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Captain Beyond - 1977 Dawn Explosion



ARTIST: Captain Beyond
ALBUM: Dawn Explosion
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: BS 3047
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1997, One Way Records (USA), OW 33639

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Willie Daffern - vocals * Lee Dorman - bass * Larry Reinhardt - guitars * Bobby Caldwell - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Do Or Die * 02 Icarus * 03 Sweet Dreams * 04 Fantasy * 05 Breath of Fire, Pt. 1 - 2 * 06 If You Please * 07 Midnight Memories * 08 Oblivion * 09 Space Interlude * 10 Oblivion * 11 Space Reprise


Background
For enthusiasts of this cult supergroup 'Dawn Explosion' is considered the least worthy of the bands three efforts, but right now this is the sole album of the band in my possession, which might be a shame when most consider the 1972 debut the truly essential CB album to own. The band came together originally with ex Deep Purple vocalist Rod Evans, along with ex Iron Butterfly members Dorman and Reinhardt, while Caldwell had played with Johnny Winter. The bands debut is considered a prog rock masterpiece by most as is the followup, 1973's 'Sufficiently Breathless'. Things went sour along the way, with various lineup shuffles and in 1974 the band apparently folded. In 1976 the band reformed, minus errant Evans, owing their label one more studio album. The result didn't live up to expectations from what I've learned, with Evans much missed, although it would be unfair to slam this recording, it's a competent late 70's rock outing by all means.


The Songs
Nothing overly spectacular here, but still consistent. The band had largely left behind the psychedelic and space rock imagery and music and opted for a more basic hard rock style, although the older elements do surface in areas. There are some noteworthy moments, check 'Icarus' out for some mystical heavy metal that shames Rush for example. The chorus intentionally soars as high as the song's subject and is indeed fantasy metal, which is ironic as 'Fantasy' follows two tracks later, heavy rock with the riffs to back it up. True 70's hard rock never sounded better. 'Breath Of Fire I' and 'Part II' provide the type of continuity the debut provided, although the slower more draining second part is the more intense listen. 'Oblivion' at only two minutes is a breathtaking fusion instrumental a la Mahavishnu Orchestra with some vicious guitar work from Reinhardt. More of this would have been appreciated. 'Sweet Dreams' is dreamlike, conjuring up the space aspect, as does the self explanatory 'Space Interlude', full of assorted space effects. All things taken into account, this is a very good album, although I'm sure there will be complaints of it not being able to hold a candle to the earlier material by some readers.


In Summary
The band toured behind the album, but Daffern didn't last much longer and soon after it was curtains once again for CB. In 1999 the band made an improbable comeback with Caldwell at the helm, a reformation of his equally admired Armageddon not working out either. A tribute album was also issued several years back, and one which I received but duly forgot about! A sign of the esteem CB are held in to the present and with good reason.


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Comments
#1 | sabace on March 03 2008 14:38:36
great band
#2 | rostoned on May 29 2008 19:40:38
good effort but this pales in comparison to their s/t debut which is an ALL TIME PROGRESSIVE (SOUTHERN TINGED) HARD ROCK CLASSIC. Their second album was too mellow for my taste and lacked the punch and direction due to the absence of marvellous and intelligent skin basher Bobby Caldwell (Johnny Winter, Armageddon)
#3 | rostoned on August 04 2008 00:12:10
After recording this album singer Willie Daffern joined minor supergroup PIPEDREAM as Willie Dee. Read the review of that obscure and odd LP elsewhere on this site.
#4 | rkbluez on April 17 2010 20:50:20
Love this CD...agreed it's not as good as the s/t but that was a major classic...still DE is classy classic rock of the highest order...Willie Dee sounds great as does Caldwell, Rhino and Dorman...songs like Fantasy and Breath Of Fire parts 1and2 I are as good as it gets IMO.
 
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