Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express : Complete Oblivion Review

Discovering the Groove: Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express Box Set

As someone who’s always on the lookout for musical gems, I was thrilled to unwrap this collection just before Christmas 2023, and it’s been on heavy rotation ever since.

Released by Soul Bank Music, this glossy, well-constructed box houses the legendary group’s classic studio albums, all fully remastered. The collection spans from their 1970 debut to “Second Wind,” showcasing the evolution of a band that masterfully blends jazz, funk, and rock into a seamless, groovy fusion.

Each album is presented in a gatefold digipack, with some including replicas of the original vinyl gatefolds. The attention to detail in reproducing the artwork and packaging adds a nostalgic touch, making this set a visual as well as auditory delight.

The Albums: A Journey Through Jazz Fusion

Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express (1970): The debut album sets the tone with its electrifying mix of jazz and rock. Tracks like “Dragon Song” showcase Auger’s prowess on the Hammond organ, backed by fluid guitar lines and tight rhythms.

A Better Land (1971): This album sees the band leaning more into jazz, with soulful compositions and introspective lyrics. The inclusion of a replica gatefold sleeve adds a special touch to this edition.

Second Wind (1972): Marking a shift towards jazz fusion, “Second Wind” features longer, more exploratory tracks. The musicianship is top-notch, with each member contributing to the expansive soundscapes.

Closer to It! (1973): A standout album that mixes soulful vocals with Auger’s signature keyboard work. The fusion of genres is seamless, offering a rich listening experience.

Straight Ahead (1974): Here, the band delves deeper into jazz fusion, with extended instrumental sections that allow each musician to shine. The complexity and creativity on display are astounding.

Reinforcements (1975): This album brings a funkier edge to the band’s sound, reminiscent of Glenn Hughes’s solo work. It’s a testament to the band’s versatility and influence on the music scene.
The Booklet: A Glimpse into the Band’s History

Accompanying the albums is a booklet filled with photographs, memorabilia, and insights into the band’s journey. It’s a fascinating read that provides context to the music and highlights Brian Auger’s contributions to the fusion genre.

For me, discovering Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express has been a revelation. Their music, which blends elements of jazz, rock, and funk, resonates as strongly today as it did in the ’70s. It’s a reminder of the timeless nature of great music and the joy of uncovering new sounds from the past.

Brian Auger, a keyboard virtuoso, has been a pivotal figure in the fusion genre, influencing countless musicians with his innovative play. The Oblivion Express served as a platform for Auger to explore and expand the boundaries of jazz, rock, and everything in between. With members like Alex Ligertwood on vocals and guitarists like Jim Mullen, the band’s lineup has seen talented musicians contribute to its unique sound.

This box set is not just a collection of albums; it’s a journey through a pivotal era in music, led by one of its most underrated pioneers. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to Brian Auger’s work, “Complete Oblivion” is a must-have, offering a deep dive into the heart of jazz fusion.

So, if you’re like me, always searching for the next musical discovery, I highly recommend giving Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express a listen.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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