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Goat (Sweden): World Music (Rocket Recordings LAUNCH048, CD, with slipcase, 2012)
Psychedelic
Surprisingly for a trendy band – this album featured in numerous critics’ lists of 2012’s best albums and reached the top ten in their native Sweden – Goat produced a genuinely excellent LP. For the most part, they sound like a reasonably exact cross between early Amon Düül II and Fela Kuti, complete with a Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz-like female singer, offering very heavy jamming psychedelia interspersed with African elements. In particular, the extended closing jam is really stupendous. Copies ordered from Rough Trade came with a sleeveless bonus CDR The First Sonic Ritual (Rocket Recordings LAUNCH052) featuring about 23 minutes of music recorded at the band’s first British gig. Whilst described as a ‘bootleg’, this is clearly official and has good sound quality. Musically it’s not as strong as the studio set (graded on its own, it would be around a B–) but it’s definitely worth hearing. GRADE: B.
Goat (Sweden): Live Ballroom Ritual (Rocket Recordings LAUNCH062, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2013)
Psychedelic
It seems a bit early in their career for a live album, especially since selected copies of their first came with a live bonus disc. Like The First Sonic Ritual, this isn’t quite as good as their finely-crafted studio set, but it’s still superb heavy psychedelia summoning the ghosts of Amon Düül II. GRADE: B–.
Goat (Sweden): Commune (Rocket Recordings LAUNCH068, red and blue splatter vinyl plus 7", with inner and download card, UK, 2014)
Psychedelic
This doesn’t have the shock value of their first, and nor does it represent any kind of an artistic step forward. But their Afro twist on early Amon Düül II remains irresistibly powerful, and this is as good a modern psychedelic or Krautrock LP as one could hope to hear. This time round, copies ordered from Rough Trade came with a bonus mix CDR featuring non-Goat music; this was not a prospect that enticed me. GRADE: B–.

Goat (Sweden): Requiem (Rocket Recordings LAUNCH068, CD, with digipak, UK, 2016)
Psychedelic/Folk/Rock
Slightly different from their first two studio set, this adds a folky edge to their acid jams, with their musical influences appearing to be drawn from South America (and occasionally Asia) rather than Africa. Whilst more delicate, it’s still as powerful and as hypnotic as before, with some truly trippy and transcendental moments. GRADE: B.

Goat (Sweden): Fuzzed In Europe (Rocket Recordings LAUNCH120, red and yellow or green splatter vinyl, with download card, UK, 2017)
Psychedelic
‘Fuzzed’ they most certainly are, but they’re also more relaxed and laid-back than they once were, with a funky, groovy edge. Whilst I prefer the wilder originals of some of the songs, this is a strong and satisfying live album by any measure. GRADE: B–.

Goat (Sweden): Headsoup (Rocket Recordings LAUNCH234, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and inner, UK, 2021)
Psychedelic
This collection of B-sides, compilation appearances and so forth covers most of Goat’s facets, from wild acid-rock to gentler ethnic trips, and there’s not much more to say. They’re probably the best band in the world right now at what they did, and that’s it. GRADE: B.

Goddess Trance (UK/Australia): Goddess Trance (GAS AGASCD 011, CD, UK, 1996)
Psychedelic/Dance
Gilli Smyth (lead vocals)
Recorded live, this is a logical step forward from Smyth’s album with Glo, making the techno and trance elements of their sound more obvious. For what it is, it’s rather good – I’d certainly rather listen to this than System 7 – but it’s nowhere near equalling peak Astralasia, let alone classic Gong. GRADE: C+.

Goddess Trance (UK/Australia): Electric Shiatsu (Voiceprint VP205CD, CD, UK, 1999)
Psychedelic/Dance
Gilli Smyth (lead vocals)
A friend once commented that the worst thing that can happen to an artist is when other artists they influenced start to influence them. This epitomises that trend: it takes most of its cues from Astralasia and the Magic Mushroom Band who in turn took most of their cues from You. That said, it’s rather good, if occasionally a touch ponderous, and certainly better than the live set that preceded it. Sure, it’s quite dated – every man and his dog seemed to be attempting this sort of psych/dance/world music fusion back in the nineties – but there are some great hypnotic grooves here, plus some fine musicianship, including contributions from Daevid Allen and veteran Aussie scenester Cléis Pearce (of Mackenzie Theory et al). Above all, it demonstrates that even in her mid-sixties Smyth was still learning new tricks. GRADE: B–.
See also Acid Mothers Gong, Orlando Allen, Glo, Gong, Gong Matrices, Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet, Mother Gong, Gilli Smyth, Harry Williamson & Friends

Gold (Holland): Interbellum (Ván VÁN81, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2012)
Metal
Milena Eva (lead vocals)
This was released to great fanfare and widely acclaimed by many collectors, but I can’t really see why. The band’s stripped-down, straightforward brand of seventies-influenced heavy rock is listenable enough, but they don’t really bring anything new to the style and and are unlikely to win any awards for their songwriting. Nonetheless this is a solid and enjoyable set and a decent example of its genre.

GRADE: C+.

Gold (USA): Gold (Sonic Arts Corporation Mastering Room unreleased acetate, 1970)
Rock/Psychedelic/Funk
Robin Sinclair
Produced by the prolific Leo De Gar Kulka, with 'Country' Joe McDonald taking a strong interest in the band’s career, this was presumably intended for a major label release. It never happened, however, and the band remained unknown until the album was issued on Rockadelic in 1995. Musically it’s excellent jamming psychedelia with hard rock and funk elements and plenty of Jimi Hendrix-style guitar, and the band was unlucky not to gain a release at the time. The occasional female vocals are presumed to be by Robin Sinclair. The set was subsequently reissued on CD as Oregins [sic] SF 1970 (World In Sound WIS-1018, Germany, 2003) with the addition of some live cuts featuring an all-male line-up. GRADE: C+.

