Rare Bird

Last updated

Rare Bird
Genres Progressive rock
Years active1969 - 1975
Labels Charisma, Polydor
Past members Steve Gould
David Kaffinetti
Graham Field
Mark Ashton
Chris Randall
Fred Kelly
Andy "Ced" Curtis
Paul Holland
Paul Karas
Nic Potter
Andy Rae

Rare Bird were an English progressive rock band, formed in 1969. They had more success in other European countries. They released five studio albums between 1969 and 1974. In the UK, they never charted with an album but charted with one single, the organ-based track "Sympathy", which peaked at number 27. It sold one million copies globally. [1]



The band's initial line-up was as below, although there would be changes by the time they came to work on their third album. The first two members listed were a constant throughout the lifetime of the band.

The history of Rare Bird began when Graham Field placed an advertisement for a pianist in a musical periodical. He got thirty replies and formed a group called "Lunch". He met Dave Kaffinetti in November 1968, and together they formulated the basic ideas for Rare Bird. In August 1969, they finally found the ideal rhythm section in Steve Gould, Chris Randall and Mark Ashton. Field and Kaffinetti had originally envisaged that the band would be a four-piece and were looking for a singer/bass player. Gould and Randall, who had both previously been members of the Pop-Psych band "Fruit Machine", applied to the advert as vocals/guitar and bass respectively and were taken on. Lunch played a few gigs; one notable one was at the Tilbury Working Mens Club for the princely sum of five pounds. The band had no van and they managed to get amps, drums, guitars and Hammond organ into their cars. The gig was marred by Randall receiving a bad electric shock whilst on stage. It later turned out that the founders of the band were more interested in Steve Gould and convinced him to play bass. Randall was now high and dry and was kicked out of the band.

Two weeks later, they had signed management and agency contracts, and three weeks later, were in the studio recording their debut album. Before joining Lunch, Randall and Gould had previously written a song called "To the Memory of Two Brave Dogs". Rare Bird included this song in their debut album, renaming it "Iceberg" but Randall received no credit on the L.P. Along with Van der Graaf Generator and The Nice, they were one of the first bands that signed to Charisma Records, the record label that Tony Stratton-Smith had founded. [3]

Their late 1969 release "Sympathy" reached No. 1 in Italy and in France, sold 500,000 copies in France and over one million globally. [1] It became their only UK hit single, reaching No. 27 and staying on the chart for 8 weeks. A 1970 cover version of the track by The Family Dogg reached number two in the Netherlands. The song returned to the UK chart in 1992 when a version by Marillion reached No. 17. [4] In 2001, the track was sampled by Faithless in their song "Not Enuff Love", named after a chorus line in "Sympathy". The first album released by "Lunch" in 1969 was called "Rare Bird", which now also became the band's new name.

In early 1971, Graham Field left Rare Bird to form a short-lived solo project, Fields.

Later members included Fred Kelly (drums), Nic Potter (bass), Andy "Ced" Curtis (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Holland , and Paul Karas (bass, vocals) on the Epic Forest album with Andy Curtis and Fred Kelly appearing on the album Somebody's Watching. The band finally split up in 1975.

Dave Kaffinetti (credited as David Kaff) played the part of Viv Savage in This Is Spinal Tap (1984). He also played keyboards for the band Spinal Tap in the film and on the soundtrack, and was seen in Spinal Tap's live appearances in 1984/85.

Chris Randall went on to play with Martin Murray and The Honeycombs, the group of the mid 1960s with their worldwide hits, "Have I the Right", "Love In Tokyo" and "Thats the Way!".

Paul Holland had previously been a recording engineer at Southern Music's studio in Denmark Street, London during the time that Fruit Machine recorded songs for release on the Spark Label under the direction of Barry Kingston. He died of cancer in 2010.

The song "Beautiful Scarlet" from their first album was sampled in the 2004 song "Summer's Gonna Hurt You" by electronic music producer/DJ Diplo.


Studio albums

Rare Bird (UK: Charisma, U.S.: Command/Probe, 1969) U.S. No. 115

All compositions by Rare Bird. U.S. version has sides 1 and 2 swapped.

Side 1
  1. "Iceberg" - 6:46 (originally "To the Memory of Two Brave Dogs" by Randall/Gould)
  2. "Times"- 4:00
  3. "You Went Away" - 4:17
  4. "Melanie" - 3:27
Side 2
  1. "Beautiful Scarlet" - 5:23
  2. "Sympathy" - 2:30
  3. "Natures Fruit" - 2:32
  4. "Bird On A Wing" - 4:13
  5. "God Of War" - 5:08
  • Graham Field - organ
  • David Kaffinetti - electric piano
  • Steve Gould - bass guitar, lead vocals
  • Mark Ashton - drums, tympani, backing vocals

As Your Mind Flies By (UK: Charisma, U.S.: ABC, 1970)

All compositions by Rare Bird.

