Iron Butterfly
The Early Non-Atco Recordings

 

Note: please return to the Iron Butterfly Discography

 

CREDITS

This website is designed by Bas Möllenkramer with the help of Michael Thom.

INTRODUCTION

In 1967 Iron Butterfly was contracted to Atlantic Records subsidiary, Atco. With the first five-piece lineup they recorded the excellent debut album Heavy, after which a few members left and replacements were sought. Following this partial breakup, Atlantic Records held back release of the debut album, Heavy, until a fully functioning touring band was available to support sales. It is not known exactly when the tracks on this website were recorded, but the most likely scenario is that they were recorded before Heavy and released later. Perhaps they were sold to Janus records who then licensed them elsewhere. These tracks have appeared in various countries, on various labels, both in mono and in stereo. Some tracks have appeared in other versions on the official Atco releases and others have never appeared anywhere else. Little is known about the line-up that recorded these tracks, and surviving band-members either cannot or will not remember. Some tracks are fully finished and fully produced while others have the feel of demo recordings, lacking vocals.

Almost all vinyl sources of these tracks, released in various countries around the world, are very hard to find. It is therefore difficult to know if this list is complete. However, we feel confident that this is probably a complete overview of the songs, if not the vinyls. We would love to be proved wrong however!

First of all here is a table of all known early non-Atco tunes, in their various formats. Some tracks are available on more than one source. To get a complete set it would be necessary to buy EP's from Sweden and Mexico and singles from Belgium, France and the Netherlands. There is also an LP from the Netherlands.

 

No. Title Composer Mode Time
1 Love Iron Butterfly Mono 2.34
2 Love Iron Butterfly Stereo 2.35
3 Possession (piano take) Doug Ingle Mono 2.50
4 Possession (piano take) Doug Ingle Stereo 2.53
5 Don't Look Down On Me D. Hughes Mono 2.22
6 Don't Look Down On Me D. Hughes Stereo 2.24
7 Evil Temptation Iron Butterfly Mono 2.27
8 Evil Temptation Iron Butterfly Stereo 2.28
9 Gentle As It May Seem Danny Weis - Darryl de Loach Mono 2.29
10 Gentle As It May Seem Danny Weis - Darryl de Loach Stereo unknown

THE SONGS

1. Love

There is no version of this tune on any of the official Atco or Atlantic (-related) albums. It is a gentle organ-based ballad, in 3/4-time, with rhythm-guitar chords and fills. Doug Ingle sings this song, occasionally reaching high notes that he didn't often touch later. It is unusual to hear him singing like this! The two known vinyl releases of this tune, have a technical defect, in the form of a partial tape drop-out, about two-thirds of the way into the song. The voice continues but the band drops out. Thanks to some excellent audio editing software it has proved possible to repair this dropout. Both mono and stereo versions exist. The mono version has a more complete bass-guitar introduction and the stereo version omits the first few notes. Thanks to the audio editing skills of Michael Thom it has proved possible to create a new, more complete, stereo version restoring the missing bass notes at the start.

2. Possession

Iron Butterfly's first album "Heavy" opened with the well-known organ-based recording of this song. Here however we hear a different recording featuring electric piano (probably a Hohner Pianet). It exists both in mono and stereo versions. The stereo version has unusual mixing with an extra drum part on the right channel and a wide spread of vocals during the choruses. Although definitely the same take, the stereo and mono versions clearly sound different. Doug Ingle sings the song.

3. Don't Look Down On Me

Of all the songs in this overview, this one appears to have been issued the most frequently and in most territories. The lead vocal sounds very much like Darryl De Loach. It's definitely not Doug Ingle. The overall band sound of this recording comes closest to that heard on the first album "Heavy" and is a properly finished professional mix. During the solo near the end of the song, a noise is heard of a plectrum being swept over guitar strings. This is very reminiscent of Erik Brann's solo in In-A-Gadda-Da-vida, although it could have been Danny Weis too.

4. Evil Temptation

Here too is a tune not released anywhere else. It is an instrumental jam with very little overall structure, just a repeated guitar riff, clearly hinting at things to come. The drone of the riff points towards In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Here the guitar playing sounds a lot more like Erik Brann than Danny Weis. The mono and stereo versions which exist sound slightly different and are certainly from the same take. The cymbals are slightly clearer on the stereo version, although this could be due to record cutting process too.

5. Gentle As It May Seem

This tune appeared as track four on side one of the debut album "Heavy" complete with lyrics. Here is appears as an instrumental, possibly still awaiting the vocals to be added later. A stereo version has so far not appeared anywhere and the version here is mono. The guitar breaks that occur three times during the tune, have a different timing here and this gives a jarring effect compared to the more familiar version. It seems likely that Darryl De Loach being the Iron Butterfly's vocalist on the first album, may have composed the lyrics and that Danny Weis composed the music. If that is true then this instrumental version should perhaps only be credited to Weis.

 

THE RECORDS

1. Single: Don't Look Down On Me / Possession, Janus Records JN 2119, the Netherlands, about 1969-1970, Stereo

This single was issued with a black-and-white sleeve featuring a drawing of a small figure with large metal wings. The rear of the sleeve features advertisements for albums by artists like Kenny Rogers, the Kinks and Frank Zappa. This record is very hard to find. The sound quality is excellent. The matrix numbers are IN 2119 - 2 (crossed out) A and IN 2119 - 2 (both handscribed).

