ILPS 9429 Visitors
Produced by Michael Lloyd
Released on 1977
US CHART POSITION #109
Find it at GEMM
ILPS 9429 cover
[high resolution scan]

K RONOMYTH 2.0: LOVE AND THE ALIEN. A mind collects all manner of clues and tucks the words “ex-Automatic Man” (a parenthetical inclusion in a discussion of Asia) into some dusty corner until chance and circumstance walk into one another, mumbling about the angels or the meaning of Tarot or something, and the words are jostled free. That’s how I encountered a used copy of Visitors anyway. It collected dust for a few more years, the alien cover promising a sizeable chunk of 70s cheese that wouldn’t be the worse for aging. But brother fromage another planet is more like it. Automatic Man is the brainchild of jazz keyboardist Bayete (nee whinny whinny Todd Cochran), who together with guitarist Pat Thrall, drummer Michael Shrieve and bassist Doni Harvey released the first album with a nearly identical cover. Those who heard it were unlikely to forget its mix of progressive space-funk rock. The following year, Visitors arrived; same alien on the outside, a slightly less alien mix of smart funk/rock fusion on the inside. The mid 70s actually produced a lot of eclectic and intelligent bands like this: The Tubes, Utopia, Steely Dan, Styx, contemporaneous Chicago and Santana. As a vocalist, Bayete sounds like a very relaxed Jimi Hendrix, singing mostly about love and aliens. His jazz background results in some very smart arrangements, which you’ll find on “Visitors,” “Here I Am Now,” “So You Wanna Be” and “What’s Done.” A concept nearly emerges on the second side, but Visitors isn’t a concept album. It’s also not the commercial sellout that some have mistakenly branded it. Like the music of Santana, Automatic Man was on a quasi-mystical quest that relied on the conventional language of funk/rock but also rode beyond those borders in pursuit of a grander statement. It’s probably on that last point that prog fans have hung their hat, but Visitors is not a progressive rock album. Bayete’s bid to be a rock star ended with the Automatic Man albums, leaving behind two impressive albums that bespeak the transitional phase between jazz, disco and ambitious (if not progressive) rock as well as any records from the period.

TRACK LISTING

  1. GIVE IT TO ME    3:49
  2. LIVE WIRE    4:45
  3. SO YOU WANNA BE    4:00
  4. Y-2-ME    4:18
  5. VISITORS    3:50
  6. HERE I AM NOW    4:26
  7. DAUGHTER OF NEPTUNE    4:13
  8. WHAT'S DONE    6:22

    All tunes composed by Bayeté

CREDITS

BAYETÉ -- keyboards, synthesizers & lead vocals
JEROME RIMSON -- bass
GLENN SYMMONDS -- drums
PAT THRALL -- guitar
Lionel Conway -- executive producer
Bruce Robb -- engineer
Lou Casabianca/Glyphics -- art direction & album design
Dwain Zerio -- cover painting

return to AUTOMATIC MAN discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1977 Island LP ILPS 9249 lyric insert
GER 1977 Island LP 25236-XOT lyric insert
US May 23, 2005 Lemon CD CDLEM-66 digital remaster

 

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