Thursday, April 10, 2014

Classic Music: Thunder and Roses - King of the Black Sunrise

I recently purchased a small record collection filled with unfamiliar to me albums. The initial album that jumped out at me had this psychedelic cover:

Come on, just look at that cover... you know it’s going to be great.

King of the Black Sunrise is the sole album by the Philadelphia band Thunder and Roses released in 1969 on United Artists (UA 6709). While their life as a band was short lived, this trio proved to be influential to some noteworthy bands, including Nirvana who did a cover of the opening track White Lace and Strange for a (recorded but not released) radio broadcast in 1987. This recording was included on Nirvana’s rarities box set With the Lights Out.

Thunder and Roses was another one of those power bands that baffle me with the insane full sound that they achieve with minimal instruments. It’s the familiar approach of heavy drum fills, lot of cymbals, lead guitar with the vocals, and complex bass lines. Its sound is in contention with Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. And just for a good comparison, they even included a cover of Hendrix’s Red House on this album.

Band members were: Chris Bond on guitars and vocals; Tom Schaffer on bass and vocals; and George Emme on drums. There is not a whole lot of history available online for the band including the reasoning behind their breakup. Chris Bond did stay involved in the music industry producing a number of albums for Hall and Oats.

This may be a bit of a tricky album to track down. The originals seem to sell for quite a bit on eBay and I don’t see any rereleases readily available on amazon or other notable online stores. A few vinyl and CD reissues appear from Germany and the UK but I’m not sure if these are official releases or not. So if you see one in your crate digging adventures, I absolutely recommend picking it up, but until then the album is streaming on YouTube at least for the time being.

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