Brian Auger & Trinity

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1970)

- Brian Auger -- vocals, keyboards

Dave Ambrose -- bass 

NEW - Gary Boyle -- lead guitar, vocals

- Clive Thacker -- drums, percussion


  supporting musicians: (1970)

- Colin Allen -- drums, percussion

- Barry Reeves -- drums, percussion

- Roger Sutton -- bass

- Mickey Waller -- drums, percussion




- Brian Auger's Oblivion Express

- Peter B's Looners (Dave Ambrose)

- Jeff Beck Group (Dave Ambrose)

- The Booker T's (Dave Ambrose)

- Greg Boyle (solo efforts)

- Centipede (Julie Tippetts)

- The Dedication Orchestra (Julie Tippetts)

- Doggerel Bank (Gary Boyle)

- Julie Driscoll (solo efforts)

- Isotope (Gary Boyle)

- Roland Kovac New Set (Brian Auger)

- Keith and Julie Tippet (Julie Tippetts)

- Nucleus (Clive Thacker)

- Ovary Lodge (Julie Tippetts)

- RoTTor (Julie Tippetts)

- The Shotgun Express (Dave Ambrose)

- Steampacket (Dave Ambrose, Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll and

   Clive Thacker)

- Voice (Julie Tippetts)

- Stomu Yamashta's East Wind (Greg Boyle)






Genre: jazz-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Befour

Company: RCA Victor

Catalog: LPS 4372

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: US pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $25.00


I'll readily admit to be surprised by how much I like 1970's "Befour."   Over the years I'd owned a bunch of Brian Auger albums, but never been that impressed by his jazzy keyboard moves.  That meant I never held on to his albums.  When I bought this one at a yard sale, I did it with the intent of selling it after giving it a spin.  Needless to say,  it sat in my "listen to" pile for a couple of years.  And then for some reason, I decided to give it a spin on a snowy Sunday afternoon.


Produced by Auger, the first thing I noticed was the absence of lead singer Julie Driscoll.  Admittedly I wasn't her biggest fan, but anyone familiar with the band's earlier releases (including 1969's "Streetnoise") will know that she was a major part of their sound.  Along with the loss of Driscoll's voice went the band's pop-psych sound.  In an odd personnel move, Driscoll was replaced by lead guitarist/vocalist Gary Boyle.  Boyle's addition to the line-up also saw The Trinity mutate into a largely instrumental outfit.  Across the album's seven performance there were only three vocals - the original 'Just You Just Me' (the album's most commercial offering),  their Sly Stone cover 'I Wanna Take You Higher' and the Traffic cover 'No Time to Live.'  Replacing their earlier sound, exemplified by tracks like 'Maiden Voyage' and 'Listen Here', and '', this time out Auger and company embraced a jazz-rock orientation.  It's not a musical genre I'm all that excited by, but their initial efforts weren't bad since they avoided the technical navel gazing that plagues so much of the genre.   Even though it clocked in at over nine minutes, their rocked-up cover of Eddie Harris' Look Up' and the other three instrumentals were all tight, well performed and worth hearing.  Perhaps because I'm a big Focus fan, I found the album's two classical adaptations to be worth checking out - Gabriel Faure's 'Pavane' and Remo Giazotto 'Adagio per Archi e Organo.'


"Befour" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Wanna Take You Higher (Sylvester Stewart) - 5:08 rating: *** stars

Here's what the liner notes said about the lead-off track: "Clive [Thacker] brought back the "Sly and the Family Stone" album from the States and played it to us at rehearsals asking us to listen specially to 'Higher.'  The whole thing blew our minds and so we've been trying to play something approaching the same groove ever since."  I'll readily admit my expectations for their Sly and the Family Stone cover were low.  While their arrangement wasn't drastically different, Auger's gravelly voice held up nicely and fans of his Hammond B-3 were treated to a nice mid-song solo.  Is it going to make you forget the classic original?  No way, but give them credit for daring to take a stab at the song.  One of the album's  least jazzy efforts, it wasn't too hard to understand why this one was tapped as a single:

- 1970's 'I Wanna Take You Higher' b/w 'Just You, Just Me' (RCA Victor catalog number RCA 1947)


Not sure when, or where it was recorded and be warned both the sound and video quality are lousy, but YouTube has a black and white performance of the tune: Brian Auger & the Trinity - I Wanna Take You Higher (

2.) Pavane (instrumental) (Gabriel Faure) - 3:49 rating: *** stars

Their updated cover of Gabriel Faure's 'Pavane' was interesting.  While I'm not a big classical music fan, I was familiar with Faure's composition.  About all I can say is I was hard pressed to recognize the original melody.  Imagine Focus doing one of their patented classical covers.  Auger's comments on the tune: "This is a composition by the French classical composer Gabriel Faure and we have tried to maintain the classical sound in our arrangement.  The melody is very strong and we fall upon it like a pack of hounds and bay at its heels to the final note."

