous ringing organ and spiteful vocals are certainly worth a go, if anyone fancies a slightly different seventies blues, sans guitar.

On a whim, I thought I’d see if there were any live performances on YouTube (there are, go look…) but as I was looking I came across this glorious piece of raybanned silliness from some sort of cult film called “Gonks Go Beat”:

Go! Go! GO!


(definitely Ginger Baker on drums, Heckstall-Smith on sax and I think it’s Bruce on harmonica too…)