Graham Bond Organisation

Walking in the Park

Composed by Graham Bond

Song Review by

"Walkin' in the Park" might be the most well-known Graham Bond song, particularly in the United States, though due largely to a later cover version by Colosseum rather than Bond's original. Granted, that's not saying much since so few people are aware of Bond's records in the first place, and since Bond's first recording of the number wasn't even released in the US. It's saying something, though, and more importantly it was about the best of Bond's original compositions. As first recorded by Bond on the second Graham Bond Organization album (There's a Bond Between Us) in the mid-1960s, it's an irresistibly bouncing blues-rock number with a jazzy tinge, particularly in the breezy tempo and Dick Heckstall-Smith's murkily mixed sax. Bond's vocal is more good-natured and romantic than was typical, though it's still colored by a hoarseness suggesting a man who lives rough. Bond's organ playing is, as usual, inventive, with a restlessness suggesting tense energy simmering below the good-times celebration of the words. More edginess is added, too, by what sounds like sporadic insertions way in the background of Mellotron, an instrument Bond was beginning to fool around with, in advance of almost everyone else as far as rock records were concerned. The original version of "Walkin' in the Park" was recorded by the Graham Bond Organization lineup featuring Bond, Heckstall-Smith, and the pre-Cream Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. However, a slightly later recording (from 1966 or 1967) by the band after Bruce and Baker had left, and Jon Hiseman had joined, emerged in 1970 on the compilation Solid Bond. This actually had the edge over the original, featuring fiercer performances all around, particularly from Bond's vocal and Heckstall-Smith's more active saxophone, and varying the tempo a lot more, particularly for a drawn-out ending. The song obviously made an impression on Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman, who recorded it again in the late 1960s when they were part of Colosseum, on the Those Who Are About to Die Salute You album. Colosseum's version was jazzier than the two previous ones by Bond (and had a far more conventional wah-wahing hard rock guitar solo), but did suffer from a less powerful and menacing vocal than Bond had graced his own interpretations with. "Walkin' in the Park" is not, incidentally, the same song as the similarly titled "Walkin' Thru the Park," the electric blues classic written and recorded by Muddy Waters in the late 1950s.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Sound of 65/There's a Bond Between Us 1999 Beat Goes On 3:30