East of Eden

2-8-11

East Of Eden

7″ HAVE TO WHACK IT UP                       DERAM UK             DM 338

1971 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″ JIG-A-JIG / MARCUS JUNIOR             DERAM UK             DM 297

1970 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″ JIG-A-JIG / MARCUS JUNIOR             DERAM US             45-85075

1970 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

LP MERCATOR PROJECTED                   DERAM FR             SML 1.038

1969 8 TRKS

CD MERCATOR PROJECTED (Kami)     UNIVERSAL JPN   UICY-9036

1969 8 TRKS stereo; (’00 issue) kami sleeve

CD MERCATOR PROJECTED re              ECLECTIC UK       ECLCD 1012

1969 11 TRKS (’04 issue) (3 x bonus tracks)

LP SNAFU                                                     DERAM UK             SML 1050

1970 8 TRKS locking groove, Side 1

CD SNAFU (Kami)                                        UNIVERSAL JPN   UICY-93370

1970 9 TRKS (1 x bonus track) (’07 issue) kami sleeve

I believe I heard of East of Eden because of the British “progressive rock” sampler LP on Decca called “Wowie Zowie!” – of course I was interested – a ‘prog’ sampler from England named after a Frank Zappa song?  It didn’t take long for me to find a U.S. copy of their debut LP, “Mercator Projected” in the $1 bin.  AND it was on a cool label: Deram Records.

A short while later, I find out that Dave Arbus – the violinist of East of Eden is the violin player on “Baba O’Reilly” by The Who.  Then I found a UK copy of the 2nd East of Eden LP, “Snafu” – with it’s mighty ‘locking groove’ at the end of Side one.  I believe I actually sat there, listening to it for a few minutes before I realized it was a ‘locking groove’!  It was so seamless!  Too bad the CD fades after a short time.

The two Deram East of Eden LP’s are very different affairs – “Mercator Projected” is a proto-prog LP – almost in the style of King Crimson – but still retaining a very ‘electric blues’ feeling – “Northern Hemisphere” is awesome!  I even think one of the tracks owes a bit of a debt to “Cosmic Sounds Of The Zodiac”!

“Snafu” is almost totally a jazz album, deeply rooted in the avant-garde – with it’s Charles Mingus cover version, some tracks that play backwards etc.  It’s what the British press would’ve once called “jazz-tinged”.  And they had the bottle to pull singles from this album!  (No, I never heard of or saw a single for the first album).

After these two albums, I lost track of East of Eden – although I noted that they managed at least two albums for the venerable Harvest label in England.  Never heard ‘em, though.

I have read that three of the original East of Eden members got together again and made a new CD – gee, I’ll have to try to find that.

So, think you’ve heard every British progressive rock LP?  Make certain that “Mercator Projected” is in your vocabulary!

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3 Responses to East of Eden

  1. postpunkmonk says:

    What a beautiful cover design on “Mercator Projected!” Nudity on record covers is usually a tragic and ham-fisted affair. Not this time! The graphics, composition, typography and photography are peerlessly great. The only part of this effort that ties this into 1969 in any way is the model’s hairstyle. Apart from that, this is timelessly great design. I’d put this with the US cover of “Autumn To Spring” by The Nice as one of the best covers of all time. It’s a shame that in my many album cover books, this has never cropped up. It’s the first time I’ve seen this one.

  2. ronkanefiles says:

    Glad you liked the cover, Jim-san. You should hear the music!

  3. postpunkmonk says:

    If it recalls KC, maybe I should.

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