The Saga Saga

Today’s selection will split opinions. Some of you will think of these tracks as psychedelic or avant-jazz masterpieces, others as a complete waste of vinyl. I know where I stand.

Another bizarre find brought to my attention by the Squire, who discovered the first track, a particularly peculiar take on Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade on the RPM compilation Swinging London: The Accidental Genius of Saga Records 1968-1970.

The track was originally issued by Saga Records in 1968 on the album Trumpet A’Gogo. Saga, as I’m sure you will all recall, was the UK independent record company who first introduced the concept of budget-price albums to the country, and who provided a home for the mighty Joe Meek’s label Triumph. Saga were a pretty shameless bunch; the Trumpet A’Gogo title was nicked from a series of albums issued from 1966 onwards by James Last. As the sleeve notes (ahem) note, it’s “a must for the listener who’s hip to the music of NOW!”

The group credited, The New World, are in no way connected to the Antipodean band of the early 70s who had a hit with Tom Tom Turnaround and recorded the original version of Living Next Door To Alice. Nor are they connected with Meek's space symphony I Hear A New Wold despite both being Saga products. Sadly, the vocalist on this oddity is not credited, but the six-piece group consisted of Chick Webb (Drums), David Moses (Bass Guitar), Graham Stansfield (organ), Michael Gibbs (trombone), Phil Parker and Stu Hamer (both on trumpet). Shortly after the release, the same six men (as David Moses and Group) issued another album for Saga called Golden Trumpet. That album is almost as insane as Trumpet A’Gogo. One track, Loving to Spare, features vocalist Ricki Martin, although he does not receive credit for any of the other improvised or scat vocalisations on the album. There’s a wonderful, hip psychedelic feel to the albums Moses and his friends recorded for Saga, although it’s clear that in both cases the band were not afforded the luxury of endless studio time. But for me the occasional bum note only adds to the charm. This is cool, Daddio!

Moses had a long career in British jazz and folk, working with everyone from the Mike Sammes Singers to John Martyn, from Sandy Denny to Stéphane Grappelli. The multi-instrumentalist is well-known and respected for the work he has done bringing music to children: he was a regular on BBC TV’s Playschool, has written hundreds of songs for children, and he is the author of the successful Recorder Boppers series of books. He’s still performing today. Graham Stansfield became Graham Field, joined Rare Bird and later wrote and performed the theme tune to the ITV comedy Agony. Mike Gibbs would go on to work with Uriah Heep, and have a long and successful association with the NDR Big Band.

A couple of tracks then from this odd couple of albums, Scheherazade from Trumpet A’Gogo and Ride the Night from Golden Trumpet. The latter also fails to credit the vocalist, but I’d hazard that, in both cases, it’s David Moses himself. I've just bought a copy of Trumpet A’Gogo - once it arrives I'll update you.


Download Scheherazade HERE

Download Ride the Night HERE

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