Gold (USA): Mission Rock (World In Sound WIS-1014, CD, Germany, 2002, recorded 1971)
Psychedelic/Blues/Rock
Robin Sinclair (lead vocals)
This collection of live numbers boasts both intense performances and stunning sound quality, confirming that Gold must have been thrilling in concert. However, their actual songwriting never equals their jamming, indicating why they didn’t make the big-time, though anyone enjoying bluesy acid-rock is certain to be thrilled. GRADE: B–.
See also Salloom-Sinclair & The Mother Bear

Goldebriars (USA): The Goldebriars (Epic LN 24087 / BN 26087, 1964)
Folk
Dotti Holmberg, Sherri Holmberg
Giving no hints of Curt Boettcher’s future baroque pop direction, this is straightforward folk, setting gentle massed vocals against simple acoustic guitar backing. Sometimes the album achieves a haunting and beautiful atmosphere (notably on the opening ‘Railroad Boy’), but elsewhere it’s indistinguishable from numerous other folk records of the era. GRADE: C.
Goldebriars (USA): Straight Ahead! (Epic LN 24114 / BN 26114, 1964)
Folk/Pop
Dotti Holmberg, Sherri Holmberg
Their rather different second and final album sees them moving in a folk/pop direction, with fuller arrangements and a more commercial sound. Overall it’s a nice LP, and sometimes an excellent one: opener ‘Sea Of Tears’ is a delight, with its gentle harpsichord riff, but other tracks are too earnest or too shallow, as is typical of mid-sixties folk. GRADE: C.

Lotti Golden (USA): Motor Cycle (Atlantic SD 8223, 1969)
Singer/Songwriter/Pop/Soul
Lotti Golden (lead vocals)
This is an odd album indeed – to put it mildly. It’s probably best summed up as a singer/songwriter affair, but Golden has a strongly soul-tinged voice and takes most of her influences from mid-sixties girl groups (especially the dramatic style of the Shangri-Las) rather than Joni Mitchell. Add to that jazzy musical backing and song lengths (nothing is below five minutes and two numbers are over eight), and the result frequently defies categorisation. GRADE: C+.
Lotti Golden (USA): Lotti Golden (GRT 30003, 1971)
Singer/Songwriter
Lotti Golden (lead vocals)
Her second and final album is a more straightforward singer/songwriter set, though her voice is still unusual and the influences are still diverse (some cuts are bluesy while others have a hippie-folk feel, with hand percussion). Overall, this is a solid album, though her quavery singing could put many listeners off. GRADE: C.

Golden Caves (Holland): Bring Me To The Water (Freia Music THOR 29, CD, with minisleeve, UK, 2016)
Rock/Progressive
Romy Ouwerkerk (lead vocals), Elise Polman (keyboards)
Effectively a sort of expanded single (though at over 34 minutes, it’s close to album length), this comprises ‘Bring Me To The Water’ and ‘My Demons Hunt’ from their forthcoming album with their five-song demo tape. Their music is symphonic rock with lots of seventies references but also some modernistic touches; the whole thing fringes prog, but with all the songs around four or five minutes they never stretch out and there’s virtually zero experimentation. GRADE: C+.
Golden Caves (Holland): Collision (Freia Music THOR37, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, UK, 2017)
Rock/Progressive
Romy Ouwerkerk (lead vocals), Elise Polman (keyboards)
Their album proper confirms them to be competent songwriters and capable musicians, creating some nice symphonic moods with robust rock guitars. However, “competent” and “nice” are the limit of my praise, as this is devoid of any wild instrumental passages, compelling experiments or truly great hooks. Indeed, only once does this truly take flight: the majestic coda to the penultimate ‘Keep Running’. GRADE: C+.

Golden Caves (Holland): Dysergy (No label, CD, with digipak, 2020)
Progressive
Romy Ouwerkerk (lead vocals), Elise Polman (keyboards)
Once again, this has the sound but not the structures of progressive rock – behind the glossy sheen, there’s no real complexity here and very little in the way of instrumental breaks. Nonetheless, this is slightly different from their earlier work, being harder rocking – with some of the riffs verging on metal – and slightly more energetic. However, actual excitement is in pretty short supply. GRADE: C+.

Golden Throat (USA): Golden Throat (Trim TLP-1981, 1977?)
Rock
Rachelle Nohelani Cypriano (principal vocals, keyboards)
Fronted by the prolific singer Rachelle Nohelani Cypriano, this Hawaiian band’s one-off album is rather good jamming rock, drawing on blues, soul, country and other influences. The best moments are the long instrumental sections fronted by lead guitar, electric piano and organ, but the actual songs are pretty good too. As a bonus, the colourful, mystical sleeve is quite breathtaking. GRADE: C+.

Goliath (UK): Goliath (CBS 64229, 1971)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Linda Rothwell (lead vocals)

Drawing on jazz, blues, world music and post-psychedelic rock jamming, Goliath offer an accomplished and varied album full of interesting diversions. However, their material doesn’t quite equal their chops and the problem – insofar as there is one – is that this resembles numerous contemporary bands (I can hear echoes of Affinity, Catapilla and Jethro Tull, among many others) without being as good as them. GRADE: B–.

