Brian Auger & the Trinity

Best of Brian Auger & the Trinity

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With the stunning Julie Driscoll (vocals) at the helm, the Trinity was quite unlike any of the remaining plethora of blues-based rock acts to emerge during the late '60s. The group blended Driscoll's powerful pipes with equally energetic instrumentalists Brian Auger (keyboards), Dave Ambrose (bass), and Clive Thacker (drums). The aptly titled Best of Brian Auger & the Trinity (1970) provides key sides from the Open (1967) and Streetnoise (1968) albums, as well as the single-only release of Bob Dylan and Rick Danko's cautionary tale "This Wheel's on Fire." The Trinity turned it into one of its best-remembered achievements, ultimately scoring a Top Five hit in the U.K. As such, it has become a much sought after selection and is practically compulsory on any comprehensive compilation. The group quickly became known for its carefully chosen covers, which Driscoll and Auger would ignite into completely unique renderings. Their interpretation of David Ackles' "Road to Cairo" sports a languid and dreamy arrangement, scintillating beneath Driscoll's palpable sense of yearning and some soulful Hammond B-3 runs courtesy of Auger. Nina Simone's "Take Me to the Water" is a gusty gospel send-up that is given a stirring, if not wholly authentic, reading. Richie Havens' "Indian Rope Man" erupts out of a straightforward funk, propelled by Auger's clavinet keyboard interjections. Although "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)" originated from the gospel-rooted Staple Singers, this horn-driven reconfiguration sounds as if it may have first been sifted through Cannonball Adderley's version that peaked at a respectable number 73 in the spring of 1967. While not exactly a substitute for the thoroughly excellent Open and Streetnoise platters, Best of Brian Auger & the Trinity offers a copious overview of what made the aggregate so special.

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