Captain Beyond

Captain Beyond/Sufficiently Breathless

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Leave it to Australia's Raven Records to get it right. This two-fer by Captain Beyond is a case in point. For the first time on CD, listeners get both releases by the original band issued in 1972 and 1973 on Capricorn Records (another version of the band re-formed in 1976 for Warner Bros. but it doesn't count and the album they issued was horrible). Captain Beyond were a supergroup of sorts. Formed in Los Angeles, the group contained former members of Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, and the Johnny Winter Band. They issued these two very different recordings full of compelling, wildly spacy hard rock with truly progressive underpinnings -- their two song cycles contained everything from power trio riffing to shifting time signatures, jazz interludes, lithe dreamy songwriting, and enough rock & roll attitude to keep a listener inside the mix for an entire album -- even after coming out of the spell for a bit to flip the sides of the LP. Raven's compilation gives these two albums the proper treatment they never got. (Capricorn was notorious for its sloppy business practices as well as its spot-on musical vision.) The sound quality is excellent throughout due to a thorough remaster that keeps much of the analog feel in the final product. In addition, the booklet features a thorough history by Ian McFarlane and a personal reminiscence from guitarist Larry "Rhino" Rheinhart. For the money, you simply can't ask for more.

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