Mike Westbrook: Live 1972

Westbrook plays a mixture of blues, funk and space music with a quintet including George Khan, Gary Boyle and Alan Jackson


Back in the early 70s Mike Westbrook had secured a contract with RCA to produce a couple of albums and after the release of the excellent Metropolis, needed to make another album. He offered them this live music as a basis for the follow up to his big-band opus. The label rejected his suggestion and we had to wait until 1973 for Cadillac (an imprint Westy set up with John Jack) to release the majority of the music.

This particular line-up became a short-lived affair, set up ostensibly for a tour in South West England, although the musicians would continue to be associated with Mike on many different projects and in many different configurations.

Over the coming decades, people became used to music of a more sophisticated nature from Westbrook bands than is on offer here. There is quite a raw feel to these live performances, Travellin’ being a blues, Pleasure City offering up some heavy-duty funk and Compassion kicking off in freedom territory.

Metropolis, by contrast, has a spacey feel about it, delivering an antidote to the earthier sounds elsewhere on the record, epitomised by the runaway George Khan, who revelled in such surroundings, and Gary Boyle, his guitar playing mirroring the style chosen by many of the axe wielders of the day.

This a curio in the Westbrook discography that should be valued for being just that.

(1) Travellin’; (2) Compassion; (3) Marching Song; Spaces; (1) Down On The Farm; Pleasure City; Metropolis IV (76.30)
Westbrook (elp, hca); George Khan (ts, electric sax, f); Gary Boyle (elg); Butch Potter (b, pogo stick, f); Alan Jackson (d, as). (1) Tavistock, 15 January 1972. (2) London, 23 January 1972. (3) Unknown venue and dates.
Cadillac SGCCD001