Gomina (France): Comédie Rock (Philips 6325 141, 1974)
Pop/Rock
Clarisse Weber (occasional vocals), Yvonne Mestre (occasional vocals), Solange Pradel (occasional vocals)
This project by François Wertheimer is billed as ‘France’s first rock comedy’, which didn’t fill me with enthusiasm; neither did the fifties-influenced cover. Fifties pop/rock is indeed the order of the day, though this is highly professional and very well executed. That said, I suspect that little of this – perhaps only the uncharacteristic folk ballad ‘Je L’Attends’ and the proggy ‘La Dame Noire’ – will be to the taste of most readers of this website. GRADE: C.

Gong (UK/France/Australia/Turkey): Magick Brother (BYG Actuel 5 529 029, France, 1970)
Jazz/Rock/Psychedelic/Avant-Garde
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
This rather tentative debut gives few hints of the brilliance to follow, but it’s an enjoyable enough album in its own right, ranging from off-kilter hippie pop to the heavy psych of ‘Chainstore Chant/Pretty Miss Titty’ to hints of free jazz to the pure electronic avant gardism of ‘Princess Dreaming’. GRADE: C+.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): Camembert Électrique (BYG Actuel 45 529 533, with inserts, France, 1971)
Jazz/Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (joint lead vocals)
A landmark album and this seminal band’s best work, Camembert Électrique is a crazy collision of progressive rock, psychedelia, punk, free jazz, electronic experimentation, music hall whimsy and probably other musical styles that don’t even have names. The level of energy is remarkable throughout, with lashings of their trademark surreal humour, and songs seemingly teetering on the brink of total collapse. The level of eclecticism is best summed up by the quite astounding ‘Fohat Digs Holes In Space’, which opens with churning guitar riffs before becoming a tripped-out cosmic rock improvisation, then ending as a fun, off-kilter pop song with rapped vocals and strong jazz elements. GRADE: A+.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Continental Circus (Philips 6332 033, UK, 1972)
Rock/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
On the one hand, this film soundtrack (recorded before Camembert Électrique but released afterwards) could be seen as filler – of the four tracks, one is a run-through of the jam that later became ‘Fohat Digs Holes In Space’, two are vocal and instrumental versions of the keynote cut ‘Blues For Findlay’ and the fourth is a collage of sound effects. Yet the hard, guitar-driven psychedelic rock of this LP is unlike anything else they ever did, with an almost Krautrock feel, and an impressive standard is maintained throughout. GRADE: B–.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): The Flying Teapot (Virgin V2002, UK, with booklet, 1973)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
The trademark humour and freakish eclecticism remain, but this is altogether more streamlined than Camembert Électrique, with elegant instrumental backing provided by a much expanded line-up centred on lead guitarist Steve Hillage and synthesiser maestro Tim Blake. Every track is a classic, from the long jams to the toe-tapping pop number ‘The Pothead Pixies’ and ambient interlude ‘The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine’. Some copies of the initial pressing came with a booklet, which was also included with the very first run of Angel’s Egg. GRADE: B.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): Angel’s Egg (Virgin V2007, with booklet, 1973)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals), Mireille Bauer (glockenspiel)
Even more spacious and refined than The Flying Teapot, this is a touch less consistent, but a remarkably high standard of both musicianship and invention is maintained throughout. Many copies had a sticker over the ‘obscene’ portion of the front cover after workers on the pressing plant refused to handle it. GRADE: B.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): You (Virgin V2010, with insert, 1974)
Progressive
Gilli Smyth (joint lead vocals), Mireille Bauer (percussion), Miquette Giraudy (backing vocals)
The final Gong album fronted by Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth, You may be the last part of the ‘Radio Gnome’ trilogy, but is musically very different to the band’s earlier work. Largely instrumental, it tones down the stoned humour considerably and tempers the jazz elements in favour of some of the most powerful space-rock jamming committed to vinyl. The album starts poorly, with master saxophonist Didier Malherbe providing an abysmal vocal on ‘Thought For Naught’, but suddenly gains momentum about five minutes in and never looks back – ‘Master Builder’ is a furious blur of dynamism, whilst ‘Isle Of Everywhere’ creates a hypnotic groove that lodges in the mind for days. GRADE: B.
Gong (France/UK): Shamal (Virgin V2046, UK, 1976)
Jazz/Folk/World Music/Progressive
Miquette Giraudy (occasional vocals), Mireille Bauer (percussion)
The band’s first album without Allen and Smyth at the creative helm unsurprisingly drops all the surreal humour and most of the rock elements. Instead, it’s essentially jazz-fusion, with strong elements of world music, folk and even new age, offering an even mix of songs and instrumentals. Surprisingly in view of the circumstances, it’s excellent, with outstanding material throughout; the opening ‘Wingful Of Eyes’ in particular is superb. Miquette Giraudy and Steve Hillage quit part way through the sessions to concentrate on the latter’s solo career, with the result that she sings one track and he plays guitar on two. GRADE: B.
Gong (France/UK/Australia): Live Etc (Virgin VGD 3501, double, with die-cut sleeve and two inners, 1977, recorded 1973-1975)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals), Miquette Giraudy (occasional vocals), Diane Stewart (occasional vocals, percussion), Mireille Bauer (percussion)