3.) No Time to Live (Jim Capaldi - Steve Winwood) - 5:27 rating: **** stars

This is one of those tunes where I'm torn between affection for the original and the cover.  Off the 1968 "Traffic" album, the original features a stunning Steve Winwood vocal and truly heartbreaking lyrics and  arrangement.  In contrast, Boyle's vocals stayed true to the original melody, but speeding the song up a notch served to underscore the song's melodic content.   (Johnny Winter does also did a nice version as well.)  "For me one of the most beautiful tunes from the repertoire of Traffic.  Gary makes his vocal debut and provides some tasteful guitar, and I've been dying to play a solo on this tune ever since I first heard it.  For me this is the track that breathes."

4.) Maiden Voyage (instrumental) (Herbie Hancock) - 5:00 rating: *** stars

Yeah, folks were hear for Auger's B-3 moves, but to be honest, Gary Boyle's thick, sustained jazzy guitar chords provide the highlights on the band's atmospheric Herbie Hancock cover.  "By Herbie Hancock a rare and gifted pianist.  We recorded the number before we played it on stage and we were thinking of recording it again because it changed so much after a while on the road.  But we decided to leave the original as our Maiden Voyage.  Our performance is for two of the best American people are ever liable to meet.  San Francisco I hope it paints nice pictures for you."


(side 2)
Listen Here (instrumental) (Eddie Harris) - 9:25 rating: **** stars

Another showcase for guitarist Boyle, clocking in at over nine minutes, their "rocked-up" cover of Eddie Harris' 'Listen Here' was reportedly recorded live in a single take.  The presence off outside musicians Colin Allen, Barry Reeves and Mickey Waller on drums and  Roger Sutton on bass certainly contributed to this being the album's "heaviest" performance.  Hard for me to understand how any group could capture this pounding groove in one live take ...  It's also one of the few rock songs where the drum solos (note the plural), doesn't bother me.  And for those of you who didn't think subtlety was in Auger' catalog, he displays it here on his Jimmy Smith styled Hammond solos.  No idea when, or where it was recorded, but YouTube as a brief live version of the song (without the additional players) at: Brian Auger - Listen Here "LIVE" (1970) (   A heavily edited version of the song was released as a single:

- 1970's 'Listen Here' b/w 'I Wanna Take You Higher' (RCA Victor catalog number 74-0381)


"This was an experiment with four drummers.  The idea was to split down the rock beat and give each part e.g. cymbal rhythms, snare drum rhythms, bass drum, rhythm and fill-ins to each drummer to play with his whole kit.  The result is like having one gigantic drum kit!  It allows us to stretch out.  Gary solos first, then a piano solo to lighten the mood a little, then each drummer plays four bar breaks in the following order: Mickey Waller, Barry Reeves, Clive Thacker, Mickey Waller again, Barry Reeves, Colin Allen and then as an ensemble fill to kick us into an extended organ solo.  That was done in one rehearsal and one take, because I wanted the thing to be as fresh as possible.  The groove, we decided, gets a bit "elastic" here and there but we had a ball doing it and as an experiment it doesn't come off to badly at all!!"

2.) Adagio per Archi e Organo (Remo Giazotto) - 3:30 rating: *** stars

The history of the song is actually more interesting than the tune.  Frequently credited to Italian composer Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, Giazotto claiming to have "interpreted" the tune from a fragment of music he found in the Dresden Saxon State Library.  The Library was bombed by the allies during World War II and Giazotto somehow obtained access to a fragment of the Albinoni manuscript.  Today most folks think it was all a hoax.  Regardless, even if you don't recognize the song, there's a good chance you'll recognize the post-Baroque melody since it's been featured in dozens of movies (including "Flashdance").  Another tune where the classical influences remind me of the Focus catalog.  

3.) Just You, Just Me (Brian Auger) - 6:26 rating: **** stars

The album's lone original, the Auger penned 'Just You Just Me' was also the album's most readily commercial performance.  Built on a nifty little riff and showcasing how catchy Auger's voice could be, it's amazing the tune was only released in Spain as a single.  



- 1970's 'Just You Just me' (aka 'Solo Tu, Solo Yo') b/w '' (RCA catalog number 3-10651)


Auger's description: "The latest song that we have composed and recorded.  After my vocal the solos pivot around Dave who holds the bass figure.  The idea was to create some space and calm and leave you to paint your own scenery."






The album did little commercially and by the end of the year Auger had put an end to the band.  He quickly reappeared with the more jazz-rock oriented Brian Auger's Oblivions Express.


For hardcore Auger fans, in addition to the US release,  there are at least four different album covers - as far as I know they all share the same track listings and running orders.