Big Bertha / Hamburg 1970 / 2CD

Big Bertha / Hamburg 1970 / 2CD / ZODIAC

Live recording at small club near Hamburg in Germany on 3rd December 1970

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BIG BERTHA, an important band in the early career that hero Cozy Powell flared in the world. The precious full live album has been brushed up and released.

[The best board of BIG BERTHA that conveys “Before Beck’s cozy”] The performance included in this work is December 3, 1970 Hamburg performance. The spectacular career, also known as migratory birds, is always famous, but before RAINBOW, there are probably many people who “know only JEFF BECK GROUP (hereafter JBG#2)”. In fact, Cozy’s professional career started in the mid-1960s and transferred numerous bands. BIG BERTHA was the reason why he met Jeff Beck and became a scout. This is a good opportunity, so let’s review the steps to RAINBOW.

・1965-1968: THE SORCERERS
・1969-1971: BIG BERTHA ←★here★
・1971-1972: JEFF BECK GROUP#2
・1972-1974: BEDLAM
・1975-1980: RAINBOW

This is a brief history from Cozy’s first professional band THE SORCERERS to RAINBOW. Strictly speaking, there are bands like YOUNG BLOOD and BAKERLOO that have passed each other for a moment, but the main activity is as described above. ACE KEFFORD STAND was the signboard singer: BIG BERTHA was formed (or renamed) by the remaining Dave & Denny’s ball brothers and cozy after Ace Keford left. In addition to the three core players, members such as Pete Ball (Key), Peter French (Vo), and David McTavish (Vo) have been active until 1971. The performance of Hamburg in this work was a subtle time when Cozy and Jeff met each other, but JBG#2 was not officially launched yet.

[The “Cozy Tape” brand that attracted even officials] The official sound of BIG BERTHA, which was able to release only two singles during the activity, came to be known because the official live album that was unearthed after the death of Cozy was a surprise. Actually, the sound source, the first to be excavated was the boot leg, the so-called “cozy tape”. Until then, you can enjoy the full show of BIG BERTHA, which was a phantom band whose name you could only see in Cozy’s biography. Labels such as ZOOM CLUB and MAJESTIC ROCK have just copied and officially released it.
The quality of this sound source and the background are not normal. If you’re a sharp person, you’ll notice that I haven’t touched either the “sound board” or the “audience” so far, but I can’t get rid of them with this crest-cutting type. The fact is that it is “professional microphone recording”. The band installed two mics on the stage and recorded them reel to reel. Roughly speaking, the whole band is recorded like a drum microphone, and although it is neither a line nor a seat (it can be seen from the official release), it is definitely the highest level. It’s a very direct sound that’s intimately close to what you would think of as a desk-mounted sound board, unless you say it, even though it’s really excavating from the peak.
The introduction was long, but this work is a live album that became the origin of such an official edition. It is the ultimate version of the Daimyo board that was directly digitized from “Cozy Tape” with the latest mastering. In fact, the sound of this work is the highest peak ever. The existing and official editions had the same tape as they were, so the balance changed, and there was a feeling of being somewhat clogged up, but this work thoroughly checked. The opening, which had a high-pitched tone, was arranged so that the original sound of the instrument could be felt, and overall omission was improved. Finished so that you can feel the separation and the stereo effect that are directly connected to the desk more vividly.

[Young prime cozy with both technique and power] What is drawn with such a sound is the rampage of a young cozy who will surprise the world with JBG#2 in a few months. The set is a cover of the original and blues standard that will be announced at the single and later BEDLAM. We also play the familiar “Spoonful” and “Crossroads” in CREAM. By the way, “Set Me Free” is a song that was officially recorded at BEDLAM, which is different from Graham Bonnet’s “LINE-UP” song. At the stage of this work, the lyrics are still temporary.
▽ Cozy’s rampage is more intense than such a set! In JBG#2, Koji was made famous by the depressing force after RAINBOW in response to Jeff, but BIG BERTHA is a fusion of both styles. The point is not “intermediate” but “fusion”. The variety of phrases that can’t be imagined from the image of later years is the JBG#2 style as it is, yet the power to explode each stroke is not lost even after RAINBOW. More powerful than JBG#2 and more exploding than RAINBOW. Some enthusiasts say “BIG BERTHA and BED LAM are the core of cozy”, but it’s just strange. And the biggest thing to hear is “Spoonful,” which features cozy drum solos. Before the song started, it seemed encouraging to declare “I’ll do a drum solo” on the MC, and it was really intense. Even though it’s in the middle of the song, I hit the free solo with explosion tension for about 8 minutes. There were more than 10 minutes of solos using classical songs in later years, but free solos were about 3 minutes at the longest. You can imagine how horrible “8 minutes” of this work is.
≪I’ve only talked about Cozy, but I can’t overlook the other two ball brothers. The guitar Dave ball is also known as PROCOL HARUM, but in fact the bass Denise ball is a master. Without being hidden by the stormy cozy blow, I inserted a singing phrase with a bash, and the feeling of breathing and compatibility are perfect. Cozy’s best partner might have been Dennis…it’s a wonderful rhythm band.

As expected, vocals do not reach the later famous bands, but it is no exaggeration to say that career high for cozy drumming. BIG BERTHA is the essence of British blues rock drawn in such a terrible performance. The ultimate version of the precious “cozy tape”. We hope you enjoy it with our permanent storage press 2CD.