This interesting set features live performances from 1973 and 1975 (the latter by the shortlived line-up fronted by Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, existing between You and Shamal), a BBC session from 1974 and two studio outtakes (one circa Angel’s Egg and the other circa You) that were apparently attempts to create singles. The material is well chosen, unsurprisingly leaning heavily on the ‘Radio Gnome Trilogy’ but also including a couple of Camembert Électrique cuts (sounding very different performed by the much sleeker and more spacious 1973 line-up) plus a version of the band’s obscure single ‘Est-Ce Que Je Suis?’. Performances are outstanding throughout, making this a superb document of the band, though those who like the anarchy of their early recordings may find this a bit too polished. As a footnote, the album apparently caused a huge falling-out between Daevid Allen and Virgin: he wanted them to release the tapes that became Gong Est Mort – Vive Gong instead. Later pressings drop the die-cut on the sleeve, while the CD omits ‘Ooby-Scooby-Doomsday Or The D-Day DJ’s Got The DDT Blues’, which is instead included as a bonus cut on both Virgin CDs of Angel’s Egg. GRADE: B+.
Gong (France/UK): Gazeuse! (Virgin V2074, with poster, UK, 1977)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Mireille Bauer (percussion)
Their first all-instrumental album initially dazzles with its fiery musicianship (hardly surprising, with Allan Holdsworth, Francis Moze and Didier Malherbe on board) but like a lot of jazz/rock LPs the chops outclass the actual compositions. Compared to Shamal, let alone the ‘Radio Gnome Trilogy’, this is a big step down in terms of creativity. This was released as Expresso in the States, hence the title of the follow-up. GRADE: C+.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): Gong Est Mort – Vive Gong (Tapioca RP 10002/10003, double, France, 1978)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
Recorded at a one-off reunion of the ‘Radio Gnome Trilogy’ line-up in May 1977, this features a similar tracklisting to Live Etc. By any standards, this is a fine live set, although I still prefer the slightly more eccentric and wide-ranging Live Etc. GRADE: B.
Gong (France/USA): Expresso II (Virgin V2099, with inner, UK, 1978)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Mireille Bauer (percussion)
By this time the last founding member Didier Malherbe had jumped ship, leaving Gong with the odd-line up of a bassist/occasional guitarist, drummer/percussionist and two percussionists. With lots of guests on guitar, this is unsurprisingly vibraphone and marimba-led instrumental jazz-fusion; less predictable than Gazeuse! due to the unusual instrumentation and with a high degree of complexity, but also too unassuming to be much more than background music. All the material is good, but the opening ‘Heavy Tune’ is probably the best thing on offer, with some fine guitar interplay between Allan Holdsworth and the Rolling Stones’ Mick Taylor. As a footnote, Curved Air’s Darryl Way puts in a guest appearance. Following the album’s release, Mireille Bauer quit to join Édition Spéciale and Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes. GRADE: C+.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Gong Live (EMI France 4912343, VHS, France, 1993)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
Gong’s first video was recorded for Central TV’s ‘Bedrock’ series, which reunited a number of early seventies bands (including Hatfield & The North, Hawkwind and Steeleye Span). It sees them performing with a hybrid line-up, including founder members Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Didier Malherbe, plus early seventies drummer Pip Pyle and Planet Gong (and Here & Now) alumni Stephan Lewry, Keith Bailey and Paul Noble. The show is quite theatrical, with costume changes, make-up, dancers and lighting effects, and the band is on superb form, with Daevid Allen (even then well into his fifties) demonstrating exceptional energy and stage presence. Unsurprisingly, the material is taken from Camembert Électrique and the ‘Flying Teapot trilogy’, with some superb performances (particularly a fantastic instrumental jam towards the end). GRADE: B.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Live On TV (Code 90 NINETY 1, CD, UK, 1993)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
The audio version of the ‘Bedrock’ performance confirms it to have been a wonderful show, with the band delivering fine versions of favourites from their early albums. Once again the level of energy during the jam that grows out of ‘The Flying Teapot’ is truly remarkable. GRADE: B.
Gong (Australia/UK/France): Zero To Infinity (One Eyed Salmon SMACD824, with clear rubber slipcase, 2000)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (joint lead vocals)
This comeback effort reunites four stalwarts of the seventies line-up (Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Mike Howlett and Didier Malherbe) with a new drummer and a second winds player. Strangely, the disc both succeeds and fails in recapturing the classic Gong sound. On the plus side, it’s full of great grooves in a style midway between Angel’s Egg and You, with excellent musicianship throughout. Yet at the same time, the anarchic humour is mostly absent, replaced by a much more studious approach, and the trade-off of a lead guitarist for a second saxophonist and flautist is at best a mixed blessing. Nonetheless, this is a fine album by any standard; if only all seventies band reunions were this good. GRADE: B–.
Gong (Australia/France/UK): Live 2 Infinitea (Madfish SMA CD 834, CD, UK, 2000)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
Unsurprisingly recorded during the Zero To Infinity tour, this is an excellent live set that mostly focuses on recent material. I’d have liked a few more old classics and perhaps a little more psychedelic craziness, but this is nonetheless consistently fine stuff. GRADE: B–.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): OK Friends (GAS AGASCD 017, CD, UK, 2002)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (joint lead vocals)
This document of Gong’s 2001 European tour is a bit of a patchwork quilt, stitching together performances from several different shows and concentrating mainly on jams and improvisations. There are songs too, including versions of early material like ‘You Can’t Kill Me’, ‘Est-Ce Que Je Suis?’ and ‘Tropical Fish/Selene’, and the whole thing is playful, absorbing and sometimes pretty intense. GRADE: B–.

