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The Dragons - BFI



the dragons bfi
The Dragons - BFI
(CD/LP) Ninja Tune ZEN135, 2007-08-27

Strictly Kev/DJ Food, influential mixologist and designer for Ninja Tune and obsessive record collector - picks up a new batch of vinyl from a record dealer he knows. In amongst them is 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. Kev being a fan of all possible food-based puns and currently putting together the mix for his new Solid Steel mix cd for Ninja, drops the needle on the groove.

What he finds amazes him - a true psychedelic original from a band he's never heard of. Using his extensive contacts in the world of vinyl mania, he manages to track Dennis Dragon down. He emails him, asks him if he can include Food For My Soul on the mix. Sure, says Dennis. There's a whole album of the stuff if he's interested. Dennis checks. Donn still has the master tapes. He converts them to mp3 and emails them to Kev. Kev is blown away. He forwards them to Ninja Tune. Ninja Tune think it's a scam. But then they listen. And they listen again. And then, after nearly forty years sitting on a recording engineer's shelf, Ninja Tune decide to release BFI.

Beautifully played and produced, full of crazy invention and a loveably naive 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..?

the dragons bfi
The Dragons - BFI
(CD/LP) Ninja Tune ZEN135, 2007-08-27

Tracklisting :
01. Cosmosis
02. Food For My Soul
03. Amplified Emotion
04. Sandman
05. On The Wall
06. Are You There
07. Sunset Scenery
08. Mercy Call
09. Pop's Bag
10. Big Mike Requiem
11. Your Way Too

Links :
myspace.com/thedragonsbfi

Press Release :
There's a story below and the moral of this story is: keep your master tapes. Whatever you do, keep your master tapes.

It's the late sixties. 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 Dragon brothers decide it's time to create their own psychedelic soul/rock masterpiece. A high school friend of Dennis, Donn Landee, is working as a recording engineer at Sunwest Recording Studios in Hollywood and they begin to go there to put tracks down in "off time" often working from 3am, when they finish their regular gigs, until morning.

They call the sessions "Blue Forces Intelligence," 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 and designer for Ninja Tune and obsessive record collector - picks up a new batch of vinyl from a record dealer he knows. In amongst them is 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. Kev being a fan of all possible food-based puns and currently putting together the mix for his new "Solid Steel" mix cd for Ninja, drops the needle on the groove.

What he finds amazes him - a true psychedelic original from a band he's never heard of. Using his extensive contacts in the world of vinyl mania, he manages to track Dennis Dragon down. He emails him, asks him if he can include "Food For My Soul" on the mix. Sure, says Dennis. There's a whole album of the stuff if he's interested. Dennis checks. Donn still has the master tapes. He converts them to mp3 and emails them to Kev. Kev is blown away. He forwards them to Ninja Tune. Ninja Tune think it's a scam. But then they listen. And they listen again. And then, after nearly forty years sitting on a recording engineer's shelf, Ninja Tune decide to release "BFI".

Beautifully played and produced, full of crazy invention and a loveably naive 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..?

Sleeve notes by Dennis Dragon :
"BFI" by The Dragons...

It was nearing the end of the sixties' decade. My brothers, Doug ,Daryl and I were living in Malibu, surfing and gigging around the Los Angeles area in various bands including our own. We came from a very musical family; our father Carmen Dragon was a well known symphony conductor and arranger around Hollywood, our mother Eloise, a colaratura soprano singer and our two sisters, Carmen and Kathy played harp and flute respectively. I was the youngest of the brothers. I played drums and was dabbling with recording equipment and photography. My brothers played great keys. Daryl also played the vibes, bass, guitar and a few other instruments.

