Friday 14 March 2014

IRON BUTTERFLY “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” 1968

Continuing my trawl through the vinyl collection I found this in between Iggy and The Stooges and Janis Joplin and thought it deserved a listen after far too long.

Side One of this, their 2nd album, comprises some fairly bog standard late 60’s West Coast psychedelic pop/rock tunes albeit with a slight edge provided by a great guitar sound and Doors-ish organ throughout.
The real reason for reviewing this album is the title track which takes up all of side B and runs a little under 18 minutes long. An edited single version was released at a more radio friendly length of approx 3 minutes, and reached the US Top 30 of the day.
This song contains one of the classic riffs from this era and goes to show that the creation of long single riff dominated opuses isn’t a new invention by our favourite stoner/new psych bands. The guitar riff has a lovely crunching distorted edge to it with nice solo parts throughout. The keyboards back up this riff with suitable embellishments and solos adding to the whole feel. The approx 2 minute drum solo prior to the final section of the song is one of the first to be featured on an album and is interesting due to the use of a flanger effect and its rather tribal approach. Its inclusion in the track is not just an excuse for the drummer to show off.....which makes a pleasant change !! All this is topped off with very good 60’s vocals. The overall effect of the long version is quite hypnotic.

There has been much written about how this track came to be and what the title actually means. These include that the version here was recorded by accident by the engineer in the studio where they were just doing it as a jam to prepare for a session which would have included recording the track “for real”. The track was also said to have been originally titled “In A Garden Of Eden” but during rehearsals the vocalist was so off his head and unable to speak properly that it morphed into the title we now have. 

Here’s a link to first of all listen to the edited single version.

and another for the full 18 minute version + original 60’s footage of the band performing the song.

...and, as usual, my usual lazy link for more info on the band which is a very interesting read. I’d not realised that they had been lined up to play the famous Woodstock in 1969 but after arriving at the airport were unable to get any further due to the blocked roads and failure of the promoters to provide a helicopter to get them there.

Nothing else that the band produced before or after matched the “In-Gadda-Da-Vida” track, but hey, its best to still be remembered for one song some 45 years after the event than to be lost to obscurity like so many bands of the time.
words by DOUG E DOGG

(Tony note - I first heard this track in the film "Manhunter". Among 
the broken glass, blood, a mad psycho doing a st vitus dance and strobing 
- this track was blasting out and it blew my mind. I had never really 
heard music like this before and it was the start
of my long hunt for other gems from that era.)

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