Gong (Australia/Japan): Acid Motherhood (Voiceprint VP311CD, CD, UK, 2003)
Psychedelic
Casino Cotton (synthesiser, backing vocals)
Despite the artist credit, this isn’t really a Gong album: as the title suggests, it’s a collaboration between Daevid Allen and Acid Mothers Temple’s Makoto Kawabata and Casino Cotton, plus a few regular Allen collaborators. Ironically, it’s far more successful in capturing the anarchic spirit of early Gong than any of their more legitimate comebacks, sometimes coming across as a spaced-out, cacophonous step forward from Camembert Électrique with all the jazz elements removed. With Cotton providing both the Tim Blake-style synthesiser twitters and the Gilli Smyth-esque space wailing (although Smyth herself guests on ‘Supercotton’) this is a freaked-out space trip par excellence, veering from all-out rock jamming to ethnic and folk elements and some surreal use of taped voices. After this impressive studio set, the band went on to release a couple of live albums under the far more logical name of Acid Mothers Gong. As a footnote, this features one of the most off-putting covers imaginable, with a pregnant Daevid Allen on the front and a nude Makoto Kawabata astride a toilet on the reverse. GRADE: B.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): 2032 (G-Wave AAGWCD001, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2010)
Progressive
Gilli Smyth (joint lead vocals), Miquette Giraudy (synthesiser)
Reuniting a slightly different collection of mid-seventies members (Allen, Smyth, Howlett, Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, with Didier Malherbe reduced to a guest) this is a very different album from Zero To Infinity. Opening with a heavy drum break, this is mostly a fairly straight rock LP, with chunky guitars and whooshing synthesisers and comparatively little saxophone and woodwind. Steve Hillage’s lead guitar is unsurprisingly impressive, and bits of the old Gong style and mythology are deftly worked in, but overall this is the least characteristic of the Allen-fronted albums. GRADE: B–.

Gong (UK/Australia/Iran/Brazil): I See You (Madfish SMACD1023, CD, with digibook, 2014)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
Showcasing the final recordings of Gilli Smyth and Daevid Allen, this mixes seventies Gong styles (with more than a few hints of Camembert Électrique) with more modern psychedelic folk featuring some slightly funky edges. Whilst I can’t imagine anyone preferring this to Camembert… or indeed the Radio Gnome trilogy, it’s a nice enough end to Allen and Smyth’s careers. The latter is credited as a guest, providing occasional ‘space whisper’ between songs and on the closer ‘Shakti Yoni And Dingo Virgin’, which she co-wrote. GRADE: B–.

Gong (UK/France/Australia/Turkey): Haunted Château (GAS, cassette, 1985?, recorded 1969-1972)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth
Although the front cover of the tapes dates the recordings to 1969, this tape actually appears to compile 1970 sessions as well, plus a couple of pieces from 1972’s Live At Angers. It’s a fascinating collection of oddities, and there’s plenty of fun to be had in spotting riffs and ideas that eventually developed into songs on the band’s studio albums. GRADE: B–.
Gong (UK/France/Australia/Turkey): Camembert Éclectique (GAS CD 001, UK, 1995?, recorded 1970)
Psychedelic/Jazz/Rock
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
This collection of demos and rehearsals by the transitional 1970 Gong line-up (including multi-instrumentalist Daniel Laloux and violinist Dieter Guévissler) gives a fascinating glimpse of how Camembert Électrique could have turned out in an alternate universe. Quite a bit of the material is familiar, but there’s also much that is otherwise unknown. Needless to say, this is raw, scrappy stuff, with unfinished snippets stitched together into collages and some false starts and studio chatter; whilst not as good as their best official LPs, it’s still fascinating stuff and a clear step up from the earlier Magick Brother. GRADE: B–.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): Glastonbury Fayre 1971 (GAS GAS-ARC CD 001, CD, with digipak, 2002, recorded 1971)
Psychedelic/Jazz/Rock/Avant-Garde
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
This was the first standalone release of Gong’s side from the Glastonbury triple album issued in the early seventies. Running for around 22 minutes, it’s a bizarre assemblage of their actual live performance (curtailed by a generator failure), stage announcements, tape loops, segments of studio performances and more, all adding up to an utterly weird, unfocused and unclassifiable trip. GRADE: B–.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): The Peel Sessions – Pre-Modernist Wireless On Radio (Strange Fruit SFR CD 137, CD, 1995, recorded 1971-1974)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals), Diane Stewart (occasional vocals)
This collection of radio sessions from 1971 to 1974 showcases both unusual twists on familiar material and previously obscure songs (such as Kevin Ayers’s ‘Clarence In Wonderland’, with its author in the line-up). Whether it demonstrates Gong at their very best is debatable – I’d say they they were much tighter and more assertive on their studio albums – but this is still a fine collection of tracks. GRADE: B–.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): In The Seventies (Voiceprint VP406CD, CD, with digipak, 2006, recorded 1971-1974)

Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
This interesting compilation of offcuts open with nine excellently recorded songs from an undated show (though I’d put money on it being early 1974) followed by a couple of Camembert Électrique rehearsals and a couple more for Angel’s Egg, finishing with some earlier live stuff from circa 1972. All the material is superb – truly peak Gong – making for one of their best retrospective releases. GRADE: B.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Live À Lyons (Ottersongs OT7, cassette, 1981, recorded 1972)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
This December 1972 gig by the Flying Teapot line-up includes early run-throughs of several pieces that would appear on that album. There’s also a good smattering of older stuff: from Camembert Électrique, from Daevid Allen’s Bananamoon, even from Soft Machine, adding up to a varied and enjoyable set. Bizarrely, it ends with a catchy eighties electropop song that doesn’t appear to be anything to do with Gong; it isn’t clear how this ended up on the master tape. Equally oddly, the first issue incorrectly dates the show to 1974, lists the wrong songs and credits the wrong line-up; this was corrected for the reissue (as Live At Lyon Pt 1).

