Not exactly under the radar, or forgotten, but Captain Beyond is a record that delivers far more than it promises- by a group of musicians assembled from members of other, more famous bands. This is unapologetically a hard rock album, but one that deftly moves into “progressive” territory by combining jazz and long form compositions that were a signature of label mates, the Allman Brothers. Unlike the Allmans, this album sounds more like a mix of UK and LA, thanks in part to the lead vocals of Rod Evans (who sang on the first three Deep Purple albums) and the guitar work of Larry Reinhardt and Lee Dorman, both of the Iron Butterfly. Drummer Bobby Caldwell, who played with Johnny Winter, left the band after this album. Later albums from the band have a following but this is a high point in my estimation: these guys weren’t just finding their way on a debut, but were fully seasoned players and it shows.
Pressings: the album has been reissued several times, but my money is on an early pressing. They are not hard to find or terribly expensive. The early pressings also had a cool 3-d image on the cover made possible by lenticular printing, so you probably should go wild and look for one of those. I found a clean playing WLP with the 3-d cover for reasonable money. The vocals on the first track suffered from (what I assume is) deliberate over-processing, but otherwise it was smooth sailing, soncially. The drumming is outstanding and the record packs some real punch if you are of a mind to crank the volume control. There are also some interesting time changes that make this a less than predictable genre outing. I don’t know why, but these guys remind me a little of Spirit. And that’s not a bad thing.