Wounded Bird keeps the reissues rolling right along with the 1977 release from Hammond maestro Brian Auger and his band Oblivion Express. Happiness Heartaches sees the band focusing less on tight jazz fusion, and more on funk, R&B, and upbeat rock. In the band at the time was former Return to Forever drummer Lenny White, future Santana singer Alex Ligertwood on vocals and rhythm guitar, Lennox Langton on percussion, Clive Chaman on bass, and Jack Mills on lead guitar.
There's plenty of funky, vocal oriented fusion here, like the raging Hammond attack of "Back Street Bible Class", or the challenging title track with its biting lead guitar work. Many of the songs have an almost Traffic-like feel, or perhaps even the Crusaders, evident on "Spice Island", or even "Never Gonna Come Down." Auger's Hammond organ, electric piano, and synth work is a pleasure to hear as always, and he really rips it up on the proggy instrumental "Paging Mr. McCoy", one of the albums best tunes. Ligertwood fits right in on the vocal pieces, as his melodic voice adds the right amount of rock presence to these otherwise funky, jazzy pieces.
In summary, Happines Heartaches is an enjoyable listen, perhaps not as strong as Auger's earlier, more aggressive fusion releases, but fun nontheless.