Gabriel Bondage


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1

- Tony Antinarelli -- drums

- Lawrence "Larry" J. Biernacki -- guitar, mandolin, backing vocals

- Conrad Green -- guitar, moog, mellotron

- Rex Bundy -- vocals, guitar, drums, percussion, keyboards

- Ken Sajdak -- keyboards

- Tony Stram -- bass, keyboards, synthesizers, vocals

- Bill Wisimiewski -- vocals, sax, flute, clarinet

 

  supporting musicians:

- Zaido Cruz -- backing vocals

 

  line up 2 (1977-81)

- Lawrence "Larry" J. Biernacki -- guitar, mandolin, backing vocals

- Rex Bundy -- vocals, guitar, drums, percussion, keyboards

NEW - Noel Levitt -- drums, vocals (replaced Tony Antinarelli)

NEW - Ron Schwartz -- keyboards, synthesizers

- Tony Stram -- bass, keyboards, synthesizers, vocals  

- Bill Wisimiewski -- vocals, sax, flute, clarinet,

 

 

 

- Tex Bundy and His Saddle Soars 

- Sheba

- Taxi

 

 

 


 

Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Angel Dust

Company: Dharma

Catalog: D 804
Year:
 1975

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG/G+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6279

Price: $50.00

Hum - little known Chicago-based band that occasionally gets erroneously labeled as a Christian outfit.  Somewhat understandable since virtually all of these tracks include at least subtle religious themes.

 

Gabriel Bondage came together in 1973 and by the time they recorded their debut album, the line up featured the talents of drummer Tony Antinarelli, guitarist  Lawrence Biernacki, keyboardist Conrad Green, singer/multi-instrumentalist Rex Bundy, keyboardist Ken Sajdak -- keyboards, bassist Tony Stram, and sax player Bill Wisimiewski.  Bundy was apparently the creative front man, handling most of the lead vocals and credited with penning all of the material.  Released in 1975, the band's debut album "Angel Dust" was recorded in Chicago's Castle Studios with Perry Johnson producing.   Musically this one was a bit difficult to peg.  Most folks seem to dump it in the progressive category and while I can understand their rationale, anyone expecting to hear a set of Genesis, or King Crimson-styled experimentation was going to be disappointed since a good fifty percent on the material was actually folk and pop-oriented.

 

"Angel Dust" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Babylon   (Rex Bundy) - 5:44     rating: *** stars

Starting out as a melancholy acoustic number (just Bundy and strumming guitars), about a minute in 'Babylon' exploded into a mid-tempo melancholy rocker.  The lyrics were a bit heavy handed (course remember this was the mid-1970s) and the synthesizer washes were a bit cheesy (remember this was the mid-1970s), but Wisimiewski freak out sax gave the song a strange English progressive flavor and it was kind of fund listening to Bundy's vocals get more and more intense - you started to wonder if he was going to have an aneurysm.  The songs abrupt transformation into a droning meditation segmentation was actually neat - it's always reminded me of something off of a Merrill Fankhauser and Mu album.   

2.) First Stone In a Pyramid   (Rex Bundy) - 3:40    rating: *** stars

Opening up with some pretty flute work, 'First Stone In a Pyramid' reminded me a bit of a Marshall Tucker song - not that those guys would have ever written a song with such strange subject matter.  Propelled by flute, acoustic guitar and a nice Stram bass pattern the mid-portion of the song actually started to generate some energy, but then just collapsed on itself.   

3.) You and the Wind   (Rex Bundy) - 3:40    rating: *** stars

Complete with young children sound effects, 'You and the Wind' was another pretty acoustic ballad.  Yeah, once again the lyrics were a bit heavy handed, but I guess you couldn't really criticize the good intentions behind the track.   

4.) Take My Eyes   (Rex Bundy) - 3:02    rating: *** stars

One of those everybody-sing-now numbers that you'll either love, or detest, 'Take My Eyes' had a great melody and chorus.  Perhaps unintentional, but the lyric was one of the album's less subtle religious tinged performances and I can understand why top-40 radio stations would have hesitated to air the track.   Bundy's vocal was very nice, but the highlight came in the form of a blazing Larry Biernacki guitar solo.  Shame he wasn't given more spotlight time.   