 

2. Single: Don''t Look Down On Me / Possession, Cardinal Records C. 3197, Belgium, about 1969-1970, Stereo

Basically this is the same release as above but for the Belgian market. The front and rear of the sleeve both feature the same man with metal wings as the Dutch release above. There is a credit on the label below the band name: a Janus recording - licensed by NEGRAM. The matrix numers are C-3197A/1 and C-3197B/1 (both machine stamped). The quality is excellent.

 

3. Single: Possession / Evil Temptation, Stateside 2C 006-92.440 M, France, June 1971, Mono

This single was issued in a light blue sleeve featuring red and white lettering and a drawing of a butterfly. The rear of the sleeve is white with light blue lettering and advertisements for artists known to have released albums on the Janus label, like Cissy Houston and Teegarden and van Winkle. This is a source for the mono versions of both tunes. The sound quality is excellent and the matrix numbers are 9 24 40 M A 21  M3 2 79  55 4 and 9 24 40 M B 21  M3 2 79  55 5 (all machine stamped). The Janus Records source of the recordings is not credited anywhere but the related artists on the sleeve rear confirm the link. This record appears quite regularly and is not thought to be extremely rare.

 

4. LP: International Pop Mix, Negram Records ELS 905, the Netherlands 1971, Stereo. Source for Don't Look Down On Me

This is a label compilation released on the Negram label in the Netherlands. Most of the artists on the album were based in the Netherlands although there are international artists too, such as Iron Butterfly and Desmond Dekker, making the album's title only just defensible. The Iron Butterfly tune is "an original Janus recording", a reference which surfaces on other records too. This album is fairly common in the Netherlands, although many are damaged. Matrix numbers are ELS905/A//14.691-2/Y. and ELS905/B//14.692-1-Y (hand scribed). The sound quality of the Iron Butterfly tune is very good, but does not match the singles.

 

5. EP: Love / Evil Temptation, Juke Box JSEP-5612, Sweden 1971, Stereo.

This is a four track EP. The two Iron Butterfly tunes are on the A-side. The B-side features two tunes by Santo & Johnny, whose black and white photo is also featured on the sleeve. The rear of the sleeve is blank. The matrix numbers are 5612 A and 5612 B (machine stamped). The stereo version of Love included here, has a partial drop-out around two-thirds of the way into the song. This has been repaired using computer audio editing. This record is very hard to find.

 

6. EP: No Mires Hacia Abajo, Gamma Records GX 07-684, Mexico, probably 1971, mono

A four track EP from Mexico on the Gamma label, licensed from Janus Records. The Janus logo is also repeated on the sleeve, which features all four track titles in Spanish. The following songs are included.
1. No Mires Hacia Abajo (Don't Look Down) credited to D. Hughes
2. Tentacion Diabolica (Evil Temptation) credited to d.a.d. (at the time of writing it is not understood what this abbreviation refers to; perhaps composer unknown?)
3. Posesion (Possession) credited to D. Ingle
4. Suave, Como Se Ve (Gentle As It May Seem) credited to d.a.d.
This record is very hard to find.

 

7. Single: No Mires Hacia Abajo / Amor, Gamma Records, G 976, Mexico, probably 1971

This single couples Don't Look Down On Me with the song Love. Here both songs are credited to (d.a.d.) and licensed from Janus Records. The record was issued in a standard Gamma company sleeve. Both songs are in mono. The song Love (Amor) is slightly longer than the stereo version as explained above.
Thanks to the generosity of my friend Klaas Jelle Veenstra for adding this rarity to my collection

 

8. Single: Don't Look Down On Me / Possession / Evil Temptation, Cleopatra-Purple Pyramid Records CLP 1848, USA, 2014

           Reissue of three of the above songs, all in mono, all transferred from vinyl. The sleeve combines two of the above original releases

 

 9. EP: Don't Look Down On Me/Possession, Juke Box JSEP-5608, Sweden 1971, Stereo.

This is a four track EP. The two Iron Butterfly tunes are on the A-side. The B-side features two tunes by Jerry Williams and Brett Marvin & The Thunderbolts, whose black and white photos are also featured on the sleeve. The rear of the sleeve is blank. The matrix numbers are JSEP-5608 A and JSEP-5608 B (machine stamped). The stereo versions are included here. This record is very hard to find.
 

 

 

THE JANUS RECORD LABEL

The Janus Records label was active in the USA from about 1969 to about 1975 or later. This label released records by US artists like Cissy Houston, Johnny Winter and Harvey Mandel, but mainly by UK artists related to the PYE record label, and others. So far no USA releases of Iron Butterfly recordings on the Janus label have been spotted and it seems likely they don't exist. We could conjecture that Janus acquired the rights to these songs and offered them for licensing in other (safer?) territories. Read about the Janus label here: http://bsnpubs.com/la/janus/janus.html  here http://bsnpubs.com/la/janus/janus.pdf and here http://www.globaldogproductions.info/j/janus.html .