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Music Review: Bump – Bump 2

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Midwest psychedelic warriors Bump let their freak flags fly high on this previously unreleased gem. The Bump (as they were originally known) formed in 1969 out of the same wild Detroit scene that birthed the MC5 and Stooges. Bump’s music may have been less confrontational than some of the other Detroit bands, but they make up for it in sheer lysergic exuberance.

Their music is prime garage/psych of the era, and it didn’t take long for some in the local scene to take a chance on them. This would be in the form of a “conglomerate” who called themselves Pioneer. Pioneer provided the studio, equipment, rehearsal space, management, and record label for the guys. Bump’s first, self-titled album was released in 1970, and promptly went nowhere, even though it contained the regional hit “Sing Into The Wind/State Of Affairs.”

Even though the album did not sell, Bump went back into the studio in 1971 and recorded the eight songs that were to be Bump 2. But Bump 2 was never released. Whether it was due to internal conflicts or problems with the label, the album has been on the shelf for the past 40 years.

Interestingly enough, the one track that Bump are best known for was recorded for Bump 2, and did manage to get out. “Winston Built The Bridge” has appeared on both the Rubble, and Mind Blowers collections of rare garage/psychedelic wonders from the era.

“Winston Built The Bridge” just happens to be the lead track on Bump 2, and it is a great introduction to the band. Opening with some squealing feedback courtesy of Alan Goldman, the song soon settles into a catchy tune, with some nice trippy breaks.

Bump were a very unusual group in that they used a two-organ approach. I cannot recall another band of the era (or any other for that matter) who had this type of lineup. The dual organs sure add to the overall late-sixties acid drenched effect of the music. The prog implications inherent in a set up like this are explored deeply in the very next tune, “Such Pretty Scenery.”

There was a wide variety of music coming out of Detroit 40 years ago, and the perfect pop of Motown was just one strand. With “Sea Of Tranquility,” Bump seem to be attempting to write their pop symphony, with surprisingly effective results. “Promises To You” is another example of this, although the guitar/organ freakout at the end gives the ruse away.

For truly mind-blowing fun, though, the closing 11-minute “Boris The Black” cannot be beat. Singer George Runyan takes on the role of the title character, who seems to be one bad-ass mofo. But it’s when the organs come in to duke it out that things really get dirty. I wish more bands had been adventurous enough to try things like this because it sounds great. To top it off, Alan Goldman’s guitar comes in like the bastard child of Blue Cheer’s Leigh Stevens. The drum solo which leads into the big finish is the icing on the cake of one of the greatest prog/psych/garage albums you have never heard.

Hear it now.

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