For years Mike Johnson was certain that the master tapes for Thinking Plague's first two albums were long lost. They recently surfaced & made Early Plague Years possible.
Thinking Plague grew out of basement recording experiments by Mike Johnson & Bob Drake in the early 80's. They released their 1st lp, ...a thinking plague in 1984 on their own label in a hand-painted edition of 500. They then disbanded the original version of the band & formed a new version, featuring Susanne Lewis & others. This band released Moonsongs in 1986, which Option called "stunning" upon its release.
Newly remastered by Bob Drake, with astonishingly improved sound, this marked the 1st time that these vinyl rarities have been available in over a decade. You can hear the development of the band grow from their roots into the sound that could only be theirs.
"Nutty, intellectual avant prog RIO that could only have come from the 1980s.
Everything I have just typed makes this look like a bad thing. It's not. I want some more, and I'll be getting me some.
A comp that's actually at it's best on the two longest tracks, each clocking in at around 15 minutes, 'Moonsongs' and 'Thorns of Blue'." – RYM
released September 19, 2000
MOONSONGS [1-5] [originally released in 1986]
BOB DRAKE : bass guitar, drums and percussion on 1 and 5, keyboards on 4, voice on 5
MARK FULLER : drums on 2, 3 and 5, timbales and Simmons drums on 1.
ERIC MOON : keyboards on all except 4.
MIKE JOHNSON : guitars, drums and percussion on 5, voice on 5.
SUSANNE LEWIS : voice.
MARK McCOIN : drums, percussion and voice on 5, cheap sampler on 1 (flute, piano) and 5 (syllables).
FRED HESS : alto sax on 5.
GLENN NITTA: soprano sax on 5.
...A THINKING PLAGUE [6-12] [originally released in 1984]
SHARON BRADFORD : voice, noise on 8, Casio mini-synth and 'Drake noise box' on 10.
BOB DRAKE : bass guitar, drums and percussion, voice on 6, 8 and 10, guitar on 6 (dirge solo), 9 and 10, bowed balalaika on 7 and 11, synths on 7,10 and 12, piano on 12.
HARRY FLEISHMAN : piano and organ on 7 and 8, voice on 8.
MARK FULLER : drums on 7 and Simmons drums on 12.
MIKE JOHNSON : guitars on 6, 7, 8 and 12, synths on 6, 7 and 12, piano and metal pipes on 12, voice on 6 and 8.
GREAT BANANA : improvised middle section of 12.
MARK BRADFORD : voice on 12.
BOB DRAKE organ, guitar and noise.
MIKE JOHNSON : guitar and noise.
MARK and SHARON BRADFORD : noises, glasses, cat.
supported by 27 fans who also own “Early Plague Years”
Elton Dean on list last (?) studio recording collaborating with the Belgian prog jazzers The Wrong Object.
What a pity they couldn't continue their common path!
As the formidable Mr MoonJune urges us to listen to the late great Elton Dean, blackmailing by offering this for one lousy buck, we should oblige, but please give a little more ;-)
Fans of Soft Machine / Soft Machine Legacy can't be disappointed by this bold statement! Carsten Pieper