Tuesday, 11 September 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Norman Haines Band - Den Of Iniquity

Great track I discovered a while ago. On BBC 6Music's excellent 'The Freak Zone', a track called 'Daffodil' by The Norman Haines Band was played, and after hearing it once I decided to one day take another listen on YouTube. The YouTube video of 'Daffodil' was about 9 minutes long, since the track then segued into another song. That other song was 'Den Of Iniquity', the title track from the album of the same name. Norman Haines was keyboardist in Black Country outfit, Locomotive. When they split in late 1969, Haines formed a new band called The Sacrifice. Their debut 45, "Daffodil", was a Latin-style 45, which sounded like a commercial version of Santana but didn't sell. To add insult to injury, the record company didn't like the name Sacrifice and credited the record to The Norman Haynes Band (even spelling Haines wrongly!)

Their album, "Den Of Iniquity" was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, and engineered by Peter Brown in the spring of 1971. It has gone on to become one of the most sought-after collectors items of the progressive era. The cover was striking and pictured a huge creature giving birth to miniature human beings and another huge creature chucking them through the air - presumably to their deaths. It seems likely that some stores didn't stock the album at the time on account of this artwork. Musically, the album boasted a very varied fare. It included a re-recorded version of Locomotive's classic, "Mr. Armageddon", but its finest moments were two lengthy instrumentals, "Rabbits" and Haines' "Life Is So Unkind". Curiously two tracks from the album ("Finding My Way Home"/"Rabbits") were also released as a 45 credited to Avalanche.

After a further solo 45, "Give It To You Girl", which sounded like early Locomotive, Haines called it a day, leaving behind what is now a much cherished collectors item.

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