Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1970-71)

- Elkie Brooks -- vocals

- Mal Capwell -- sax, flute

- Jimmy Chambers -- vocals, percussion

- Barry Dugan -- sax, flute

- Pete Gage -- lead guitar, bass

- Martyn Harryman -- drums, percussion

- Paul Korda -- vocals

- Ernie Luchlan -- trumpet, flugelhorn

- Don Shinn -- keyboards, organ bass, vibes


  line up 2 (1971)

- Elkie Brooks -- vocals

- Mal Capwell -- sax, flute

- Jimmy Chambers -- vocals, percussion

- Barry Dugan -- sax, flute

- Pete Gage -- lead guitar, bass

- Martyn Harryman -- drums, percussion

- Paul Korda -- vocals

- Ernie Luchlan -- trumpet, flugelhorn

NEW - Robert Palmer (RIP) - vocals

- Don Shinn -- keyboards, organ bass, vibes




- The Alan Bown Show (Robert Palmer)

- Elkie Brooks (solo efforts)

- Carson (Mal Capewell)

- Chain (Mal Capewell)

- Jimmy Chambers (solo efforts)

- Company Caine (Mal Capewell)

- Healing Force (Mal Capewell)

- Paul Korda (solo efforts)

- The Lonely Ones (Don Shinn)

- Londonbeat (Jimmy Chambers)

- Mighty Mouse (Mal Capewell)

- Robert Palmer (solo efforts)

- The Power Station (Robert Palme)

- Don Shinn (solo efforts)

- Levi Smith's Clefs (Mal Capewell)

- The Soul Agents (Don Shinn)

- Vinegar Joe (Elkie Brooks, Pete Gage, and Robert Palmer)

- Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band (Pete Gage)






Genre: jazz-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Dada

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-352

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD  2377

Price: SOLD $15.00


This is one of those album's that leaves me puzzled.  It doesn't get rave reviews, but there is a loyal fan base who clearly feel some affection for the collection.


In case you had any doubts, yeah, they inspired by the early 20th century avant-garde artistic movement.  The good news was that 1970's "Dada" wasn't nearly as experimental and out there as the name would imply.  Co-produced by Gage and Paul Clay, the largely original material was recorded at London's Olympic and Morgan Studios.  Musically these eleven selections were kind of a musical grab bag including a broad array of genres, frequently mixed together across individual songs.   The opener 'Big Dipper' was a perfect example.   Showcasing Elkie Brooks, Jimmy Chambers, and Paul Korda on lead vocals, over the span of four minutes the song visited conventional rock, soul, and BS&T-styled horn rock.   Elsewhere you got dollops of Broadway show tune (their bizarre cover of The Stones 'The Last Time'), Donovan-styled singer/songwriter material ('Jasamin'), Free Design-styled pop-jazz (the title track), and  even Gospel ('Seed Of Peace').  Surprisingly I was okay with the genre jumping.   My big problem with the album came in the form of the horn arrangements.   I'm just not a big fan of the genre and in this case whenever the horn charts kicked in, they  pretty much destroyed whatever momentum the group was building.


"Dada" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Big Dipper   (Pete Gage - Paul Korda) - 4:09   rating: *** stars

The first half of 'Big Dipper' started the album off with a strange mix of conventional rock, soul;  and jazzier moves.  The second half found the song moving full throttle into BS&T-styled horn rock. Mildly entertaining (loved Pete Gage's guitar figure), if not entirely convincing.
2.) The Last Time   (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards) - 3:27  
rating: ** stars

Geez, imagine someone having reshaped The Stones 'The Last Time' for a Broadway score of Godspell, or maybe The Rocky Horror Show ...  Yeah, this may be one of the strangest Stone cover you've ever heard.  That's not to give anyone the impression it was good.   Just different.  Speculation on my part, but I'm guessing Korda's previous work on Hair may have played a role in coming up with the arrangment.
3.) This Is My Song   (Pete Gage - Paul Korda) - 4:33   
rating: *** stars

'This Is My Song' found the band shifting into pretty acoustic ballad territory.  Yeah, the  arrangement was hopelessly cluttered and over-the-top, but the Gospel-tinged melody was nice and there was no denying the band had some strong singers in Brooks, Chambers, and Korda.
4.) Seed Of Peace   (Pete Gage - Don Shinn) - 3:26 
rating: ** stars

Lordy - lounge act ballad meets Gospel choir with Brooks at her most shrieky, while Paul Korda reminding me a bit of a hoarse Gary Wright.   Pray the rest of the album was better.
5.) Organ Interlude (instrumental)   (Don Shinn) - 0:54  
rating: ** stars

Kudos to the band for truth-in-advertising ...  Shinn's aptly titled 'Organ Interlude' provided exactly what was described.  54 seconds of Shinn on Church organ.   Hum, echoes Brian Auger and Oblivion Express, or maybe ELP ...

6.) Tonite Is   (Pete Gage - Don Shinn) - 0:54    rating: *** stars

Another song snippet, 'Tonite Is' was interesting for showcasing the group's Association-styled vocal harmonies.  Not exactly my taste, but the blended voices and roller rink organ interlude were quite nice.   Again, it was more a song fragment than anything.


(side 2)
1.) She Walks Away   (Pete Gage - Zagni) - 3:22
    rating: *** stars

The fact of the matter is Brooks had a nice voice, to my ears occasionally sounding a bit like a British Grace Slick.  The problem is she had a chronic habit of trying to belt out everything, even though her performances were 100% better when she kept her power under control.   The jazzy ballad 'She Walks Away' was a nice example of Brooks singing with a bit of restraint.  Shame it was such an atypical example.

2.) Aspen, Colorado   (Tony Joe White) - 4:58    rating: *** stars

As strange as the earlier Stones cover was, hearing the band do a Tony Joe White cover as a jazzy, Canterbury horn-propelled interlude was even more bizarre.  I will admit hearing the way Chambers pronounced "Alabama" was a hoot ...

3.) Eyes of the Warren   (Don Shinn) - 4:08    rating: *** stars

'Eyes of the Warren' was one of those songs that just kind of rambled along without any real direction, or goal.  A strange mix of lounge act, jazz, folk, and rock components, the highlight came from hearing Shinn's keyboards and Brooks singing in her natural, non-shrieky voice.

4.) Jasamin   (Paul Korda) - 2:36   rating: ** stars

Acoustic folk number - pretty in a Donovan fashion, but saccharine and way to fey for my tastes.   

5.) Dada   (Paul Korda) - 3:48   rating: **** stars

Ever heard The Free Design's interesting blend of pop, jazz, and lounge act moves?   Well if you have then there's a good chance the title track would sound familiar.   



Singer Robert Palmer joined the group in time for a 1971 American tour, but this one album was it for Dada with Brooks, Gage, and Palmer continuing the musical partnership in Vinegar Joe.