Abstract Truth – Totum

Tracks

  1. Jersey Thursday [3:47]
  2. Coming Home Babe [6:32]
  3. Oxford Town
  4. Fat Angel / Work Song [10:16]
  5. Summertime [5:40]
  6. Scarborough Fair [3:44]
  7. Parchman Farm / Moaning [2:57]
  8. Ain’t Necessarily So / Take Five [10:02]
  9. Total Totum (Acid Raga) [5:10]
Abstract Truth – Totum

“Ain’t Necessarily So / Take Five” not available on Spotify.

Musicians

  • Ken E Henson: guitar, sitar, vocals
  • Robbie Pavid: percussion
  • Brian Gibson: bass, vocals
  • Sean Bergin: sax, flute

Release information

LP: 1970, Uptight, STIC 101
CD: 2005, Mason Records, MR 56409 (unofficial release, included all tracks from Silver Trees as bonus tracks, except for “All The Same”)
CD: 2005, RetroFresh, freshcd146 (omitted “Ain’t Necessarily So / Take Five”, included all tracks from Silver Trees)
LP & CD: 2009, Shadoks (Germany), SHADOKS 111

The album ‘Totum’ was recorded in Johannesburg over a single weekend using a 4-track machine. The album was released in early 1970. “According to today’s standards it’s pretty rough,” says Henson, “but I guess it was an honest interpretation of what we were doing.”

In a newspaper review reporter Carl Coleman had this say about the release of Abstract Truth’s debut album: “Sean, Brian, Robbie and Ken have lifted South African pop from the syrupy blare of bubblegum music to new heights of progressive pop. What an achievement!”

The Freak Emporium online store had this brief review of ‘Totum’ on their website: “Excellent early ’70s melodic wistful freak rock blends with African sounds featuring assorted instruments: keyboards, flutes, electric guitars, saxophone, percussion, etc. A refreshing approach.”

Most of ‘Totum’ consists of unusual reworkings of jazz, folk and blues songs. The only band composition is the sitar-drenched ‘Total Totum/Acid Raga’. Donovan, Dylan, Gershwin, Simon and Garfunkel and others all get given the special Abstract Truth treatment that is reminiscent of early King Crimson in places.

Brian Currin

Read more at The South African Rock Encyclopedia

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