Wayne Ceballos - guitar, organ, lead vocals, harmonica; Ken Newell - bass, vocals; Larry Martin - drums, vocals
One of the great lesser-known San Francisco bands, AUM was a classic rock power trio, inspired by the likes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream, and led by the talented multi-instrumentalist and singer Wayne Ceballos. The band was first brought to the attention of Bill Graham by San Francisco's premier photographer, Jim Marshall. With one album under their belts in the early days of 1969, the band was slotted for one of Graham's "Sounds of the City" live auditions, commonly held on Tuesday nights at the Fillmore West. On their first night performing, however, AUM veritably knocked the audience off their feet, earning three encores and the longest standing ovation in the history of those auditions. They soon became a popular opening act during 1969, and always put on a high-energy set.
This set, recorded at the Avalon Ballroom on a bill with The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Grateful Dead, is no exception. Opening the set with an unreleased track, "I Need You," Wayne Ceballos immediately cuts loose and commands the audience's attention. The remainder of the set includes a hot live take on "Little Brown Hen" and a highly improvised jam on "Bye Bye Baby" - two tracks from their Fillmore Records release Resurrection, - in addition to a 13-minute exploration on "A Little Help From You," a track featured on their debut album, Bluesvibes.
Writing about this particular night, influential music critic Ralph J. Gleason is quoted as saying "AUM came on and broke it up with a wild, swinging set. There is no getting around it; this is an exciting group with the same kind of turn-on going for it that Santana had when they first appeared."
A formidable comparison, to be sure.