Yolande Bavan / Peter Ivers / Peter Ivers' Band

Knight of the Blue Communion

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As this is one of the most avowedly uncommercial records released on a major label in the late '60s, one does wonder whether the person responsible for signing Ivers to Epic lost his or her job when the results (and sales figures) were given to the board. It's difficult to compare this mixture of rock, improvised jazz, blues, and impressionistic/stream-of-consciousness lyrics to anything else going on at the time, except perhaps for Captain Beefheart and (much more distantly) Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Ivers' ensemble isn't nearly as aggressive or macho as vintage Beefheart, though. Yolande Bavan's whimsical, spontaneous jazz style of vocals is backed by hard-to-hum melody, jagged rhythms, and spiky blues-rock-funk guitar and harmonica. Experimental composition also comes into play with the unpredictable course of the tracks, which utilize sax, bassoon, oboe, contrabass, and an "intermodulator" in addition to more standard rock instruments. While some of Timothy Mayer's lyrics have religious allusions in the titles ("Lord God Love," "Confession," "Knight of the Blue Communion," "Gentle Jesus"), the songs are really more absurdist than devotional. It's an odd record indeed, easier to admire than enjoy.

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