Band members Related acts
- Darius (aka Robert Ott) (RIP 2006) -- vocals
- Bobby Joe Ott
Rating: 4 stars ****
Country/State: Cleveland, Ohio
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: minor ring and edge wear; radio station call letters and date written in black ink on the back cover ('KRHM 2/69'); letters are about 1 inch high; not all that noticeable
Catalog ID: 4985
I originally bought a reissue copy of this and have to admit that I just didn't get it. In spite of playing the album several times, it just didn't make much of an impression on me. I figured I'd been had by dealer hype one more time. Jump ahead several years and I found an original copy at a give away price and figured I'd buy it simply to resell it. It subsequently sat in my 'to sell' pile for a year waiting to be cleaned and play graded. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my original impressions were dead wrong!
So what can I tell you about this guy? Well his given name was Robert Joe Ott and he was apparently originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but in the mid-1960s relocated to Los Angeles where he attracted the attention of the Hollywood-based Chartmaker label. Released in late 1968 "Darius" was co-produced by Pat Glasser and Butch Parker. Personally I don't hear the Jim Morrison comparisons that some reviewers allude to, but Darius had a voice that was quite commercial and was well suited to material like the should've-been-hits 'Dawn' and 'I'm the Man''. Featuring ten original efforts, songs like 'Shades of Blue', 'Ancient Paths' and 'Hear What I Say' offered up a great blend of dark pop and psych moves. Interestingly, while there was nothing wrong with Darius 'I'm hurt' and 'love is unfair' lyrics, the key ingredient in making the album so good was the support he got from his un-credited backing band - fellow Chartmaster recording act Goldenrod. Lead guitarist Ben Benay, drummer Toxey French and bassist Jerry Scheff may have been studio professionals who were best known for their work with Elvis Presley, but on this album they cut loose, decorating tracks like 'Mist-Veiled Garden' and 'Blow My Mind' with some amazing fuzz guitar, sitar, and other period accompaniment. Killer !!! (Always loved the egomaniacal back cover photo... You can tell that Darius was sure he was about to become a major star!)
"Darius" track listing:
1.) Shades Of Blue (Darius) - 2:10
2.) Dawn (Darius) - 2:18
3.) Mist-Veiled Garden (Darius) - 2:58
4.) I'm The Man (Darius) - 2:27
5.) I Feel The Need To Carry On (Darius) - 2:39
2.) Blow My Mind (Darius) - 2:31
3.) Sweet Mama (Darius) - 2:32
4.) Ancient Paths (Darius) - 2:26
5.) Hear What I Say (Darius) - 2:38
I've never seen or heard a copy, but he also released a non-LP 45 for Chartmaker: 'Hello Stranger' b/w 'I Don't Mind' (Chartmaster catalog number ). It was apparently pulled from a planned sophomore LP.
He also released a one off 45 under Bobby Joe Ott - 'First River Inn' b/w 'First River Inn' (Metromedia catalog number 254).
The German World In Sound label also released a Darius follow-up set "Darius II" (World In Sound catalog number RFR 012LP). I have a copy, but have yet to listen to it.
Darius died from cancer in August 2006.
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