Jun 8, 2009

Diggin' In The Crates "Psychedelic Trane" Edition

Sorry for not dropping in to share new installments of DITC with you all, but I was only short of energy and time, not material to share. Now to catch up:

My John Coltrane collection expanded by a few titles since I did this post back in April sharing what was then my Coltrane vinyl library to date. And one of the titles I went for was this rather infamous puppy:

Artist: John Coltrane
Title: OM
Label: Impulse!/ABC
Vinyl: Standard black vinyl

So sayeth Wikipedia (after I edited a glaring error in the paragraph):

In October, 1965, Coltrane recorded Om, referring to the sacred syllable in Hindu religion, which symbolizes the infinite or the entire Universe. Coltrane described Om as the "first syllable, the primal word, the word of power". The 29-minute recording contains chants from the Bhagavad-Gita, a Hindu epic. It is alleged that Coltrane began taking LSD around the time of the Om session. A 1967 LP, issued posthumously, has Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders chanting from a Buddhist text, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and reciting a passage describing the primal verbalization "om" as a cosmic/spiritual common denominator in all things.

When Impulse!/ABC, the label Coltrane recorded for during the last seven years of his life, issued this album, there was a rumor afoot that Coltrane and his band (which at the time was his Classic Quartet of pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrisson, and drummer Elvin Jones, plus the addition of tenor saxist Pharoah Sanders playing DMC to Coltrane's DJ Run) had dropped acid before the tapes rolled. No doubt some people gave further credence to this rumor after just one hearing of this album. Suffice it to say that the critics of the time, always eager to shit on Coltrane when he didn't record something that wasn't "Return of the Son of 'My Favorite Things'," hated this album.

Trivia: The "Om" amulet on the album's front cover belonged to Impulse! head and John Coltrane's producer, Bob Thiele.

My copy is an original pressing using the standard Impulse!/ABC label of the day, which had morphed from the original orange-dominated label, to the black label with red trim and that ubiquitous TV network logo stuck next to it.

Like every Impulse release until the evil MCA empire got its hands on the ABC Records tape vault, the album came in a righteous gatefold.
As its own album, Om has not been in print in America for several years, and import copies, when you can find them sometimes have the track split into two parts (as on the original vinyl), while others present the piece uninterrupted. In the US, Om did finally get some digital compact disc respect as part of the double CD anthology The Major Works of John Coltrane in 1992. Hopefully, a remastered edition of the original album will be making its way to store shelves later this year or early next year as part of The Impulse Years: Volume Four 5-CD box set. In the meantime, give a gander to the entire piece via this link here: (Give it a couple of minutes to load, due to its length)

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