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Wednesday 25 March 2009

More Hippy Nonsense: Quintessence

I have been a fan of Quintessence ever since I first heard them on a second-hand copy of "Bumpers", an Island Records sampler from about 1970, that I acquired from a junk shop in Dorset. I fell right away for their groovy rock/Indian/flute/jazz combination.

They were one of the hippiest of all the hippy bands. They lived in Notting Hill Gate (where, as they put it in the song of the same name, "Things are great in Notting Hill Gate/ We all sit around and meditate"). They had their own guru. And they veered erratically between the sublime and the ridiculous, often in the same song. As an example here is "Cosmic Surfer":

Ride, Cosmic Surfer, Ride!!!

However my favourite track of theirs is still the one I heard first on "Bumpers", a storming live version of "Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga". Here it is:

And in a similar style here is a clip of them live at Glastonbury in 1971:

Ten years or so after that the drummer, Jake Milton, founded Blurt (of "A Fish Needs A Bike" fame). Very different. I may have to dig that one out for you.

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