GRADE: B–.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): Live À Lyons Part Two (Ottersongs OT15, cassette, 1982, recorded 1972)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
The second part of the Lyons show (though Tim Blake has speculated that the track listing must mean that at least part was taken from a different gig) centres around long jams based on ‘The Flying Teapot’ and ‘Blues For Findlay’, plus a pointless and amateurish drum solo from Laurie Allan. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of good stuff here, showcasing the wilder side of the band’s repertoire as opposed to the more playful stuff on the first volume. GRADE: B–.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Live At Angers 1972 (GAS GL1, cassette, 1992, recorded 1972)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals), Diane Stewart (backing vocals)
Recorded in November 1972, this features a fair chunk of the forthcoming The Flying Teapot (though in radically different embryonic versions, and played by an earlier line-up without Steve Hillage, Francis Moze or Tim Blake). There are also fine versions of a couple of Camembert Électrique numbers and ‘Blues For Findlay’, plenty of improvisation and even a drum solo that appears to send the audience into raptures. The result is one of the most interesting live Gong cassettes. GRADE: B.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Live At Mallacoff (Ottersongs OT 16, cassette, 1982, recorded 1972)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
Recorded in December 1972, just before the band entered the studio to record The Flying Teapot, this features a couple of embryonic Teapot numbers and a fair chunk of Camembert Électrique. Occasionally a little ponderous, it’s mostly an excellent live set, with decent (though not outstanding) sound quality. GRADE: B–.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Gong On Acid (Voiceprint BMOVP06CD, CD, with minisleeve, 2008, recorded 1973)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
According to the back cover, this archive release consists of remixed excerpts from Gong In The Seventies but it’s difficult to confirm the provenance of all the material. The end result is a 68-minute tapestry of music, production effects and spoken word – all very impressionistic, trippy and acidic as the album name suggests. As such, its listenability isn’t in question; its usefulness and authenticity are a slightly different matter. GRADE: B–.
Gong (UK/France/Australia): Live Au Bataclan 1973 (Mantra 025, CD, France, 1990, recorded 1973)
Jazz/Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
If I’m correct, excerpts were culled from this concert for Live Etc; this appears to be just about the whole thing. There’s a reasonable amount of unrecorded material here, and not everything works brilliantly, but this is an important and mostly very effective concert document. GRADE: B.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Live À Longlaville 27/10/1974 (Madfish SMACD, double CD, with digipak and booklet, 2021, recorded 1974)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Miquette Giraudy (occasional vocals)
This recently unearthed Gong gig features superb sound quality (aside from a little tape hiss) and showcases the band at its spaciest – all twittering synthesisers and trancy grooves. With a pleasing cross-section of material, it’s simply a wonderful addition to their catalogue. GRADE: B.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Live At Sheffield 1974 (Mantra 024, CD, 1990, recorded 1974 & 1989)
Jazz/Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive
Wandana Arrowheart (occasional vocals), Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals)
Most of this excellent live set focuses on Camembert Électrique, Flying Teapot and improvised material, with excellent sound quality; however, the closing ‘Titicaca’ was recorded at the Glastonbury Festival in 1989 and is clearly a performance by Gongmaison rather than Gong proper. The musicians for this track, which is lovely ethnic folk in a completely different vein to the rest of the LP, are uncredited, but the female vocalist is presumably Wandana Arrowheart. GRADE: B.
Gong (France/UK/Argentina): Live In Sherwood Forest ’75 (Major League Productions MLP09CD, CD, 2009, recorded 1975)
Jazz/Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive
Miquette Giraudy (occasional vocals), Mireille Bauer (percussion)
This historically important document showcases the transitional line-up between You and Shamal, with the band fronted by Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy and performing a mixture of You, Fish Rising and then-unrecorded material. With decent sound quality, it’s an enjoyable show, so it’s a pity they excised ‘Bambooji’ and some stage dialogue to fit the set onto a single disc. GRADE: B–.
Gong (France/UK/Argentina): Paris Bataclan (Gonzo Multimedia HST161CD, CD, 2014, recorded 1976)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Mireille Bauer (percussion)
One of two archive releases from the early 1976 tour to promote Shamal, this rather short live album features a mixture of material from that LP and its predecessor. With adequate but not spectacular sound quality, it’s a solid enough set, though things only really catch fire on a segue of ‘Isle Of Everywhere’, a drum solo and ‘Get It Inner’. Why they didn’t issue the whole gig, I’m unsure, but the edits at the beginning and end of the opening ‘Cat in Clark’s Shoes’ are pretty obvious, suggesting that there were recording problems. GRADE: B–.
Gong (France/UK/Argentina): Sheffield City Hall (Gonzo Multimedia HST160CD, CD, 2014, recorded 1976)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Mireille Bauer (percussion)
For this longer recording of a later date from the same tour, the sound quality is decidedly less than adequate: although apparently an official release, this sounds like an above-average bootleg. That’s a pity, as it’s musically excellent and would have deserved a B with studio sound quality. GRADE: B–.