That all being said, it was a great time for music. The Beatles with George Martin opened up a big door to just about anything musically and production-wise. Hendrix was blowing minds with his trip and Zep defined new parameters for rock and roll. Around the same time The Doors and others were freaking us out with their hypnotic sounds. Doug and I thought it was time for us to enter the arena and put something "serious" on tape. We hooked up with my high school buddy/recording engineer Donn Landee who was working at Sunwest Recording Studios in Hollywood at the time. We worked out a "spec deal" and arrived in the off hours, sometimes after our club gigs around 3 am and working ‘till morning. We became more "driven" as we laid down more tracks; Doug and I had never explored this territory before, especially in the vocal department. I was playing my usual "jazzy" style with Doug laying down the groove on the keys. Doug was singing the low parts and I was experimenting with high layered harmonies. Donn added his great recording and production ideas and as we listened to the playbacks we were all fired up! There was a unique sound coming from the JBL control room speakers...

We called it BFI, for "Blue Forces Intelligence"! Don't ask me why. We were certain we had a "hit". We shopped the finished product all over Hollywood to the major labels with no luck. We got comments from the big boys like "Great production but I don't hear a hit" to "We can't fit it into a niche". After a few months we became discouraged and shelved the tapes. It was fun recording, but The Dragons and the BFI project seemed destined to obscurity.

Advance the clock 37 years...I get an e-mail from Kevin, DJ Food at Ninjatunes, and he says he loves the song "Food for my Soul" by The Dragons and wants to include it in his latest mix. He found the song on a surf film soundtrack album that I produced that was released in the mid seventies. I had put that one BFI tune on that record because the film's producer, the late Hal Jepsen, really liked it. I told Kev there was more that was recorded at the same time period and sent him MP3s of the album. He liked what he heard. All I had in my possession was a copy of the master tape. I tracked Donn down after losing contact with him decades ago. I asked him if he knew where the BFI master tapes were. He said he was "looking right at them". Miraculously, the tapes were "rescued" in 1974 by his friend, Howard Weiss when the tape vault at Sunwest was being cleaned out and they were headed for the trash .What a trip.

We're now up to speed. "BFI" is now released. My brothers, Donn and I couldn't be more pleased. In the mid seventies, Doug moved to Hawaii. Around ‘79-'80, he made a name for himself gigging around Australia. Daryl went on to join Toni Tennille as "The Captain", and I am still producing and recording bands and now doing music television, occasionally drumming and "beaching it" in the Santa Barbara area.. Donn went on to make records at Warner Brothers with Ted Templeman, Lenny Waronker and Ed Van Halen. He is currently doing Internet commerce and still photography.

There's a lesson here to be learned...
Don't throw your old master tapes way!
Djouls

Djouls

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punchcard punchcard ·  06 July 2007, 10:10

I cannot wait for this!
and kudos to Kev for both finding them, and creating that stunning artwork.

MafiaGato MafiaGato ·  08 July 2007, 07:17

me too mate, can't wait

punchcard punchcard ·  17 July 2007, 19:23

I got it today, MG, and it's SU-BLIME

it's just a promo copy, so no idea what the full artwork Kev did looks like

MafiaGato MafiaGato ·  18 July 2007, 09:33

lucky man :), can't wait to see the release out, can you help us out scanning the promo if you have scanner on, please? obsessives thx mate

cordeaux cordeaux ·  01 September 2007, 11:34

This is a total gem. It flips your brain, like listening to the Doors for the first time (well very close). Sure to be widely exploited at a cinema or advert near you soon.

Crowley Crowley ·  24 October 2007, 11:47

This is too good to be true. After loving "Spirit" for many years, this filled my need for more, even groovier vibes from days gone by.

Great drumming, unusually lush recording, and in the Aquarian spirit for all time.

Had to do it: Put up a five star review on Amazon. Better get more CDs made.
Bob Crowley
Soundwave Research

crowley crowley ·  24 October 2007, 11:49

Oh, this link works better

jazz jazz ·  28 February 2008, 10:12

this is a really cool

easychord easychord ·  04 September 2008, 07:21

great findings....bravo!!


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