Brian Auger began his music career as a jazz pianist in the early 60s, playing in clubs around London. However by 1964 he had got himself a Hammond organ, and formed a new group called The Trinity with bassist Rick Brown and drummer Micky Waller, both previously of Cyril Davies' R&B All-Stars. This group saw greater success, playing harder R&B styled material. In 1965 they became part of The Steampacket, with singers Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry and Julie Driscoll, plus guitarist Vic Briggs. The Steampacket were an early 'supergroup' of sorts, but unfortunately never recorded a proper album and soon broke up. Auger then retained Brown, Driscoll and Briggs, and formed a new version of The Trinity with drummer Clive Thacker. Brown and Briggs left before long, and so when they came to record in 1967 the band consisted of Brian Auger (organ/vocals), Julie Driscoll (vocals), Gary Boyle (guitar), Roger Sutton (bass) and Clive Thacker (drums).
Open was released in 1967, credited to Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity. It turned out to be a very interesting, experimental record, mixing jazz, R&B and rock styles, the band augmented with a horn section. The first side (labelled 'Auge') featured the band without Driscoll, and was mostly instrumental except for one track which Auger sang (one of the tracks was also a solo piano performace from Auger). On the second side of the record (labelled 'Jools'), Auger took a backseat and Driscoll sang. It included some excellent covers of The Staple Singers' "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)" and Donovan's "Season Of The Witch".
Despite being such an interesting release, Open did not sell well initially, probably because most people couldn't quite work out what to make of it. However in 1968 the band had a #5 hit with a cover of the Bob Dylan / Rick Danko classic "This Wheel's On Fire", which became the best-known version of the song in Britian. Subsequently the album sold much better.
|> Definitely What! (1968)
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