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IRON BUTTERFLY - IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA
Well, yes, IB did write more than that one song, and some pretty good ones, too. The 1995 reissue of the original 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' album finishes with a studio version of 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida', plus additional versions - a slightly longer live version, featuring freak out woman, counterpoint shouting, and wailing pyrotechnical guitar (an aural equivalent of strobe lighting), and the single version of this rock leviathan, stripped down to an ad jingle length of 2 minutes and 52 seconds. Nearly 39 minutes in total of Springfield's favourite.
Anyway, let's concentrate on the original 6 track album.
'Most Anything You Want' starts off with a chugging rhythm, and harmonies which could be a Turtles track, until the gravel spreading machine that is Doug Ingle's voice bursts out, and some earthy guitar kicks in.
A big mood change, with the doom-laden, mournful harmonies and velvety psychedelia of 'My Mirage', written with a late, lamented friend in mine.
'Termination' is a lively song written (with Lee Dorman) and sung by Butterfly's 17-year-old whizzkid guitarist, Erik Brann. Lyrically it's built around Greek mythology, and is deceptively lively considering a subject matter of doomed sailors. A beautiful ending of rippling chimes is an inspired touch.
'Are You Happy' is a mixture of dexterous blues guitar, powerful drums and bass, sparkling organ work, and begins with raw blues and then moves into a light sort of bubblegum. Raw blues meets bubblegum, well, it works, though, on first hearing this seemed the weakest track on the album, and dragged - maybe because I was waiting for that track!
And then we come to the 17 minute plus 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida', and its instantly appealing hypnotic rhythm and Ingle's rich, growling plea to come into the Garden of Eden. The bass of Dorman really stands out on this track, and drives the whole song. Reminiscent of Jack Bruce and Cream. Subtle wah wah guitar, impressive, if over-indulgent drumming, with Ron Bushy's drums having a unique, bongos cum heavy tabla sound to them. The sounds on this track are diverse, and the organ sound from Ingle transmogrifies into many sounds from church organ to free jazz to a hazy psychedelia. All the music on this track was recorded in one take, with the vocals added later. The legend is that the band had a jam session waiting for their producer, and a very long 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' ensued. Did the title come from a drunk Doug Ingle slurring his words, and really meaning to say, "In the Garden of Eden"? Who really knows. Make up your own stories! All I can say is that the reputed hour long live versions of 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' must have been quite something...
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
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