Music To Eat
The Hampton Grease BandReview: Hampton Grease Band's only album ... is a one-of-a-kind item, drawing upon jazz, progressive/psychedelic guitar rock, and a generally surrealist bent to back Bruce Hampton's idiot-savant ravings. Comparisons with Zappa and Beefheart are really inevitable, though Hampton Grease Band really weren't on the level of those two fellow weirdos. They were definitely on their own wavelength, though, carving out a more guitar-oriented sound that skirted even closer to the lunatic fringe.
1971 | Columbia Records
by Richie Unterberger for AllMusic
One Ruined Life Of A Bronze Tourist
Col. Bruce HamptonReview: The music is sheer genius - it's jazz, but The Colonel's too smart to call it that - plus it's a lot of other things, such as blues and, most of all, fun.
1978 | Terminus Records
by Stanley Booth
Outside Looking Out
Col. Bruce Hampton & The Late Bronze AgeReview: Reissued in 2002 on CD for the first time by Terminus Records, Col. Bruce Hampton's Outside Looking Out was digitally remastered and repackaged with a bonus track. Though Hampton's entire body of work can be considered a bit bizarre by any standard, this one just might take the cake. The music, executed by top-drawer players, is all over the map: a little rock & roll, various forms of jazz, even a bit of salsa. The highly varied instrumentation and way-beyond-peculiar lyrics are what really set this one apart. It's got oboe, tabla, vibes, and everything in between. Lyrics encompass snippets of interviews discussing fashion and haircuts, the rantings of an irate chef, musings on what became of the "Roebuck" in Sears & Roebuck, and a whole lot of stuff not even the most hardcore Hampton devotee could dissect -- which is exactly what Hampton likely intended. You have to love a guy who did as he pleased with the wacky clutter that was rambling around in his head, knowing full well none of it would ever see the light of day on commercial radio -- and surely being grateful for it.
1980 | Terminus Records
by Ann Wickstrom for AllMusic
Isles Of Langerhan
Col. Bruce Hampton & The Late Bronze AgeReview: The second of only two Hampton albums to contain his bizarre poetry, Isles of Langerhan is a bit easier to get your arms around than its predecessor, Outside Looking Out. It's not that the lyrics make more sense (only a fool would try to get into the colonel's head here); it's just easier to resist the silly notion that you can follow his train of thought if you try hard enough, because the music rocks hard and the grooves are deep and that's really all that matters. Other than a little jazz ("Celtic Annoyance"), rockabilly (bonus track "Jack the Rabbit"), and a few sundry odds and ends, this is essentially great rock & roll that was way ahead of its time when originally released on vinyl in 1982, yet delightfully timeless upon its re-release on CD by the Atlanta-based Terminus Records 20 years later. On a few tunes, the lyrics are not so much sung as they are spoken in a somewhat repetitive and singsong manner, but the music over which they are draped is often quite complex and the musicians playing it are killer. By the way, don't bother pulling out a map to find out where the Isles of Langerhan are; consult your medical dictionary.
1982 | Terminus Records
by Ann Wickstrom for ArtistDirect
Col. Bruce HamptonReview: I first heard of guitar and vocal expressionist Col. Bruce Hampton Ret. by way of Mike Gordon's film "Outside Out." Most of the soundtrack from that movie was lifted from Hampton tunes that he recorded with any number of his previous outfits, such as Aquarium Rescue Unit or Fiji Mariners. On this album you get that same unmistakable Colonel Bruce feeling. If you enjoy listening to chazoid noodlings, truly outceptional freedom of expression, and all around high quality musicianship, this might be a good buy for you. My particular favorite track on Arkansas is "Fixin' to Die," where you hear the blues as only Bruce can sing them. The brilliance of the Colonel is that as strange as it may get, and as far out as he may take you, he remains honest the whole time, a guy who's voice you can trust.
