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People United: Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts, film director Mike Figgis and free-jazz legends?

Recordings sometimes have fascinating backstories. Usually, they are cases of serendipity or snafus resulting in altered or ad hoc groups that make unique music. Rarely does the backstory become as legendary as the recording on purely musical merits, which usually requires the recording to be out of print for years. Such is the case with People Band.

Released in 1970 on Transatlantic, a label best known for its roster of contemporary British folk musicians, People Band’s lone album was quickly sent to the cutout bins. It was all but forgotten except by collectors, but Emanem has reissued the album as 1968, and it’s import not only as an early milestone in British improvised music but also for People Band’s implausible constituency.

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