The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

RK 50: Quintessence

9-3-08 RK 50: Quintessence

Here’s a memory-flogger for you – do you remember the British ‘Krishna’ band Quintessence? I vaguely do, and I was there!

As a youth, I was infatuated with the British Island label; I wrote to them requesting catalogues, I made my own lists of their releases. I knew which ones had been licensed in the U.S. – so I could find them cheaper than having to special order then-expensive British import LP’s. I was totally into Traffic, Spooky Tooth, Mott The Hoople, White Noise…before King Crimson rolled down the pike, it looked like the big ‘rock band’ on Island that I knew nothing about was Quintessence.

Almost four decades later, we have a much easier time trying to imagine a ‘people’s band’ who played a lot of free shows, who openly chanted on their LP’s…a band that seemed like they took George Harrison’s ‘Indian music message’ and ran with it. I was able to find their first two Island LP’s, “In Blissful Company” and the self-titled “Quintessence” – with a very groovy fold out from the center cover. Certainly the covers were beautiful!

But when it was time to sell some of my LP’s for good prices in the late 80’s – both of those left my collection…and, to be honest, Quintessence albums do not really turn up here at all very much. Figuring that ‘they were on Island’ and that I might like them with a few more years of knowledge under my proverbial belt…I got a collection CD on Island, “Oceans of Bliss”, which has material from (presumably) all three Island LP’s by Quintessence, the 3rd one being “Dive Deep” – which I never found am original copy of.

Well, I correctly remembered some of the material on the CD as being from the LP’s I once owned. Not exactly psychedelia or prog rock – more – rock music ‘devotionals’ (all glories to Krishna!). I’ll keep the CD, I’d only get $3-$6 if I sold it, anyway. Maybe I can drop something from it into a mix MD and freak somebody out, who doesn’t recognize it. After all, I mail-ordered the Pete Townshend ‘devotional’ CD “Jai Baba” (2CD’s from Ell Pie) to get the Billy Nicholls and Mike DaCosta stuff – so it’s not like I don’t already own some UK 70’s hippie ‘devotional’ stuff on CD!

I’d re-buy their Island LP’s if they were inexpensive, just to get the beautiful covers again! I sometimes entertain the idea of trying to have a full numerical set of Island UK LP releases, too. But big bucks? No, not really.

After their 3 albums on Island, I believe there are one or two LP’s on RCA UK. But I never heard those.

= = =

Wow, two days in a row of artists that I will own material by that I do not feel strongly about! Hey, they’re both on Island UK, so I give ‘em the benefit of the doubt!



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