The Great Pyramid (1976)
Charles Earland and Odyssey

  1. The Great Pyramid (Charles Earland)

Charles Earland – piano, electric piano, synthesizer, vocals
Gabor Szabo – acoustic guitar
Butch Campbell – rhythm guitar
Jackie Turner – lead guitar
David Clarke – bass
Abe Speller – drums
Lawrence Killian – congas
José Cheo Santos – percussion
Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker – trumpet, flugelhorn
Chris Brubeck – trombone
Arthur Grant – tenor sax, background vocal

The Jernigan Singers [James Bason Jr., Fred Lyes, Idolene Rankine, Wanda Hamlett, Gloria Bason, Hope Dancy] – background vocals

The Spice Strings [Irving Spice, Louis Stone, Bruce Haber, Elliot Rosoff, Deborah Idol, Louis Gabowitz (vln); Seymour Berman, David Sackson (viola); Seymour Barb, Sally Rosoff (cello)] – strings

Arranged by Charles Earland/Scored by Butch Campbell

Producer: Robin McBride & Charles Earland
Engineer: George Klaybin [sic] & Jerrald Solomon
Assistant Engineers: Tim Sadler, Jay Borden & Kathy Dennis

Recorded August 1976 at Sound Ideas Studio, New York, New York

1 issued on LP in 1976 on Mercury SRM-1-1113 [LP] (other titles without Gabor Szabo)

Perhaps one of Gabor Szabo’s oddest associations is with Charles Earland (1941-99) for this ill-conceived disco ballad. Szabo pointlessly strums his acoustic guitar in over dubbed accompaniment while Earland grumbles out some truly silly lyrics.

Earland, a formerly formidable organ grinder who made meaty music during his Prestige heyday, seems genuinely excited about Szabo’s involvement; offering special thanks to the guitarist on the record sleeve. However, Szabo’s contribution is little better than negligible here. What’s more, any individuality to his performance – strikingly, there is none – is buried beneath overbearing cushions of synthesizer washes and string embellishments.

One notable item here, however, is that in addition to sharing the services of the same management company (Forest Hamilton [1945-2000], Chico’s son) with Earland, Szabo was recording for the Mercury label at the same time as Chico Hamilton – who, in March 1977, recorded Catwalk (Mercury SRM1-1163), a much nobler co-production bearing producer Robin McBride’s name.