 

(side 2)
1.) Ladies and Gentlemen   (Rex Bundy) - 4:23
    rating: *** stars

Ever wondered what American (the band, not the country) would have sounded like if they'd been interested in incorporating a progressive thread in their repertoire ?  I know, I know, you were just thinking about that yesterday ...  Well, if you ever wondered, I'd suggest checking out the mid-tempo 'Ladies and Gentlemen'.  Pretty acoustic melody with some pseudo-CSN styled harmony vocals.  

2.) Bondage    rating: *** stars

     Rust Flakes (instrumental)   (Rex Bundy) - 1:41

     Dinosaur (instrumental)   (Rex Bundy) - 1:51

     Implosion   (Rex Bundy) - 4:23

A three section suite, 'Bondage' captured the band at their most experimental and progressive.  Opening up with some pounding Wisimiewski sax, martial drumming and Atari sound effects, the  instrumental 'Rust Flakes' left you wondering if these guys had overdosed on Soft Machine albums.  Complete with Pink Floyd-ish forbearing, screaming voices, and more  Wisimiewski sax, 'Dinosaur' was even more discordant.  Luckily 'Implosion' stood as one of the band's toughest rocking compositions.  Kicked along by a great Stram bass line and some of Wisimiewski's most commercial sax, Bundy turned in his best vocal on this one.   Excellent track and it saved the extended suite.

3.) Island   (Rex Bundy) - 3:56    rating: ** stars

Another atypical offering, 'Island' was a breezy flute and mandolin propelled, tropical-influenced pop number.  For some reason this one's always reminded me of David Pack and the band Ambrosia.  Hard to connect the song to the rest of the band's repertoire, though I'm sure it would have sounded fine after a couple of cold beers.   

4.) Sing Me a Song   (Rex Bundy) - 3:22  

  rating: *** stars

I'm guessing 'Sing Me a Song' was the band's stab at commercial success - in this case a radio-ready ballad that would have sounded right at home on top40 radio.  Yeah, it was extremely commercial, but didn't do all that much for my ears.  Wonder if it was released as a single ... 

 

Would I go out of my way to track this one down, or spend a great deal of money on it ?  No, but if you stumble across a copy at a reasonable price, grab it.

 

 

 

Courtesy of Tony Stram's efforts, there's a Gabriel Bondage FaceBook site at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gabriel-Bondage/111045592566

 

They're also seemingly in the process of setting up a band website which will eventually include material from a planned third album, demos, and other odds and ends.

http://gabrielbondage.com/

 

 

There's been at least one Gabriel Bondage reissue; a double CD set by the German Bull's Eye Label (catalog number BE591).  Unfortunately it's a 'needle drop' bootleg, released without the band's permission. Save your money.

 

 

 

 


Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Another Trip To Earth

Company: Dharma

Catalog: D 808
Year:
 1977

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): --

Comments: --

Available: --

Catalog ID: --

Price: --

 

I've never tracked down a copy, but there's a 1977 follow-on - "Another Trip To Earth" that gets split reviews.  Some folks like it better than the debut; others less so.  For the hardcore collector, the sophomore LP was released in blue, red, and white vinyl formats.

 

"Another Trip to Earth" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Take It on a Dare
   (Rex Bundy) - 6:03
2.) Long Time
   (Rex Bundy) - 3:47
3.) Living in the City
   (Rex Bundy) - 4:12
4.) Birth of the Unconquered Sun
   (Rex Bundy) - 5:33
5.) In the Daylight
   (Rex Bundy) - 4:06
6.) No Winners
   (Rex Bundy) - 5:02

 

(side 2)
1.) All I Know
   (Rex Bundy) - 3:53
2.) Those Games
   (Rex Bundy) - 3:55
3.) Fallen Angels
   (Rex Bundy) - 11:11

 


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