Graham Bond

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1963)

- Ginger Baker -- drums, percussion

- Graham Bond (RIP 1974) -- vocals, keyboards, sax

- Jack Bruce -- vocals, bass

- John McLaughlin -- guitar 


  line up 2 (1963=66)

- Ginger Baker -- drums, percussion

- Graham Bond (RIP 1974) -- vocals, keyboards, sax

- Jack Bruce -- vocals, bass

NEW - Dick Heckstall-Smith (RIP 2004) -- sax


  line up 2 (1966-67)

- Graham Bond (RIP 1974) -- vocals, keyboards, sax

- Dick Heckstall-Smith (RIP 2004) -- sax

NEW - Jon Hiseman -- drums, percussion (replaced Ginger Baker)


  line up xx ()

- Aliki Ashman -- vocals

- Keith Bailey -- drums, percussion  

- Big Pete Bailey -- percussion 

- Graham Bond -- vocals, sax, organ, piano

- Annette Brox -- vocals

- Victor Brox -- vocals, keyboards, tibetan dhong, pocket cornet,


- Alex Dmochowski -- bass

- Rick Gretch -- bass

- John Gross -- tenor sax

- Godfrey McLean -- drums, percussion

- John Morsehead -- guitar

- Jerry Salisbury -- cornet

- Kevin Stacey -- guitar

- Diane Stewart -- vocals, gong 

- Steve York -- bass 



Ginger Baker's Air Force

- Coliseum (Dick Heckstall-Smith and Jon Hiseman)

- The Graham Bond Organization

- John Dummer Blues Band

- Holy Magick (Graham Bond)

- Alexis Koerner's Blues Incorporate

- John McLaughlin (solo efforts)

- Don Randell Quintet


Genre: jazz-rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Solid Bond

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: 2LS-2555

Year: 1971

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: double LP; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2343

Price: $40.00

Cost: $1.00


I wish I knew more about Graham Bond's catalog, but his early work is simply too pricey for my limited budget (which made me extremely happy to stumble on this double album set at a yard sale).


A 12 track, double album set, 1971's "Solid Bond" is one of those album's that you'd describe as having a troubled birth.   The project was initiated in 1966, with Polydor providing Bond and company (at the time drummer Jon Hiseman, sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith, and guitarist John McLaughlin) 500 Pounds to record an album.  Bond and company went into the studio recording a mixture of new material, covers, and three remakes of  earlier Graham Bond Organization tunes ('Walkin' In the Park', 'Last Night', and 'Neighbour Neighbour').  Unfortunately before the album could be released, Polydor management lost interest in the project and the tapes were shelved until 1970 when they were sold to Warner Brothers.


Clearly hoping to recoup their earlier investment by playing up the involvement of Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce in the earlier Graham Bond Organization, in 1970 Warner Brothers management decided to release a double album set.  The 1966 tapes were rounded out by the1964 Graham Bond Organization single Long Legged Baby' and three live tracks recorded by the Graham Bond Quartet.  Certainly uneven, the compilation still served as a nice introduction to Bond's mix of gritty R&B and jazzy horn-propelled moves.  Overlooking the fact nobody in the States had a clue who Bond was, the album's biggest problems stemmed from the fact  Bond's six jazz fans weren't going to be enthralled by the R&B-flavored tracks, while his R&B fans weren't going to like the hardcore jazz material.  Sure, the three 1963 tracks were interesting in that they featured the famed Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce line-up.   Along with guitarist John McLaughlin, working their way through some basic jazz jams, the results were certainly competent, but unless you were a major fan, most folks weregoing to survive without hearing the extended 'The Grass Is Greener', a seemingly endless cover of Sonny Rollins' 'Doxy', or the Jack Bruce penned 'Ho Ho Country Kicking Blues'.  Recorded after Baker and Bruce had joined Eric Clapton in Cream, the 1966 tracks incorporated a stronger R&B /rock component and were far more interesting to my ears.  I've always found it interesting that Bond's voice takes a lot of abuse from the critics who claim Bruce should have handled most of the vocals.  Personally, on tracks like 'Springtime In The City', 'Can't Stand It' and 'It's Not Goodbye' Bond's dark, pseudo-threatening growl proved every bit as good as Bruce's high pitched screech.  Any father hearing Bond's lecherous reading of 'Only Sixteen' would probably go looking for his gun ...  


