Nektar recycled
Nektar Tab in the Ocean

Tales of Nektar daze

Nektar A Tab In The Ocean 1972 The Ocean Daze!
Untold Stories by Mick Brockett

Part Three brings us into the "Oceans of music" that had stockpiled during our first two years as Nektar.

The rapid assembly of the "Space-Opera side one" plus the "Dream Nebula" in 1970 had stalled, so "Good-day" or "New Day Dawning" became our temporary ending to it at live concerts. This was all somewhat due to our second "project" growing into an entity of its' own alongside Journey in 1970. Both projects later came together in one medley... and poor Stig (remember him?) performed a re-entry to Earth to crash deep into Desolation Valley (the Ocean) rather than being abducted to the Dream Nebula! We performed many variations of "Journey to Desolation" but a VERY rare combo of just Astronauts Nightmare into Desolation Valley was probably our shortest. Later versions used Desolation Valley to replace the Dream Nebula after "Warp", because the opening notes to both were so similar.

When the title Desolation Valley was changed from "Porcelain Valley", only that one word and a small part of the lyrics (with reference to the "Great Flood"?) were different, that was also the time that it became permanently attached to the calming instrumental piece.... "Waves".

The foundation for "A Tab in the Ocean" was established long before most of the lyrics were written, other than Roye's "Falling" (from 1970) which became incorporated into this piece before it even had a name. On the forum we presented a "karaoke" version from September 1972, JUST before the Tab studio sessions when it had very few permanent lyrics. Mo & I wrote more lyrics in hotel rooms, probably based on that very tape, the rest were penned AT Dierks studio two weeks later. The stage was liquid green, purple and blue... in pulsating order, and those sitting close to the stage on blankets and pillows were immersed IN it all.

By 1972, Keith was with me, operating slides of Viking, sailing and steam ships, a guy in a bathtub, whales, the octopus, a fight with the submarine, and the sunsets... which played out our second audio/visual "made for the screen" Nektar show after "Journey". "The one that got away" usually refers to a fish.... but in this case it was an entire piece titled "We are the Ocean"... another track that never made it anywhere... once it was shelved in 1971. A practice tape and a few live recordings of it became the only surviving remnants, so that YOU could experience (as I did) the same wonder of just how prolific Nektar WAS in 1971. Taff and Roye put the melody together, and with Mo and Ron driving this (submarine?) piece, it was killer!... I had designated the idea of looking through the eyes of a killer shark or dolphin to depict speed during its' possible visual translation on the screens, or as if the view was from a torpedo. This piece deserved a reincarnation!

Getting back to side two of Tab.... as said, "Desolation Valley" underwent many changes before the final album version, it was often jazzier, retained three separate titles and diverse lyrics throughout 1971. The heavy verse we later used to open side two of Tab was buried far deeper into early versions, preceded by the quieter, jazzier verse, yet Winds of time, sailing minds, sunsets, trees, were all there... in "Porcelain Valley". . This is why live liquids worked so well with early Nektar, there was so much spontaneous jamming ...especially when we were playing to our growing local fan base around Darmstadt, who also saw how it had evolved from "Acorn Valley".

I must admit, I would loved to have heard the earlier jazzy variation recorded with the much later album lyrics. First called "The 5/4 piece" because the initial jam back in 1970 WAS in 5/4 time inspired by Brubeck's "Take Five" and we had been playing this jazzy jam for a few months, it had become longer and longer, with a contrasting 4/4 verse, ...then with repeated verses and more solo areas, until it morphed into more of a 4/4 piece... still instrumental... THEN some impromptu vocals emanated from our liquid stage... "See the sunny sand, walking on the (something), see the sunny winters night, you broke your shoe?, see the way you found her way, (something, something), see how many acorns break" (you go figure), then back to the instrumental with interesting guitar interludes, still within that delicate "Take Fivish" rhythm. THAT version is now back in the archives.

Crying in the Dark has always been called the "D-jam" on set-lists since it premiered as a pure instrumental jam in 1971. It has been a jam ever since too, as the opening was a typical live check for tuning as Ron slams the snare to get the attention of everyone. Taff's Hammond melody became more refined, yet still loose enough to play around with, ... then Roye's counter solo brought his wah-wah into play to make it different. The "D jam" became a permanent link to "King of Twilight" ... tough on all vocal chords, even back in 1972, when important harmonies throughout this song had to be on the money ....because this piece drives like crazy, right to the very last "Free".

Mick.© 2009

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