Brian Auger's Oblivion Express

Live Oblivion Vol.1

Image of Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - Live Oblivion Vol.1

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Live albums are often a ‘hit or miss’ affair but ‘Live Oblivion’ 1 & 2 buck that trend, Recorded across 2 nights in 1974 at the Hollywood venue The Whisky A Go Go. The group were finishing off a huge US tour that had roared down the east coast then across the Midwest and by the time they hit LA, as Brian recalls “we were all absolutely performing at our height. So I decided that I really needed to record the band live at that point”. Utilising the Wally Heider Mobile Truck, the scene was set for one of the greatest jazz-fusion live recordings to be made. The show opens with a hyper fast version of Beginning Again due to drummer Steve Ferrone being almost an hour late and running high on adrenaline, Brian remembers thinking “I don’t even know if I can play it that fast!” Fortunately, he and the Oblivion Express including stellar vocalist Alex Ligertwood rise to the challenge and the result is akin to some frenetic jazzy drum & bass but also pushes the group onto another level altogether for the rest of the show. Across both volumes there are no fillers and the highlights are many - Bumpin’ On Sunset, Freedom Jazz Dance, and Inner City Blues are all stunning, but especially the epic version of Maiden Voyage which Mos Def sampled on his 1997 'If You Can Huh! You Can Hear', and both DJ Mitsu in 2004 and 2017 Crimeapple both dipped into Live Oblivion to sample that fire for their own projects.

Auger, in the original liner notes opines how live recordings can often have drawbacks but "I hope that spirit shines through" Live Oblivion 1 & 2, 50 years on from being committed to tape, certainly achieve that and much more. 


1. Beginning Again
2. Don't Look Away
3. Bumpin' On Sunset
4. Truth 

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