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Yezda Urfa: Sacred Baboon (1975)

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Pick an unusual name for a band and you'll attract a lot of interest. Right? Wrong! Yezda Urfa for want of a much better band name was amongst many that came and went with nary a whisper. Typical of so many dedicated and capable musicians of the early to mid 1970's, Yezda Urfa struggled to garner sufficient attention from any of the major record labels. A minor breakthrough occurred in 1976 when Dharma Records agreed to release an album, however, the deal broke down and Yezda Urfa were left to finance their own future.

While neither totally derivative of anyone in particular, there are similarities to Gentle Giant due to the constant and frenetic time changes and some Yes influences, particularly on the track, "Boris" as the singer reminds of Jon Anderson. Some pleasant passages with flute and recorder on the 2nd track are slightly reminiscent of Gryphon although not as medieval sounding. Yezda Urfa would be in similar company to bands such as Ethos, Fireballet and Cathedral who also fell victim to the slow demise of progressive music due to a general lack of promotion and interest from the public. While Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant and the like kept writing material that the public were prepared to lap up, any other band that had not served their apprenticeship by 1975 would find the going tough. Musically, however, Yezda Urfa was certainly a pretty dynamic band with a slightly frivolous outlook on life and music in general as their lyrics are quite insane. Check out the words on "(My Doc Told Me I Had) Doggie Head" to fully appreciate the vocal meanderings of the singer.

"Sacred Baboon" is best described as very busy, intensely chaotic and very clever, played by a group of 5 guys whose arsenal of instruments would have most people green with envy. To have to finance the acquisition of so many wonderful instruments without ever hitting the big time would be a double blow to any normal musician and it was only through the re-release of their music through Syn-Phonic that their brilliance would become evident to those who took the plunge. With the advent of the CD now firmly entrenched as a musical medium of choice, the re-release of material such as this means that so many more listeners can appreciate the wonder of the brilliant music written decades ago without having to pay outrageous amounts for the vinyl. Hats off to Syn-Phonic for uncovering another minor gem that could have remained lost forever.

Rating 4/5

Greg Cummins October 2003


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