VARIOUS ARTISTS Refugees – An Anthology Of The Famous Charisma Label 1969-1978 (2009)

Refugees – Anthology Of The Famous Charisma Label 1969-1978 (2009)
Obscure Brit Experiments In Music Fusion

From a personal perspective… when I started looking beyond the radio at the dawn of the 70s, I began by investigating jazz, world music and obscure Brit pop. Oldsters remember that practically everything was obscure back in the late 60s/early 70s, and getting an “import” album in those days required ordering it from a hip record store (if your town was lucky enough to have one), waiting… and then paying nearly twice the price for something you had few details on, since the alternative music press was almost as anemic as routes for international vinyl exchange. So, plenty of the artists that were signed to the highly regarded Charisma label – who routinely combined varying aspects of pop, rock, jazz, English folk and fusion – were on my hit list; Bo Hansson, The Nice, Van Der Graaf Generator, Hawkwind and even String Driven Thing (whose domestic debut was a mainstay of department store cut-out bins). Alas, many of those once cherished vinyl albums are long gone from my collection now, victims of storage issues and changing musical tastes. As a result, I never replaced a lot of those great old albums with CD versions… so hearing some of the music on this cool, 2009 3CD collection is, for me, like stepping into a time machine. Click the cover art to better read the participants. Amazon’s got it, HERE.


  • Willard
    December 4, 2012 - 10:56 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Don from Oregon
    December 4, 2012 - 12:02 | Permalink

    I have been looking for this thing forever! I never asked about it here because I never thought it was something you had access to. Mea Culpa!
    Thank you SO MUCH!

  • Don from Oregon
    December 4, 2012 - 12:10 | Permalink

    as a side note (which you probably know) Topo D Bill is members of The Bonzo Dog Band, with Chris Squire of Yes and Keith Emerson (supposedly) on piano. It is only available on this set which is basically out of print. Jesus what a great album…I am in shock!

    • noone
      January 21, 2016 - 17:54 | Permalink

      FWIW this song was released as a single in the US (I forget the label) and got reviewed in Rolling Stone a the time. IIRC they only mentioned Legs Larry Smith as a participant.

      And where has this site been for the last month or two? I got “redirected” messages to a dead end for the last several weeks, but no problem today. I’m glad I checked again.

  • Willard
    December 4, 2012 - 12:16 | Permalink

    Did NOT know that, thanks.

  • December 4, 2012 - 20:43 | Permalink

    Further Topo D Bill trivia
    It is actually Tony Kaye on organ, but get this: A book on the Who I have called “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of the Who 1958-1978” lists that as well as the other people I have mentioned, it is KEITH MOON on drums!
    Too much fun….!!!

  • muttly
    December 5, 2012 - 09:01 | Permalink

    Great music, thank you, I had some of this music when it was first released

  • 3410
    December 5, 2012 - 18:21 | Permalink

    Great post. Most of this is a bit off the radar for me, but expecting a lot of flashbacks to ’70s radio
    (which, for us, was still UK-dominated, in those days). Ta.

    • Willard
      December 6, 2012 - 17:04 | Permalink

      You must have had better 70s radio than I did. I was turning to stuff like this because of the radio dreck in my part of the country.

  • Anonymous
    December 6, 2012 - 04:53 | Permalink

    I bought this boxset and it’s really great. Some of the most famous bads but also some gems a bit forgotten. Also check out the boxsets with other typical underground 70’s labels: Time Machine: A Vertigo retrospective (Vertigo), A Breath of Fresh Air- A Harvest Records Anthology, 1969-1974 (Harvest) and Strange Pleasures- Further Sounds of the Decca Underground 1966-75 (Decca).

    • Willard
      December 6, 2012 - 17:01 | Permalink

      Thanks for the tips.

  • buzzbabyjesus
    December 6, 2012 - 09:15 | Permalink

    I could have written your post it so describes my listening trajectory. I still have a three record set entitled “Charisma Disturbance”, which dates from 1973. It features the same artists, but different songs. Anyway thanks. I’m getting right on this.

  • December 7, 2012 - 22:46 | Permalink

    Audience was a favorite of mine back in the day, I’ll have to give the old vinyl a spin. Thanks, Willard.

  • robby b
    December 10, 2012 - 16:07 | Permalink

    willard thanks for Charisma box. Also looking for audio rip of new Neil Joung Journey’s doc DVD with performance from Massey Hall. robbo

  • billy budapest
    December 11, 2012 - 11:00 | Permalink

    Charisma was the brainchild of a most extraordinary man, Tony Stratton-Smith, who began his career as a sports journalist (writing the first biography of soccer great Pele), and was subsequently drawn to music and unique musical talent. He road-managed Procol Harum, discovered Genesis, and was the first safe haven for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

    He was a great bear of a man with prodigious skill and abilities, not limited to drinking all and sundry under the table during many a late-night gathering in New York or London. His stories were uproarious and his contributions to culture enormous.

    He is too-little remembered but sorely missed by all who knew him.

  • Stephen Parkin
    December 15, 2012 - 09:19 | Permalink

    This is a good set and thanks for it, Willard. I used to have a single LP Charisma sampler, which I got because it completes my VDGG/Hammill collection with “Theme 1.” This one has some more characteristic VDGG and Hammill pieces, and a lot of other good looking stuff.

    Stratton Smith must have been an amazing smoocher, to get Monty Python away from the BBC, or very quick, or something.

    Hammill did a song for S.S. when he died. Just put Hammill Time to Burn into Youtube search if you want to hear it: there are various versions of it on there. I have heard that VDGG’s “Refugees” was S.S.’s favourite song.

    Thanks again, Willard.

  • zappahead
    December 29, 2012 - 07:17 | Permalink

    I was beginning to think I imagined this compilation…..very good selection of stuff from the fabulous label….thanks for sharing and very much appreciated….cheers.

    • Willard
      December 30, 2012 - 23:39 | Permalink

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Rochacrimson
    December 23, 2013 - 15:56 | Permalink

    Thank you Will for this box!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The Chairman
    January 21, 2016 - 14:43 | Permalink

    A wonderful threesome, Captain, kudos & a big(gg!) thank you! TC

  • Ebdukes
    January 21, 2016 - 18:07 | Permalink

    OMG Willard, I had some of these on that black plastic stuff that they used to pollute the environment with……does that mean I’m old?

  • heartsofstone
    January 21, 2016 - 19:29 | Permalink

    Thanks for the awesome post!

  • Art
    January 21, 2016 - 20:39 | Permalink

    Thank you very much, what a shot of deja vu.

  • Lekermitage
    January 22, 2016 - 22:20 | Permalink

    Willard – I have posted the “companion” 4CD box set “The Famous Charisma Box Set” and “The Charisma Poser” CD – different tracks to this 3CD compilation in the SORL – hope these are correctly presented and well accepted – feel free top ‘re-link’ as best suits. My rips and links – @320

  • Noisegate
    January 23, 2016 - 09:29 | Permalink

    Your site is heaven!

  • Uncle Mugwort
    February 6, 2016 - 03:14 | Permalink

    This is a spectacular piece of musical history. Deepest Thanks.

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