A talented and rather underrated progressive rock band Curved Air formed in March 1970. Sonja Kristina, their lead vocalist and sex symbol, had previously made a handful of TV appearances as a teenager in the 'Song and Story' series. She then worked her way on to the folk circuit and later appeared in 'Hair' providing the lead vocals on Frank Mills, which not only appeared on the Soundtrack album, but was also released as a 45. Darryl Way had met Francis Monkman by chance in a music shop, whilst Way was studying at the Royal College of Music. Monkman was currently playing with an outfit called Sisyphus.
He also chose the band's name because he was captivated by Terry Riley's "Rainbow In Curved Air" album at the time.
In 1971 the band toured America although they never cracked the lucrative US market and only attained a cult following. Indeed only their first three albums were released there. Shortly after they returned they enjoyed their only UK hit when "Back Street Luv" (later included on their "Second Album") climbed to No 4 in the Summer of that year on the crest of the progressive rock wave. Ian Eyre replaced Robert Martin on bass at around this time.
"The Second Album" was another fine slab of vinyl, in many respects a progression on their innovative debut. The opener "Young Mother" showcased Kristina's vocal talents admirably as well as Way's songwriting talents. Indeed, all the songs on side one were his - and whilst "You Know" may have been rather below par, the dream-like "Jumbo" and "Puppets" were both rather sensitive, melodic songs with Kristina's vocals at their most delectable. Francis Monkman wrote all the material on side two, with the lengthy "Piece Of Mind" the imaginative highlight. Indeed, this highly complex, innovative song was one of the finest moments of their six year career and possibly of UK progressive rock.
Studio Album, released in 1971
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Young Mother (5:55)
2. Back Street Luv (3:38)
3. Jumbo (4:11)
4. You Know (4:11)
5. Puppets (5:26)
6. Everdance (3:08)
7. Bright summer's day 68 (2:54)
8. Piece of Mind (12:52)
Total Time: 40:25
Line-up / Musicians
- Sonja Christina / vocals
- Darryl Way / vocal, electric violin, piano on "Puppet"
- Francis Monkman / guitar, keyboards, VCS3 synthesizer
- Ian Eyre / bass guitar
- Florian Pilkington Miksa / drums