1987 | Terminus Records
Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit
Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue UnitReview: Veteran Capricorn producer Johnny Sandlin (Allmans, etc.) has given this disc such clarity and depth that you keep forgetting it was recorded live in Athens, Georgia, in front of a packed house of Hampton's growing legion of fans. It rocks, swings, smacks, clangs, walks and runs, this music, with its eyes rolled back in its head. I'm basically frightened too, Bruce. In the title tune of an earlier album, you sang of my home state: "I never had much control/Till I got to Arkansas." After hearing the latest from the Aquarium Rescue Unit, I'm afraid I almost understand what that means.
1992 | Capricorn Records
by Robert Palmer for Rolling Stone
Mirrors Of Embarrassment
Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue UnitReview: Bruce Hampton, very late of the Hampton Grease Band, has learned to let it all stretch and flow, and, boy, does it flow. This sophomore set is a treat and a half, filled with jazzy grooves that get bluesy and then rocky, only to stand up and toss Bela Fleck out front for a banjo attack on "Too Many Guitars." It's relaxed, smart, fun music with big fat friendly shouter vocals from the Colonel.
1993 | Capricorn Records
by Steven McDonald for AllMusic
Strange Voices: A History 1977-1987
Col. Bruce HamptonReview: Reheasals for Fainting, Basically Frightened, Fat Brooms, Cocoa Beach, Farmers Earn Livings- there are so many incredible songs on this album... Anyone with an appreciation for music and an understanding of eggs should buy this album... buy it 66 times...
1994 | Landslide Records
by Matt Reynolds for iTunes
Fiji Mariners Featuring Col. Bruce Hampton
1996 | Volcano Records
Fiji Mariners Featuring Col. Bruce HamptonReview: Cultishly adored fusion rockers Col. Bruce Hampton (guitar) and Dr. Dan Matrazzo (keyboards) form the genius kernel of the Fiji Mariners. The Mariners definitely draw outside the lines. Bold-stroked and adventurously hued, the Hampton-Matrazzo palette is a bright and stunning blues or jazz melody splashed onto a background canvas of strong rock and jazz rhythms. This live album details and documents the Atlanta quartet's audacious, witty, and skilled brand of music. Nearly every other track ("The Mariner," "Spider," and "Earth") of this nine-track album (comprising just over an hour's worth of music) heats it up with a base in volcanic funk. Monstrously impressive, the Fiji Mariners boast having the chops to be musicians' musicians and the entertaining showmanship to truly move any fan of manifold sonic exploration. When a group's own set list becomes merely a point of departure to something greater, it is only the live album that becomes a true artifact of that group's vision.
1998 | Volcano Records
by Tom Schulte for AllMusic
Give Thanks To Chank
Col. Bruce & The Quark AllianceReview: Gustav Berglund III--aka Col. Bruce Hampton--always possessed an uncanny ability to read the generational proclivities of the jam-band fans of whatever era in which he happened to be playing. With the Hampton Grease Band, he created off-kilter boogie for the Southern rockers of the early '70s; with the Aquarium Rescue Unit, he raised the bar for the '90s jam-band revivalists; and in the early '00s, he introduced the Quark Alliance, undoubtedly a jam band, but one with spasmodic guitar flashes that suggest a newfound affinity for free-jazz stalwarts such as Nels Cline and Marc Ribot. In other words, Hampton has once again reinvented himself for a new generation's taste in noodles and licks."Give Thanks To Chank" is an impressive record and one to file--believe it or--next to the likes of Captain Beefheart in your collection.
