20 May 2012

Doug Jerebine Is Jesse Harper

Reviewed By The Active Listener. (8/10)

There's no shortage of Hendrix guitar disciples in the world, but New Zealand's Doug Jerebine is one of the more obscure, and certainly one of the best.
Jerebine recorded these demo recordings under the name of Jesse Harper in London in 1969 before going to India, quitting the music scene entirely to study Hari Krishna.
Recently Jerebine has started playing live again, and as a result Drag City have released this ( in vinyl and download format only ). Bootleg versions have circulated since the early nineties under the Harper name, but this is the first official release of this material.
A lot of it should sound familiar though. The Human Instinct were in London at the same time as Jerebine and looking for material that would suit their fiery new guitarist Billy T.K. After hearing an acetate of this material they adopted a number of Jerebine's tracks and released six of them over the next few years.
But what of Jerebine's versions? They're much more lo-fi than the Human Instinct's of course, but certainly of good enough sound quality to be highly enjoyable.
Jerebine has a good voice too, but most importantly he's a great guitarist. Less flashy than Billy TK, but he has much more depth and diversity in his approach.
Opening track ( and probably his best known track ) Midnight Sun is a good indicator of what to expect - heavy, and funky, it's halfway between Band of Gypsys and Gypsy, Sun and Rainbows, and even has some traces of primitive Space-rock.
There's also some more laid back material like Ashes and Matches, which is reminiscent of Castles Made of Sand and Little Wing, while Thawed Ice is an appealing mixture of southern rock and funk.
A word to the wise too - take the trouble to track down the New Zealand CD release on Imperial and you'll be rewarded with a few bonus tracks from the London Sessions that aren't on the international version as well as three tracks by Harper's band "The Brew" from 1967-1968 which are little bit more psych-pop and a whole lot more eastern tinged and psychedelic as well as a mammoth new recording "Nava Shanti" recorded last year, which shows emphatically that Jerebine still has it.
You can listen to it here on the Drag City website.
You can buy the Imperial version on CD Here.

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