Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express: Complete Oblivion

If you’re like me, songs just pop into your head from your very random access memory. The other day it was a song my brother wrote in 1978 that I haven’t heard it decades. This morning it was “Happiness is Just Around the Bend.” I found the tune on YouTube and played it (not the cover by The Main Ingredient, although it is very nice). As I listened to Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express on Closer to It!, so many great memories came rushing back.

Brian Auger had an amazing career with The Trinity with vocalist Julie Driscoll Tippetts (1966-1970) before launching into an amazing period of superb jazz rock fusion with Oblivion Express (1970-1975). That band produced six superb studio albums and two live recordings. Auger has continued to play great music since then.

I have a dozen of the box sets called Classic Album Recordings, which typically include five albums by a band or artist with simple cardboard sleeves and minimal information but tons of music at very reasonable prices. I decided to see if there was such a set for Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express period.

In 1995, a double CD called Complete Live Oblivion was issued, containing Live Oblivion Vol. 1 and Live Oblivion Vol. 2 (double album). There was no box set of the six studio recordings, and most of those single CDs have very hefty prices attached. I say WAS, because — lo and behold — just such a box set is in production.

The Jazzwise preview by Kevin Whitlock contains this information:

The music in this box set – on six CDs or six vinyl LPs – has been remastered from the original studio master tapes by Bill Smith at United Archiving in Los Angeles, and the set features faithful reproductions of the original album sleeves by Jaffa at The Unknown, as well as an extensive booklet featuring rare photos, posters and a lengthy interview with Brian Auger by Sarah Gregory.


The set is due out October 20 on Soul Bank Music, along with another compilation titled Auger Incorporated, another stab at compressing his expansive career onto two CDs (or three albums), similar to Auger Rhythms: Brian Auger’s Musical History, a 2003 gem.


Complete Oblivion will include these albums originally on RCA Victor (Polydor in the U.K):


     1970  Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express
     1971  A Better Land
     1972  Second Wind
     1973  Closer to It
     1973  Straight Ahead
     1975  Reinforcements


Musicians include guitarists Jim Mullen and Jack Mills; drummers Robbie McIntosh, Steve Ferrone, Godfrey MacLean, and David Dowle; bassists Barry Dean and Clive Chaman; vocalist Alex Ligertwood; and percussionists Lennox Laington and Mirza Al Sharif. Auger played Hammond B3 organ, piano, electric piano, moog, mellotron, and Freeman string machine, and he sang.


OCTOBER 27. I’ll be hanging out near my mailbox. Just sayin’…





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