Records That Made History

Harvey Mandel – Christo Redentor

todayOctober 28, 2023 10 5

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Ever since Cristo Redentor was first released, in November 1968, by Phillips Records, it has been one of those albums that no lover of good music can avoid having in their record library. In the album there is a strong presence of wind instruments and strings. A prime example is the reverse guitar playing on “Wade In The Water”, which is obvious that when the album was recorded in 1968, it was done using analog tape. Also throughout the album in general, but on “Wade In The Water” and “After Six” especially, the drums are amazing. The track “The Lark” finally features some of the best harmonica playing ever to be heard on a rock-blues album, by Charlie Musselwhite. It is one of those pieces that if someone has not heard it and its sound reaches their ears, they will wonder what is being heard and who is playing it.

Charlie Musselwhite when asked if he had ever played “The Lark” in concert, replied that the piece had only been played once, during the recording of Cristo Redentor.

One can buy the album either for what it represents or for what it really is. It’s certainly a work of psychedelic content, but it could also be a uniquely masterful display of instrumental tracks and vocal versatility.

Cristo Redentor, Portuguese for Christ the Redeemer, is one of the perhaps unbridled gems of the experimentally fun sixties, where Harvey Mandel takes the blues down unusual paths, especially on the extended rendition of “Wade In The Water”, with Cuban great Armando Peraza on congas and Nick DeCaro’s alternative instrumentation, designed to tie in with Mandel’s clever guitar licks.

The bluesy “Lights Out” features Mandel’s charming guitar lick like on “I Feel Fine” and then the background is his distorted guitar hide with the strong presence of the violin, where twelve meter blues dominates thanks to Jerry Bradley and Jerry Kennedy.

Mandel’s sound is uniquely his own, with John Mayall once describing it as “Harvey’s wall of sound”, later adding that Harvey’s brilliant vision could have changed the course and structure of his own as well of vision, when Harvey got his hands on the Gibson 355 and began to see what doors he could open with his mastery of controlled feedback and audio delay effects in the face of reticence about blues, jazz and psychedelia.

Through this masterpiece of modern music, we select to hear the track “Before Six”.


A1. Wade In The Water 7:52
A2. Lights Out 4:53
A3. Bradley’s Barn 3:18
A4. You Can’t Tell Me 4:20
A5. Nashville 1 A.M. 3:39
B1. Cristo Redentor 3:48
B2. Before Six 6:30
B3. The Lark 4:40
B4. Snake 3:49
B5. Long Wait 2:45

Written by: Dimitris Sigalos

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