Roger Bunn

Piece of Mind

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Roger Bunn passed away in 2005 without ever seeing his one and only solo project -- 1969's Piece of Mind -- get heard by more than a tiny cult of music insiders. The rights were secured for a reissue on CD, and the record remastered with the reissue pending at the time of his death that summer. It's a delightfully weird-ass stream-of-consciousness creation, as much influenced by James Brown as Arthur Brown, with elements of Duncan Brown as well and the presence of longtime Bunn associate Pete Brown too, mixing soul horns, acid rock, freakbeat spaciness, jazz, and folk-pop (with elements of country and bluegrass showing up); or, sort of like Van Dyke Parks-meets-Donovan with a side-trip to the Kinks' Muswell Hillbillies sessions -- it's not always easy to make out what he's singing, but it all sounds cool and so magnificently laid-back that it seems too easy, low-wattage psychedelia with folk and jazz strains flowing through it where the soul horns aren't honking away; in hindsight, it makes one think of what the Small Faces might've done had they ever finished an LP follow-up to their final completed single, "The Universal," and that's definitely a compliment for those unaware. The album got buried by record company decision-making and competition from a brace of more overtly commercial releases, but it was good enough to gather a following among musicians and British pop cultists, and was regarded one of the great missing links among late-'60s British pop/rock. The 2006 Rollercoaster CD reissue sounds sensational, and the 76 minutes of music on it comes off every bit as beguilingly quiet and inventive as it seemed 35 years before.

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