From the outgrowth of Steampacket, a band that included not only Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll, but also a young Rod Stewart, came Auger and Driscoll's collective effort that produced two albums. When Driscoll left in 1969 to pursue a solo career, Auger, drummer Clive Thacker, and bassist Dave Ambrose continued as Brian Auger & the Trinity. Open has been unfairly characterized as a kind of groove jazz rip, one that combines Wes Montgomery, Jimmy McGriff, and the rock sensibilities of the psychedelic era. Whatever. There are many tracks here, from deep grooved funky jazz to lilting ballads and greasy blues numbers and the skronky exotica number "Goodbye Jungle Telegraph." Auger may not have been as gifted an organist as Alan Price technically, but he could more than hold his own on the Hammond B-3 (as evidenced by the first two tracks here which are instrumentals, "In And Out" and "Isola Nate"). He was also able to pull more sounds out of the instrument than any of his peers. Auger wasn't much of a vocalist, but he could dig deep and get the emotion out of a song -- especially in a funky number like "Black Cat," which featured a killer though uncredited studio horn section. Driscoll's contributions are all on the second half of the album, beginning with the shuffling choogle of Lowell Fulsom's "Tramp," continuing through a moving reading of Pops Staples' "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)," two Auger originals, and concluding in a reading of Donovan's "Season of the Witch" that single-handedly established her reputation as a vocalist of great interpretative ability and emotional dexterity. Almost eight minutes in length, it is the perfect interplay for the quartet with its dark, smoky swirling energy and extant soul groove, and capos the album on a high note, making it a delightful precursor to the classic Streetnoise which was to follow.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek