Eela Craig - Eela Craig (1971)

Austria really isn't a hotbed of prog rock, but EELA CRAIG was by and far that country's best known prog rock band, name, for no apparent reason by original guitarist and founder Heinz Gerstmair. This self-entitled album from 1971 is very obscure and known by very few, as it was originally released on a small Austrian label called Pro-Disc and original LPs since commanding around the $500 range (but luckily a small German label called Garden of Delights reissued this on CD, meaning that you shouldn't worry about spending more than $20 to hear this album). While their later albums tended to be synth-heavy symphonic prog, this one tends to the bluesy/jazzy psych/prog realm, with the Wurlitzer electric piano dominated (and Hammond organ on only two cuts). The bluesy nature of this album has to do with original guitarist Heinz Gerstmair, and vocalist Wil Orthofer, while drummer Horst Waber gave the band that jazzy touch, add that on with the flute, organ, and acoustic guitar of Harald Zuschrader, bass of Gerhard Englisch, and electric piano of Hubert Bognermayr, and you have the original EELA CRAIG lineup.

The biggest problem I have with this album is the crappy production, it has that very obvious homemade feel to it, so it's really lacking in the dynamics. But still, it's full of good stuff like the drug-oriented "Selfmade Trip" and "A New Way". "New Born Child" starts off in that psychedelic manner with terrifying screams in the most inappropriate time (when the song slows down, unlike PINK FLOYD's "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", which the song reaches its most intense climax). Despite the flaws, it's a pretty nice piece of underground prog/psych you come to expect from this era. - Review by Proghead (Ben Miler)

Track Listings

1. New born Child (7:45)
2. Selfmade Trip (10:29)
3. A New Way (7:04)
4. Indra Elegy (11:43)
5. Irminsul (2:10)
6. Yggdrasil (3:40)
7. Stories (4:39)
8. Cheese (4:38)

Total Time: 52:08

- Horst Waber / drums
- Harald Zuschrader / organ, flute, guitar, sax
- Hubert Bognermayer / keyboards
- Gerhard English / bass
- Heinz Gerstenmair / guitar, organ, vocals
- Will Orthofer / vocals, sax

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