Captain Beyond - Lost & Found 1972-1973 album review

The ‘lost’ recordings that made the Allmans go ape

Cover art fro Captain Beyond - Lost & Found 1972-1973 album

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Duane and Gregg Allman were apparently so knocked out by Captain Beyond’s demos that they promptly took the tape over to Phil Walden’s gaff and convinced him to sign them to his Capricorn label. In truth, there might have been more than a touch of nepotism on the brothers’ part, seeing as Captain Beyond drummer Bobby Caldwell knew the Allmans well from his days touring with Johnny Winter.

Captain Beyond’s self-titled debut of 1972 nevertheless supported Walden’s judgement – it’s a terrific showcase for the band’s gallivanting space-rock. Despite the presence of ex-Deep Purple singer Rod Evans and the Iron Butterfly duo of guitarist ‘Rhino’ Reinhardt and bassist Lee Dorman, they never found the commercial success their music merited, settling instead for a life of eternal cultdom.

Recently rediscovered by Caldwell, the debut album’s original demos have now been dusted off for Lost & Found 1972-1973. Diehard fans may well lap this stuff up, particularly the cosmic potential of the previously unreleased Uranus Highway. Otherwise, this is essentially the first album in need of a scrub-up, its stonerish mix of heavy jams, prog and psych-blues churning along to unruly time signatures.

Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air) stands up particularly well, governed by a hell-for-metal groove and its ascending/descending riff. As does I Can’t Feel Nothing (Part 1) and the more melodic, faintly jazzy Icarus, which landed with a bump on 1977’s third and final album, Dawn Explosion. Still, newcomers to Captain Beyond are best directed to the better-known studio recordings.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.