英雄コージー・パウエルが世界に羽ばたくキッカケともなった初期キャリアの重要バンドBIG BERTHA。その貴重極まるフル・ライヴアルバムがブラッシュアップして登場です。

【“ベック以前のコージー”を伝えるBIG BERTHAの極上盤】
そんな本作に収められているのは「1970年12月3日ハンブルク公演」。渡り鳥とも呼ばれた華々しいキャリアはつとに有名ですが、RAINBOW以前となると「JEFF BECK GROUP(以降、JBG#2)しか知らない」という方も多いのではないでしょうか。実のところ、コージーのプロキャリアは60年代半ばには始まっており、幾多のバンドを移籍。そんな彼がジェフ・ベックと出逢い、スカウトされるキッカケになったのがBIG BERTHAなのです。良い機会ですので、ここでRAINBOWまでの歩みをザッとおさらいしておきましょう。

・1965-1968:THE SORCERERS
・1969-1971:BIG BERTHA ←★ココ★
・1971-1972:JEFF BECK GROUP#2

これがコージー最初のプロバンドTHE SORCERERSからRAINBOWまでの略歴。厳密に言うとYOUNG BLOODやBAKERLOOのような一瞬すれ違ったようなバンドもあるのですが、活動のメインとなったのが上記の通りです。ACE KEFFORD STANDが看板シンガー:エース・ケフォードが脱退した後、残ったデイヴ&デニーのボール兄弟とコージーによって結成(というか改名)したのがBIG BERTHAでした。軸となる3人の他にもピート・ボール(Key)やピーター・フレンチ(Vo)、ディヴィッド・マクタヴィッシュ(Vo)といったメンバーが出入りしつつ、1971年まで活動。本作のハンブルク公演はコージーとジェフが出逢いつつ、まだ正式にJBG#2立ち上げまでは至っていない微妙な時期でした。

活動中にシングル2枚しかリリースできなかったBIG BERTHAの「音」が知られるようになったのは、コージーの没後に発掘された公式ライヴアルバムがキッカケなのですが、これがまた曰く付き。実はその音源、最初に発掘したのはブートレッグであり、いわゆる“コージー・テープ”だったのです。それまでコージーの略歴に名前を見るだけの幻バンドだったBIG BERTHAのフルショウが楽しめる……その衝撃は海外にも波及。ZOOM CLUBやMAJESTIC ROCKといったレーベル達がそのままコピーして公式リリースしたのです。

そんなサウンドで描かれるのは、数ヶ月後にJBG#2で世界を驚かせることになる若きコージーの大暴れ。セットはシングルや後のBEDLAMで発表されるオリジナルやブルース・スタンダードのカバー。CREAMでお馴染みの「Spoonful」「Crossroads」も演奏しています。ちなみに「Set Me Free」はBEDLAMで正式レコーディングされた曲で、グラハム・ボネットの『LINE-UP』収録曲とは別。本作の段階ではまだ仮歌詞です。
そんなセット以上に強烈なのがコージーの暴れっぷり! JBG#2ではジェフに反応して繊細なフィルを聴かせ、RAINBOW以降はド迫力押しで有名になったコージーですが、BIG BERTHAは両者の融合と言うべきスタイル。ポイントは「中間」ではなく「融合」というところ。後年のイメージから想像できないほど多彩なフレーズはJBG#2スタイルそのままであり、それでいて1打1打が炸裂するようなパワーはRAINBOW以降にも負けていない。JBG#2よりも力強く、RAINBOWよりも手数が爆発している。「BIG BERTHAやBEDLAMこそがコージーの本領」というマニアもいますが、まさに言い得て妙。そして、最大の聴きどころはコージーのドラム・ソロをフィーチュアした「Spoonful」でしょう。曲が始まる前にわざわざMCで「ドラム・ソロをやるぜ」と宣言する気合いの入れようで、実際に強烈。曲の合間とは言え、爆テンションのフリーソロを約8分も叩きまくるのです。後年のクラシック曲を使ったソロは10分以上ありましたが、フリーソロは長くても3分ほど。本作の「8分」がいかに凄まじいかご想像いただけるのではないでしょうか。
コージーの話ばかりになってしまいましたが、他2人のボール兄弟も侮れない。ギターのデイヴ・ボールはPROCOL HARUMでも知られますが、実はベースのデニス・ボールが巧者。嵐のようなコージーの乱打にも隠されずに歌心あるフレーズをバシバシと差し込んでいき、呼吸感も相性もばっちり。コージーのベスト・パートナーはデニスだったんじゃないか……そんな見事なリズム隊を聴かせてくれるのです。

さすがにヴォーカルだけは後の名バンド達には及びませんが、コージーのドラミングに関してはキャリア・ハイと言っても過言ではない。そんな凄まじい演奏で描かれる英国ブルースロックの粋、それこそがBIG BERTHAなのです。貴重な“コージー・テープ”を磨き直した究極盤。どうぞ、永久保存プレス2CDでたっぷりとお楽しみください。

Disc 1(44:17)
1. Dave’s Idiot Dance
2. Beast
3. Ring Of Fire
4. She’s Not There
5. Munich City
6. Spoonful incl. Drum Solo

Disc 2(42:05)
1. MC / Tune Up
2. Crossroads
3. The Stumble
4. Never Gonna Let My Body The Ground
5. Rhapsody In Blue
6. Set Me Free (Freezer On Fire)

Dave Ball – Guitar, Vocal
Denny Ball – Bass, Vocal
Cozy Powell – Drums



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