26/7/17 – Satin Whale – Desert Places – 1974

A month in Germany that has taken us to Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Cologne, Loreley, to Meschede on Saturday to play and to Breitenbach am Herzberg on Sunday to see Patti Smith. We have been staying mostly in the Rheinland in a secret 1022 year old village where all the great German bands keep their guitars, synthesizers, wind, brass and drums in a large cave that is only accessible by secret spell.

So it seemed appropriate to feature a band from NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia), that’s the state where Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf are situated. We all know who comes from Düsseldorf, don’t we? CAN come from Cologne. But who else is from this area? The band I am presenting tonight come from somewhere in the Bonn/Cologne area, no one knows exactly because it is information long lost on the ancient scrolls. In fact this band are even more forgotten than Epitaph despite 5 studio albums, 2 live albums and soundtrack released in the period between 1974 and 1981.

Satin Whale formed in 1971 and featured here is their rather spirited first album, Desert Places, released in 1974. A collection of mostly organ and guitar instrumentals that sound like they have rehearsed arrangements but maintain excitement throughout with memorable tones and musicianship. There’s sporadic vocals, flute and sax from multi-instrumentalist Dieter Roesberg, driving grinding organs from Gerard Dellman with fluid bass lines from Thomas Brück (I think he may be the lead singer, too). The line up is completed by the handy Horst Schöffgen on drums.

Missed by multitudes of fans of that early seventies rock sound, I don’t remember hearing of them in the seventies despite being into bands on the Brain label at the time. It’s well produced with foot tapping musical segments that should have inspired all fans of the genre but no-one thought to promote it in a decade dominated by English and American Classic Rock. It’s a first-rate example of guitar and organ playing off each other, sometimes rather convincingly in harmony, something Deep Purple and Uriah Heep never thought of.

Thanks to Mark Roberton for the tip, now you made me like it – come on, send me the album.