"Solid Bond" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Green Onions (instrumental)  (Booker T. Jones - Steve Cropper - Al Jackson - Lewie Steinberg) - 5:15   rating: *** stars

The Graham Bond Organization originally released this one in 1964.  Showcasing lots of Dick Hecstall-Smith sax ,this re-recording was considerably jazzier than either the original  MG's version, or Bond's previous cover.  There wasn't anything wrong with the update, but why would you want to hear anything other than the original?

2.) Springtime In The City   (Graham Bond) - 3:11  rating: *** stars

Propelled by Bond's hammond B-3 organ, the jazzy, slightly funky 'Springtime In the City' was an okay tune, but I have to admit, Bond's growling voice seldom sounded as good as on this tune ...

3.) Can't Stand It   (Graham Bond) - 5:07   rating: *** stars

To my ears a song that opens up with church organ is hard to resist ... Bond at his bluesiest.


(side 2)
1.) Only Sixteen   (Graham Bond) - 5:02   rating: **** stars

As mentioned, 'Only Sixteen' had a dark, disturbing edge.  If you were the parent of a 16 year old daughter, this one probably gave you nightmares.   I'm guessing the frenetic drumming was courtesy of Ginger Baker ...  

2.) Last Night (instrumental)   (The Marr-Keys) - 3:38   rating: *** stars

A track originally found on The Graham Bond Organization's debut "There's a Bond Between Us" LP.  Nice cover, but hardly an improvement on the original.

3.) Long Legged Baby   (Graham Bond) - 3:12   rating: *** stars

Another 1964 tune, which had also been released as a 1964 single.  Nice example of Bonds' mid-'60s R&B infatuation.

- 1964's 'Long Legged Baby' b/w 'Long Tall Shorty' (Decca catalog number F-11909)

4.) Walkin' In The Park   (Graham Bond) - 3:04   rating; *** stars

Another remake of a Graham Bond Organization tune and this rollicking version was probably the best of the three remakes.


(side 3)

1.) It's Not Goodbye   (Graham Bond)  - 4:58   rating; **** stars

Another prime example of the menacing edge in Bond's work ...   Jazzy, but with a nice rock edge and probably my pick for the album's best performance.   

2.) Neighbour Neighbour   (Graham Bond) - 3:13   rating; **** stars

Another Graham Bond Organization tune, the Bond-penned 'Neighbour Neighbour' captured Bond and company at their best.  

3.) Ho Ho Country Kicking Blues (instrumental)   (Jack Bruce) - 7:55   rating: ** stars

The Graham Bond Quartet recorded live at a 1963 performance at London's Klooks Kleek club ...  Straight ahead jazz with Bond on sax.    


(side 4)

1.) The Grass Is Greener (instrumental)   (Graham Bond - John McLaughlin) - 9:30   rating: ** stars

Geez, almost ten minutes of hipster jazz.   Okay f may have featured Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, but zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

2.) Doxy (instrumental)    (Sonny Rollins) - 11:13   rating: ** stars

Geez, eleven minutes seems to go on forever ...


While there's a ton of Bond material on the internet, one of the best is found at:





Genre: jazz-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Holy Magick

Company: Mercury

Catalog: SR 61327

Year: 1970

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $40.00


I'd argue that today 1970's "Holy Magick" is sought after more for it infamy  than for being a good, or enjoyable album.  Released at a point in his life where Graham Bond was increasing unstable and probably should have been under professional care, let me warn you this is a difficult album to sit through.  Having listened to the album a couple of times, musically it's a pretty bland mixture of progressive and blues-rock moves.  It had a live, in-the-studio improvisation vibe to it.  Essentially a collaboration with new wife, singer and fellow occultist Diane Stewart, side one is full of Thalamic themes including chanting and stream-of-conscious droning.  Was Bond serious in his fascination with "white magic" and mysticism.   Beats me, but lyrically it sounds boring and dated, though many people are going to find it's apparent trashing of Christian beliefs offensive.  I've seen the descriptor "profane" used in several reviews.  Will you go to hell for listening to "Holy Magic"?  Doubtful, but you may feel like hell if you paid big bucks for a strong copy.  And while the Satanic themes are offensive, I find it equally disturbing that an obviously ill Graham Bond was allowed to sign a big label recording contract.  Hearing the album leaves me with an imagine of a big company simply sucking the last breathes of life out of a sick man in the hopes of profit.  Sad, but not surprising.  In some ways it reminds me of the story of Wild Man Fisher.


