Download live Hampton Grease Band from 1970/71, coz the world needs more Grease!

The Hampton Grease Band’s sole album, 1971’s sprawling double LP, Music To Eat, stands as the finest document of Post-Psychedelic, long form, Southern Fried Experimental Cosmic/Comic Jazz Rock spew, to dare walk the line between The Mothers of Invention and the Allman Brothers. Not surprisingly both acts were also fans of the Grease Band’s complex structures and twisted humor, with Zappa signing the band to Bizarre/Straight Records (for an unrecorded album, as the group disbanded shortly thereafter), and the Allman Brothers recognizing their talents after sharing the stage at various Atlanta based gigs. So…take music that is somehow undeniably Southern in nature and tightly arranged but exploratory in form, add a healthy dose of the playfulness and wit of early Zappa with the Surrealist/Dada inspired lyricism of Don Van Vliet, underpinned by a band both as tight as either The Mothers or Magic Band, but as comfortably loose as the best, lost to history, juke joint combo to ever sweat it out on the chitlin circuit, and you’ve kinda got an idea of the magic of the Grease Band, and it’s captain, Col. Bruce Hampton.

Here’s a gig recorded at The Atlanta Sports Arena. After a little research, I’m uncertain of the year. According to a clip below, Bruce thinks it’s 1969, and I’ve seen 1970 listed as a possibility, but I received it attributed to 1971. Dates aside, this is clearly a stellar example of the Grease Band’s many skills. (edited with corrected info here) Guitarist Harold Kelling departure turned the Grease Band into a single guitar group, with Glenn Phillips deftly taking the reigns with bursts of Sonny Sharrock levels of intensity combined with melodic sensibility. Playing the smoother vocal foil to Bruce’s raspy, intense delivery, are , I believe, the aforementioned Kelling and drummer, Jerry Fields. The set gives perhaps an even greater look at the influences which spawned the band, with a gamut of sounds even more diverse than the album, including a fairly traditional read of Roger Miller’s, King of The Road, and a balls out Rock Around The Clock. Suffice it to say, fans of Music To Eat, starved for further evidence of Grease Band genius, are gonna wanna stuff themselves sick on this psychedelic smorgasbord.

Also, I’d be remiss to not state my belief that Sun City Girls and the Meat Puppets must have imbibed numerous chemical/natural concoctions while baking in the Arizona sun listening to Music To Eat.

(uncheck the “Download with Secured Download manager” box before downloading)

Here’s an interview from 1971, and a couple of other live tracks of unknown origin, including a Hendon that turns into the Andy Griffith theme.

Also, this 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival set was uploaded to youtube just last week, and may be the best of all. “What do you need Rock festivals for when you’ve got that up in Atlanta?”

Last but not least, a couple of clips from the Basically Frightened, Bruce Hampton documentary…

Post-Grease Band awesomeness, The New Ice Age. Have you ever had sex with Durward Kirby?!


5 responses to “Download live Hampton Grease Band from 1970/71, coz the world needs more Grease!

  1. Thank you so much for posting all this in one place, especially the link to the newly uploaded Atlanta Pop audio!

    I’m pretty sure the “Hendon” audio in the file of miscellaneous tracks is the same version from the Atlanta Pop Festival 1970, and that jam seems to be from Emory, June 1970, both on this expanded “Music To Eat” CDR issued in 2006:

    I’m pretty sure (based on the DJ’s outro, listing the personnel, on the last track) that it’s a later post-Harold Kelling version of the Grease Band.

    Sure hope more stuff surfaces!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hey! I just saw this post, doing some research after Bruce’s passing. That other singer — on Alfonso and Louise — he plays sax and sings the “Louise” part — was none other than former head of the Grammy Academy (NARAS) from 1988 to 2002, Mike Greene. He was the replacement for Harold Kelling, who quit to start a new band, The Starving Brain Eaters. I notice Mike Greene’s Wikipedia page does not mention his couple of years at the end of the Hampton Grease Band days. I saw this final version of the group a lot during my last year of high school and first years of college at UGA. And this is more likely after 1971 — Harold Kelling didn’t leave the band until after MUSIC TO EAT was released, and that was the summer of ’71.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Damn. I wondered why this post was getting so much recent traffic. Somehow I hadn’t even heard that the Colonel had died. Sad news, indeed. Thanks for the info. Also, I was unaware of The Starving Brain Eaters. Are there any recordings of which you’re aware?


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