2007 | Brato Ganibe Records
by Rovi for AllMusic
Songs Of The Solar Ping
Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret.Review: Hampton’s musical worlds occasionally overlap, but his latest solo album ... is squarely in the oddball territory that this reviewer finds most endearing out of Hampton’s approaches. There is an unfettered, non-self-conscious spirit throughout the album, particularly when it comes to musicianship; his aim isn’t to demonstrate his chops but to catch the listener off guard, like on the two erratic piano pieces that sound like an untrained version of Cecil Taylor. Some tracks, including the opening title track, dive right into free jazz, with drums and cymbal taps providing a jittery momentum and guitars (which sometimes sound like sitars) weaving a meandering path. Hampton plays all instruments on the album, with the exception of keyboards played by Dennis Palmer (of the Shaking Ray Levis) on two tracks, which happen to be among the album’s most colorfully deranged numbers. Those are the songs that best demonstrate Hampton’s attention-grabbing, wickedly playful, and brain-arresting talents.
2008 | Brato Ganibe Records
by Ernie Paik for Chattanooga Pulse
Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret.Review: On Pharoah's Kitchen [sic], Hampton's first solo effort since 2008's Songs of the Solar Ping, the singer, songwriter, guitarist, and auteur coalesces many of his past musical strains successfully into a nine-track, 36-minute album that flows with surprising ease, channeled through his charmingly offbeat and eclectic mindset. While most of the song titles here don't display the warped sensibilities of previous selections such as "Fat Brooms Brush the Number Bush," "Frolic with the Closet Lizards," or "Ghost Alcohol Sandwich," there's still plenty of mental madness to chew on with "The Dots Go Where I Say They Go" and "The Grogans Have Arrived." Hampton's talk/shout singing is akin to stream of consciousness speaking with verbal acrobatics that make his oddball concepts seem poetic and nearly normal. The jazz piano lines that open the ominous "Don't Go in that Room" keep the vibe lively and push the spirited closer "Money Man" from the church to the sanitarium. As such, there's plenty of Captain Beefheart-style vocal weirdness to go around, but his jazz/blues sensibilities keep a firm grasp on reality showing there's abundant twisted inspiration left in his nearly 70-year-old brain. As is usually the case with Hampton's songwriting, the music bends in a variety of directions which, thanks to sacred steel player AJ Ghent's stellar contributions, add a slinky sense of swampy blues to tunes such as "Black Cat on My Shoulder," where the vocalist's sly sense of humor ("she was my future ex-wife, she didn't know it") plays hopscotch with the song's bass-heavy and lowdown blues groove.
2014 | Ropeadope Records
by Hal Horowitz for Creative Loafing
OuroborosNew Orleans Suspects
2014 | Louisiana Red Hot
Old Airport RoadClay Harper
2013 | Terminus Records
2012 | Widespread Records
Back To The Woods: A Tribute To The Pioneers Of Blues PianoChuck Leavell
2012 | Evergreen Arts / Red
The Benefit Concert, Volume 2Various - Warren Haynes Xmas Jam
2007 | Evil Teen Records
2006 | Landslide Records
Inside InMike Gordon
2003 | Ropeadope Records
Bonnaroo, Vol. 2Various
2003 | Sanctuary Records
Live in the Classic CityWidespread Panic
2002 | Sanctuary Records
UninvisibleMedeski Martin & Wood
2002 | Blue Note Records
Wait For MeSusan Tedeschi
2002 | Tone Cool Records
Project ZProject Z
2001 | Terminus Records
The Flower & The KnifeKevin Kinney
2000 | Capricorn Records
Wintertime Blues: The Benefit ConcertVarious - Warren Haynes Xmas Jam
2000 | Evil Teen Records
Mucho Mojo: Best of Fat PossumVarious
1997 | Capricorn Records
The Best of CeDell DavisCeDell Davis
1995 | Fat Possum Records
The Best of Mountain Stage Live, Vol. 6Various
1994 | Blue Plate Records
Route TwoDavid Earle Johnson
1981 | David Earle Johnson Records
Skin Deep - YeahDavid Earle Johnson
1979 | David Earle Johnson Records
Lumpy GravyFrank Zappa
1968 | Verve / Bizarre Records
We're Only In It For The MoneyFrank Zappa
1967 | Capitol Records