Gong (UK/France/Australia): Love From The Planet Gong (Virgin/UMC 675 890-1, 12CD plus DVD, with folios, book, booklet, posters, stickers and slipcase, 2019, recorded 1973-1975)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (occasional vocals), Miquette Giraudy (occasional vocals, percussion), Diane Stewart (occasional vocals), Mireille Bauer (percussion)
This mammoth repackage of the band’s early Virgin years features remastered versions of The Flying TeapotAngel’s EggYou and Shamal (respectively a B, B, B+ and B), each with bonus tracks (previously unreleased in the case of The Flying Teapot and Shamal; from the earlier remasters in the case of the other two). There are also eight discs of live material: one featuring live tracks used as BBC radio sessions (and later on Live Etc) plus two cuts from the Edinburgh Festival (B); two discs of the band live at the Paris Bataclan in May 1973, with both superb music and sound quality (B+); another two discs of the band live in Roanne in August 1973 (not quite as good in either performance or audio terms, though still a pretty impressive B); a single disc from Hyde Park in August 1974 (just about a B+, and I wish they’d played for double the time); and two discs compiled from two nights in September 1975 at the Marquee Club, featuring the short-lived Steve Hillage line-up (a bit ponderous in parts, but superb in others, so overall a B). Finally, there is a DVD featuring two different 1974 quadraphonic mixes of side one of You (the Pye version is better, to my ears), a modern quad upmix of side two, and the album in hi-res stereo. It all adds up to a stunning overview of the most prolific period in the life of a truly great band. GRADE: B.
Gong (UK/France/Australia/Turkey): Gong On French TV (Gonzo Multimedia HST037DVD, UK, 2011, recorded 1971-1973)
Jazz/Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive
Gilli Smyth (joint lead vocals)
This fascinating compilation of early footage features a selection of TV clips from between 1971 and 1973 – oddly, the earlier ones in colour and the later ones in black-and-white. These range from live performances of material both familiar (‘I Never Glid Before’, ‘I Am Your Pussy’, ‘Dynamite/I Am Your Animal’, ‘Fohat Digs Holes In Space’) and unknown to a documentary about the band’s planned relocation from France to the UK. Whilst some segments are more enjoyable than others, this is overall an invaluable treasure trove for the Gong aficionado. GRADE: B–.
See also Acid Mothers Gong, Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO, Daevid Allen, Orlando Allen, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Birds, Graham Bond, Cosmic Sonic Tag Team, Casino Cotton, Édition Spéciale, Forgas Band Phenomena, Glo, Goddess Trance, Gongmaison, Steve Hillage, Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet, Mady Gula Blue Heaven, Mirror System, Mother Gong, Pardons, Planet Gong, Rebel Powers, Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes, Gilli Smyth, Spirits Burning, System 7, Harry Williamson, Steve York’s Carmelo Pardalis

Andrea Gonzalez (Argentina): Shopping (No label, CD, with circular can and insert, 2012)
Progressive
Andrea Gonzalez (keyboards)
The packaging is sublime – a stickered tin can containing the CD and a circular insert with credits – but the actual disc runs for a mere 21 minutes. Musically, this is keyboard-led progressive rock, though with five tracks spanning two to five minutes there are no wild tempo changes, virtuosic solos or extended freakouts. Nonetheless, this is pleasant stuff, neatly avoiding the bombast often associated with keyboard prog. GRADE: C+.
Andrea Gonzalez (Argentina): Progresivo Instrumental (No label, CD, with circular can and insert, 2017)
Progressive
Andrea Gonzalez (keyboards)
Another fancy tin can package; another short album (this one lasting a whopping 33 minutes); another collection of short instrumentals that resemble library music more than anything. Once again, this is pleasant stuff: well structured, performed and recorded, but conspicuously lacking in fire or flair. GRADE: C+.

Good Egg (UK): Somewhat Poached (Fowl HEN 1, 1980)
Folk
Liz Bailey (joint lead vocals)
I’ve seen this rather late private pressing compared to Steeleye Span in dealer lists, but in reality there’s no resemblance. It’s typical folk club fare, with acoustic guitar (plus occasional flute and dulcimer) backing on an eclectic range of material, from ‘Space Oddity’ to ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’, ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight’, ‘After The Goldrush’ and ‘Send In The Clowns’. GRADE: C.

Good Morning (Sweden): Sister Rain (Kommun 2:12.2011, first fifty with autographed lithograph, 2011)
Progressive/Psychedelic
Issued in a run of 500 copies in a handsome gatefold sleeve (the first fifty with individually numbered and signed artwork), this superb album features an astounding side-long version of the traditional folk number ‘House Carpenter’. The two self-penned pieces on the second side inevitably aren’t quite as good, but they’re still highly impressive, packed with powerful rock jamming owing a heavy debt to Krautrock. By any standard, this is a superb record and I can predict it will be one of the most expensive modern releases in ten years’ time. GRADE: B.

Good News (UK): New Life (BBC RESR 29S, 1972)
Rock
Ellen Schram (occasional vocals, tambourine)
One glance at the band on the back cover in their Salvation Army uniforms, and you’d expect this to be a straightlaced, formal Christian folk LP. Big mistake. In fact, it’s mostly a mixture of late beat and psych-tinged pop, at times recalling everyone from the Grateful Dead to Little Feat or the Rolling Stones, given distinction by consistently excellent lead guitar work. However, the opening cut is in a different league altogether – drenched in fuzz guitar, it stands as one of the finest Christian psychedelic tracks committed to vinyl. Although this was released on a full national label, it was apparently only pressed and distributed for use in schools, making it extremely rare today.

GRADE: C+.

Douglas Good & Ginny Plenty (USA): The World Of Good And Plenty (Senate 21001, 1967)
Pop
Pleasant but inconsequential big-production hipster pop packaged in a stunning psychedelic sleeve. Sometimes they resemble the more baroque or theatrical end of the Mamas & The Papas’ repertoire, whilst at others they emulate various sunshine pop acts of the day. All the songs were written by co-producer Tony Romeo, with no input from the duo themselves; he later went on to perform the same service for Trout. GRADE: C.

