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BFI


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Audio CD, September 25, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ninja Tune
  • ASIN: B000UNYPN0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,377 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Cosmosis
2. Food For My Soul
3. Amplified Emotion
4. Sandman
5. On The Wall
6. Are You There?
7. Sunset Scenery
8. Mercy Call
9. Pop's Bag
10. Big Mike Requiem
11. Your Way Too

Editorial Reviews

It's the late '60s. Three brothers, Doug, Daryl, and Dennis Dragon are living in Malibu, surfing and gigging around the Los Angeles area, and having their minds blown by the music of The Beatles, Hendrix, and The Doors. The multi-instrumentalist sons of a symphony conductor and an opera singer, the brothers decide it's time to create their own psychedelic soul/rock masterpiece.

They call the sessions Blue Forces Intelligence and co-produce the album with high school friend, Donn Landee (a future producer for Van Halen). They find themselves layering their instruments in new ways, adding deep, bassy vocal lines and then ramming them up against falsetto harmonies, adding organs and space age sound effects, recording spirituals and pop and crazy rock opera. The effect is increasingly spacey and weird, but also funky, a missing link between new directions others are exploring in jazz and soul as well as rock music.

Unfortunately, the suits at the West Coast offices of the major labels aren't ready, complaining that they don't hear a hit. After shopping the record, now called just BFI, for a few months, the boys become disillusioned and focus instead on their session work. They all end up working in the Beach Boys' backing band. Doug moves to Hawaii, tours Australia. Dennis becomes a successful record producer. Daryl hooks up with Toni Tennille and experiences international chart success as The Captain. The Dragons BFI is forgotten.

Jump on 37 years. Strictly Kev/DJ Food, influential mixologist, designer for Ninja Tune and obsessive record collector, discovers a 500-run private pressing of the soundtrack to a surf movie called A Sea For Yourself. On it is a track called Food For My Soul by a band called the Dragons. Amazed at finding a true psychedelic original from a band he's never heard of, Strictly Kev uses his extensive contacts in the world of vinyl mania, and tracks Dennis Dragon down to license Food For My Soul for the latest Solid Steel mix CD. Dennis agrees and then blows Kev away with a whole unreleased album from the same sessions.

Ninja Tune is finally releasing The Dragons debut album after it sat on a recording engineer's shelf for almost 40 years. Beautifully played and produced, full of crazy invention and a loveably naïve lack of self-consciousness, BFI is a miniature masterpiece, a lost classic of psych-whimsy, West Coast sexiness and serious musical chops. Surely we re ready by now?

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crowley on October 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I first heard BFI by The Dragons I was sure, absolutely sure, that it had to be from 1967 or 1968. Those years of sudden music evolution are burned into my brain and things changed fast then. Six months were like three years. So it isn't a surprise to me that this CD was never released. Why? Because it was already dated in 1970, when it was recorded. The Fifth Dimension, Hair, Laugh-In and various West Coast grooves, including very good ones like Spirit's album Spirit, were already passe. This album just wasn't hip - Boz Scaggs and Led Zepp were taking over already, and the la la innocent psychedelic flower days were over, sadly.

But now it doesn't matter. This masterpiece of late 60s motifs, cliches, idioms and kitsch, recorded in glorious hole-in-the-middle stereo multitrack, with various Bonzo Dog, Tony Williams Lifetime, and Todd Rundgrenesque embellishments, is like an Austin Powers film in sound - a perfect review of all that was ever so groovy, in a condensed, concise and very entertaining form.

And the sound! Analog was wonderful, the masters are clean, wonderful to hear, nostalgic, even luscious. One thing is proven, and that is the adage that drums are everything - these are and more, as well as the other very competent (but perhaps a bit too uncool) musicians. Buy it and believe that this tape sat in the vault all those years like some Egyptian archaeological find, a gem now uncovered.
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By Ron Murray on October 3, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Dragons be here" is how some cartographers from way back used to describe places that weren't well known or travelled - and maybe dangerous. And while it's pushing the figurative comparison here a bit, that's how I felt about hearing this somewhat unusual package of music from the 70s, finally issued many years later.
Let me start by saying I twigged to this band from the late Hal Jepsen's excellent 70s surf flick "A Sea for Yourself" - essentially a Dragons LP, with several contributions by Dragon brother-in-law Richard Henn, which included a couple of songs that appear on BFI - "Cosmosis" and the very cool "Food for my soul". So I took a punt that the rest of the album might have something of the same groove. Up to a point it does (if not to the heights of "Food...") but there are eccentric touches in here that may take a while to like - one or two are quite odd (I'm working on it). The brothers Dragon (well, the family Dragon to be more accurate) are brisk and assured musically and have some great backing singers. You realise after a while that this is a slightly Christian-tinged album, which to be honest narrows the appeal. But as an aural backdrop to a time when surfing topped my list of things I liked to do, this was a fun flashback. Now, where can I find some more Richard Henn & Co stuff - "Squeeze Box" (from the Jepsen movie) is another big fave.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Chidester on February 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is a great lost treasure of Los Angeles psychedelic surf. However, it is not, as has been written, the first album recorded by the Dragons. This group put out one single ("Elephant Stomp" b/w "The Troll") on Capitol Records in 1964, which was culled from the independent surf film "Strictly Hot" by Dale Davis. There was, in fact, a full album's worth of material recorded for Davis's genius flick, and Del-Fi Records even ran a Dragons ad (with cubist album jacket art) in a 1964 issue of "Surfer" magazine. Alas, the album was never released, with the film and the 45 being the only presence of that music currently available. It is a crying shame that the "Strictly Hot" soundtrack has sat dormant for all of these years, as it is scorching like most surf instrumental albums of the early '60s, yet jazzy and exotic, as would be expected from tunes filled with vibraphone and electric organ.

As for BFI, its excellence lies in the fact that it floats gracefully next to other underappreciated psych-surf LPs by the likes of Friar Tuck, the Dave Myers Effect and amazing soundtracks by Davie Allan & the Arrows. The two instrumentals on this album lend credence to the notion that surf music could have continued into the '70s, if not for surf-jocks and snobs turning their nose up at its very existence.

Essential listening!
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