Side 1
  1. "What You Want To Know" - 5:54
  2. "Down On The Floor" - 2:35
  3. "Hammerhead" - 3:29
  4. "I'm Thinking" - 5:35
Side 2
  1. "Flight"
    • "Part 1: As Your Mind Flies By" - 9:48
    • "Part 2: Vacuum" - 3:16
    • "Part 3: New Yorker" - 6:33
    • "Part 4: Central Park"
  • Graham Field - organ, assorted keyboards
  • David Kaffinetti - electric piano, assorted keyboards
  • Steve Gould - bass guitar, lead vocals
  • Mark Ashton - drums, backing vocals

Epic Forest (Polydor, 1972) U.S. No. 194

Side One
  1. "Baby Listen" - 3:20
    • Ced Curtis - lead guitar
    • Steve Gould - rhythm guitar, co-lead vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
  2. "Hey Man" - 5:47
    • Ced Curtis - lead electric guitar
    • Steve Gould - rhythm electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano, Hammond and Farfisa organs
    • Paul Karas - bass, backing vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
  3. "House In The City" - 4:20
    • Steve Gould - co-lead vocals
    • Ced Curtis - guitars
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
  4. "Epic Forest" - 9:08
    • Ced Curtis - electric and acoustic guitars, co-lead and backing vocals
    • Steve Gould - electric and acoustic guitars, lead and backing vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano, Hammond and Farfisa organs
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead and backing vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
Side Two
  1. "Turning The Lights Out" - 4:33
    • Ced Curtis - lead guitar, percussion
    • Steve Gould - rhythm guitar, co-lead vocals, percussion
    • Dave Kaffinetti - Farfisa organ, percussion
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead vocals, percussion
    • Fred Kelly - drums, percussion
    • Nic Potter - percussion
    • Paul Korda - percussion
    • Ashley Howe - percussion
  2. "Her Darkest Hour" - 3:30
    • Ced Curtis - acoustic guitar
    • Steve Gould - acoustic guitar, vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - piano
    • Paul Karas - bass
    • Fred Kelly - drums
  3. "Fears Of The Night" - 3:14
    • Ced Curtis - acoustic guitar
    • Steve Gould - acoustic guitar, lead and backing vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - piano
    • Paul Karas - bass
  4. "Turn It All Around" - 4:38
    • Ced Curtis - lead guitar
    • Steve Gould - rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals
    • Dave Kaffinetti - Farfisa organ
    • Paul Karas - bass, backing vocals
    • Fred Kelly - drums
    • Paul Holland - percussion
  5. "Title No. 1 Again (Birdman)" - 6:01
    • Ced Curtis - lead guitar, percussion
    • Steve Gould - rhythm guitar, co-lead vocals, percussion
    • Dave Kaffinetti - electric piano, Farfisa organ, percussion
    • Paul Karas - bass, co-lead vocals, beads
    • Fred Kelly - drums, congas, percussion
    • Paul Holland - percussion
    • Chris Kelly - percussion

Somebody's Watching (Polydor, 1973)

Side One
  1. "Somebody's Watching" - 5:25 - (Gould, Kelly, Kaffinetti, Curtis)
  2. "Third Time Around" - 4:55 - (Gould, Kelly, Kaffinetti, Curtis)
  3. "Turn Your Head" - 4:38 - (Gould, Kelly, Kaffinetti, Curtis)
  4. "More And More" - 4:05 - (Gould, Kelly, Kaffinetti, Curtis)
Side Two
  1. "Hard Time" - 3:06 - (Chaplin, Fataar)
  2. "Who Is The Hero" - 3:39 - (Lamb)
  3. "High In The Morning" - 3:30 - (Korda)
  4. "Dollars (Incorporating Extracts From: A Few Dollars More)" - 8:38 - (Gould, Kelly, Kaffinetti, Curtis)
  • Steve Gould - lead vocals, guitar; bass (track 6)
  • Dave Kaffinetti - pianos, clavinet, organ
  • Andy Curtis - guitar
  • Nic Potter - bass guitar (tracks 1-5, 7-8)
  • Fred Kelly - drums, Northern percussion

Born Again (Polydor, 1974)

Side One
  1. Body And Soul 3.12 (Gould, Camm)
  2. Live For Each Other 2.57 (Ashton)
  3. Diamonds 4.09 (Gould, Kelly, Kaffinetti)
  4. Reaching You 3.31 (Gould, Kelly, Kaffinetti)
  5. All That I Need 3.58 (Gould, Kaffinetti, Kelly)
Side Two
  1. Redman 3.50 (Gould, Kaffinetti, Kelly, Curtis, Hall)
  2. Peace Of Mind 5.30 (Gould, Kaffinetti, Kelly)
  3. Harlem 3.25 (Gould, Kaffinetti, Kelly, Camm)
  4. Lonely Street 3.20 (Gould, Kelly, Kaffinetti, Camm)
  5. Last Tango In Beulah 6.27 (Gould, Kaffinetti, Kelly)
  • Steve Gould - lead vocals, guitars, bass guitar; electric piano (track 10)
  • Fred Kelly - drums, harmony vocals, percussion
  • Dave Kaffinetti - acoustic and electric pianos, harmony vocals, Hammond organ, Korg synthesizer
  • Andy Rae - Fender bass guitar
  • Kevin Lamb - harmony vocals (tracks 7, 9)


Compilation albums

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