Goretti Group, Holy Name Convent School Choir, Olympia Thunderbirds & Texaco Dixieland Steel Orchestra (Trinidad & Tobago): Sing Out My Soul (Atman LPS 156, 1972?)
Folk/Rock
This unusual album combines two folk choirs, a beat combo and a steel drum ensemble in different combinations on the various tracks, creating one of the more unusual school project-type LPs you’ll ever hear. If you like teenage female folk and don’t mind religious lyrics, this has just enough of a local flavour to make it a fascinating addition to your collection – assuming you ever encounter a copy. GRADE: C+.

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): Patio (Ankst ANKST 040, 10", 1993)
Pop/Garage/Psychedelic
Megan Childs (violin)
Compiling demos and live tracks recorded while the band were still at school, Patio offers charmingly naïve lo-fi garage pop with Welsh lyrics and lots of psychedelic touches. Mixing in plenty of sound effects and constantly changing style, it’s a winsome and intriguing record, though I wouldn’t go as far as John Cale, who proclaimed it his favourite album of all time. Subsequent CD reissues added copious bonus tracks, which are also well worth hearing. GRADE: C+.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): Tatay (Anskt 047, CD, 1994)
Pop/Garage/Psychedelic
Megan Childs (occasional vocals, violin)
Every bit as eccentric than Patio, this is another highly whimsical folky, trippy pop creation. Taking influences from both sixties Mutantes and post-punk psychedelic revivalists like Deep Freeze Mice, the band offer a wide range of musical pastiches and a plethora of catchy tunes. This isn’t the heaviest, most profound or most serious album in the world, but most of its ideas are interesting and most of its experiments work well. GRADE: C+.

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): Bwyd Time (Ankst CD 059, CD, 1995)
Pop/Psychedelic
Megan Childs (violin, viola, backing vocals)
Charting the band’s artistic development across its first three albums is difficult: the progression is pretty subtle, with the same central ethos of eccentricity, imagination and sheer good fun. Bwyd Time tones down the garage edges somewhat (or perhaps it’s simply that they could afford better recording facilities now) and adds a more symphonic edge, with a few Canterbury touches here and there, but it’s largely business as usual and thoroughly good fun as always. GRADE: C+.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): Barafundle (Fontana 534 769-2. CD, 1997)
Folk/Pop/Psychedelic
Megan Childs (keyboards, percussion, violin, backing vocals)
Whilst this is recognisably the work of the same band, it’s somewhat different from their earlier albums. For a start, it’s nearly all sung in English and for the first time folk influences at the centre of their sound, with some prominent mediaeval touches and a definite Incredible String Band influence. Further, the tracks are all discrete, without the band’s familiar linking sound effects, though the level of eccentricity is as high as ever. The English vocals also serve to confirm whose voice Euros Childs’s plaintive singing recalls – it’s Richard Sinclair’s.

GRADE: C+.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): Gorky 5 (Fontana 588 822-2, CD, 1998)
Singer/Songwriter/Rock/Psychedelic
Megan Childs (violin, viola, backing vocals)
Their imaginatively-titled fifth album marks a radical change of direction: the folky elements from Barafundle are gone, as is the playfulness and eccentric that marked all their work to date. Instead, there’s a singer/songwriter mood here, spiced up with a few psychedelic touches and offering a fair degree of variety but at heart rather conventional and sedate. It’s all nicely done, with some good string arrangements, but this is certainly their least interesting release to date. GRADE: C+.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): Spanish Dance Troupe (Mantra MNTCD 1015, CD, with slipcase, 1999)
Singer/Songwriter/Rock/Psychedelic
Megan Childs
Similar to Gorky 5 but more eccentric, this is another charming album from the band. However, like all their work, its cheerful, varied, inviting sheen doesn’t conceal a great deal of substance. GRADE: C+.

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): The Blue Trees (Mantra MNTCDM 1023, CD, 2000)

Folk
Megan Childs
This 23-minute mini-album is by far the band’s folkiest release, consisting of entirely acoustic songs. Pretty and delicate, it demonstrates the high quality of their songwriting and represents an enjoyable sidestep from their usual style. GRADE: C+.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart (Mantra MNTCD 1025, CD, with slipcase, 2001)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Megan Childs (occasional vocals, keyboards, vibraphone, violin)
Among their best releases, this is lovely folky pop with a strong Paul McCartney influence. As normal, there’s nothing terribly original or profound here, but Euros Childs clearly learned his pop songwriting craft from the very best. GRADE: C+.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (UK): Sleep/Holiday (Sanctuary SANCD1 183, CD, with slipcase, 2003)
Pop
Megan Childs
The band’s final album again brings Paul McCartney to mind, with its procession of catchy, wistful folk and country-tinged pop songs. The lengthy ‘Pretty As A Bee’, with its Pink Floyd-like guitars, is possibly the highpoint, but it’s an accomplished LP throughout. GRADE: C+.

Gott (Germany): Die Erde Vom Monde Aus Gesehen (n.Ur-Kult 050, CD, 1998)
Pop/Folk/Psychedelic
This obscure album consists of rather good psychedelic pop with folky edges, gentle female singing and some mildly avant-garde moments. With an all-male line-up, the band had cut a split album with the equally obscure Krone Der Gastlichkeit five years earlier (n.Ur-Kult 009). GRADE: C+.