Taken from the inner sleeve liner notes, here's what Bond had to say about the collection:


"I have been very fortunate in my musical career of having worked with probably the most vital musicians of my time, naturally standing out before all others are Ginger Baker (who I am now happily associated with again in his group Airforce).  Also Jack Bruce and Dick Heckstall-Smith who were in the original Graham Bond Organization.  The wonderful Nigerian trumpet player Mikael Fellana and John McLaughlin at present with Tony Williams 'Life Time'.  Then  of course Jon Hisemen who now leads the Colosseum with Dick Heckstall-Smith and many artists of great stature such as Mitch Mitchell, Rick Gretch, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall, Johnny Almond, Buddy Miles, James McCarty, Stevie Winwood and others too numerous to mention.  That leads us to the purpose of this record,  I feel that all musicians who played on this recorded (including my wife who contributed so much) played so well that it would be impossible to single out almost anyone for special praise except perhaps Keith Bailey who played drums with me in "Initiation" which I formed on my return to England in August 1969.  At the age of 21, I believe he will soon have realized his considerable potential shown in his work with me both live and on this record.  And also Victor Box.  Our work is done for the present but we can assure you there is much more to come and we hope that you the listener receive as much enjoyment and knowledge from this record as we did making it."





Original UK Vertigo gatefold sleeve release (catalog number 6360 021)


Bond and his then-wife Diane Stewart poising at Stonehenge.





"Holy Magick" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Holy Magick (Suite)  (Graham Bond) - 23:14  rating: *** stars

Meditation Aumgn

The Qabilistic Cross

The Word Of The Aeon

Invocation To The Light

The Pentagram Ritual

Qabalistic Cross

Hymn Of Praise

12 Gates To The City

The Holy Words Iao Sabao (These Are The Words)

Aquarius Mantra (In Egyptian)

Enochian (Atlantean) Call


The Word Of The Aeon

Praise "City Of Light";

The Qabalistic Cross


Clocking in at over 23 minutes, the sidelong title track opened up sounding like Bond and company had gotten lost trying to buy hash in some Moroccan kasbah.  Featuring atmospheric music with a mixture of English and foreign (Atlean and Egyptian?) chants, you kept expecting an Indiana Jones film clip to appear.  And then about two and a half minutes into the song the band kicked in with a wild and wailing attack that sounding like the hash was starting to kick in.  I've always liked Bond's raw and ragged voice and he sounded in fine form here.  Wish I could say the same for Stewart who sounded out of tune and shrill.  Yeah, it was hard to take it all too seriously and the chants were indecipherable ('Abragadabr'), but after awhile the band got into a semi-catchy groove that reminded me modestly of something King Sunny Ade might have cut.  For hardcore fans, a better version of '12 Gates To the City' appeared on Ginger Baker's Air Force1970 "Air Force 2."


(side 2)
Return Of Arthur  (Graham Bond) - 5:04  rating: ** stars

Hum, setting the tale of King Arthur returning to save England to a pedestrian electric blues arrangement didn't strike me as a particularly inspiring concept.  Having listen to the track a half dozen times, take my word for it - it wasn't.

2.) The Magician  (Graham Bond) - 4:02   rating: *** stars

'The Magician' served as the album's musical outlier.  Yeah, it was another slice of jazzy blues-rock, but Bond's growling voice paired with one of the album's stronger melodies - well until the horns went out of control.  Goodness, I hope the chaos was not a reflection of what Bond was confronting in his head.

3.) The Judgment   (Diane Stewart) - 4:46   rating: ** stars

One of two songs written by Bond's then-wife Diane Stewart, 'The Judgment' slowed everything down and shifted the sound in a bluesy direction.  While the song wasn't anything special, it did serve to showcase what a strong voice Bond had.

4.) My Archangel Mikael   (Diane Stewart) - 4:10   rating: ** stars

'My Archangel Mikael' ended the album with another Stewart-composed blues tune, but this time out Bond sounded tired, wobbly and unfocused.