Recordings

  • Music To Eat

    The Hampton Grease Band
    1971 | Columbia Records

    Review: Hampton Grease Band's only album ... is a one-of-a-kind item, drawing upon jazz, progressive/psychedelic guitar rock, and a generally surrealist bent to back Bruce Hampton's idiot-savant ravings. Comparisons with Zappa and Beefheart are really inevitable, though Hampton Grease Band really weren't on the level of those two fellow weirdos. They were definitely on their own wavelength, though, carving out a more guitar-oriented sound that skirted even closer to the lunatic fringe. by Richie Unterberger for AllMusic
  • One Ruined Life Of A Bronze Tourist

    Col. Bruce Hampton
    1978 | Terminus Records

    Review: The music is sheer genius - it's jazz, but The Colonel's too smart to call it that - plus it's a lot of other things, such as blues and, most of all, fun. by Stanley Booth
  • Outside Looking Out

    Col. Bruce Hampton & The Late Bronze Age
    1980 | Terminus Records

    Review: Reissued in 2002 on CD for the first time by Terminus Records, Col. Bruce Hampton's Outside Looking Out was digitally remastered and repackaged with a bonus track. Though Hampton's entire body of work can be considered a bit bizarre by any standard, this one just might take the cake. The music, executed by top-drawer players, is all over the map: a little rock & roll, various forms of jazz, even a bit of salsa. The highly varied instrumentation and way-beyond-peculiar lyrics are what really set this one apart. It's got oboe, tabla, vibes, and everything in between. Lyrics encompass snippets of interviews discussing fashion and haircuts, the rantings of an irate chef, musings on what became of the "Roebuck" in Sears & Roebuck, and a whole lot of stuff not even the most hardcore Hampton devotee could dissect -- which is exactly what Hampton likely intended. You have to love a guy who did as he pleased with the wacky clutter that was rambling around in his head, knowing full well none of it would ever see the light of day on commercial radio -- and surely being grateful for it. by Ann Wickstrom for AllMusic
  • Isles Of Langerhan

    Col. Bruce Hampton & The Late Bronze Age
    1982 | Terminus Records

    Review: The second of only two Hampton albums to contain his bizarre poetry, Isles of Langerhan is a bit easier to get your arms around than its predecessor, Outside Looking Out. It's not that the lyrics make more sense (only a fool would try to get into the colonel's head here); it's just easier to resist the silly notion that you can follow his train of thought if you try hard enough, because the music rocks hard and the grooves are deep and that's really all that matters. Other than a little jazz ("Celtic Annoyance"), rockabilly (bonus track "Jack the Rabbit"), and a few sundry odds and ends, this is essentially great rock & roll that was way ahead of its time when originally released on vinyl in 1982, yet delightfully timeless upon its re-release on CD by the Atlanta-based Terminus Records 20 years later. On a few tunes, the lyrics are not so much sung as they are spoken in a somewhat repetitive and singsong manner, but the music over which they are draped is often quite complex and the musicians playing it are killer. By the way, don't bother pulling out a map to find out where the Isles of Langerhan are; consult your medical dictionary. by Ann Wickstrom for ArtistDirect
  • Arkansas

    Col. Bruce Hampton
    1987 | Terminus Records

    Review: I first heard of guitar and vocal expressionist Col. Bruce Hampton Ret. by way of Mike Gordon's film "Outside Out." Most of the soundtrack from that movie was lifted from Hampton tunes that he recorded with any number of his previous outfits, such as Aquarium Rescue Unit or Fiji Mariners. On this album you get that same unmistakable Colonel Bruce feeling. If you enjoy listening to chazoid noodlings, truly outceptional freedom of expression, and all around high quality musicianship, this might be a good buy for you. My particular favorite track on Arkansas is "Fixin' to Die," where you hear the blues as only Bruce can sing them. The brilliance of the Colonel is that as strange as it may get, and as far out as he may take you, he remains honest the whole time, a guy who's voice you can trust. for Amazon
  • Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit

    Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit
    1992 | Capricorn Records

    Review: Veteran Capricorn producer Johnny Sandlin (Allmans, etc.) has given this disc such clarity and depth that you keep forgetting it was recorded live in Athens, Georgia, in front of a packed house of Hampton's growing legion of fans. It rocks, swings, smacks, clangs, walks and runs, this music, with its eyes rolled back in its head. I'm basically frightened too, Bruce. In the title tune of an earlier album, you sang of my home state: "I never had much control/Till I got to Arkansas." After hearing the latest from the Aquarium Rescue Unit, I'm afraid I almost understand what that means. by Robert Palmer for Rolling Stone
  • Mirrors Of Embarrassment

    Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit
    1993 | Capricorn Records

    Review: Bruce Hampton, very late of the Hampton Grease Band, has learned to let it all stretch and flow, and, boy, does it flow. This sophomore set is a treat and a half, filled with jazzy grooves that get bluesy and then rocky, only to stand up and toss Bela Fleck out front for a banjo attack on "Too Many Guitars." It's relaxed, smart, fun music with big fat friendly shouter vocals from the Colonel. by Steven McDonald for AllMusic
  • Strange Voices: A History 1977-1987

    Col. Bruce Hampton
    1994 | Landslide Records

    Review: Reheasals for Fainting, Basically Frightened, Fat Brooms, Cocoa Beach, Farmers Earn Livings- there are so many incredible songs on this album... Anyone with an appreciation for music and an understanding of eggs should buy this album... buy it 66 times... by Matt Reynolds for iTunes
  • Fiji Mariners

    Fiji Mariners Featuring Col. Bruce Hampton
    1996 | Volcano Records



  • Live

    Fiji Mariners Featuring Col. Bruce Hampton
    1998 | Volcano Records

    Review: Cultishly adored fusion rockers Col. Bruce Hampton (guitar) and Dr. Dan Matrazzo (keyboards) form the genius kernel of the Fiji Mariners. The Mariners definitely draw outside the lines. Bold-stroked and adventurously hued, the Hampton-Matrazzo palette is a bright and stunning blues or jazz melody splashed onto a background canvas of strong rock and jazz rhythms. This live album details and documents the Atlanta quartet's audacious, witty, and skilled brand of music. Nearly every other track ("The Mariner," "Spider," and "Earth") of this nine-track album (comprising just over an hour's worth of music) heats it up with a base in volcanic funk. Monstrously impressive, the Fiji Mariners boast having the chops to be musicians' musicians and the entertaining showmanship to truly move any fan of manifold sonic exploration. When a group's own set list becomes merely a point of departure to something greater, it is only the live album that becomes a true artifact of that group's vision. by Tom Schulte for AllMusic
  • Give Thanks To Chank

    Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance
    2007 | Brato Ganibe Records

    Review: Gustav Berglund III--aka Col. Bruce Hampton--always possessed an uncanny ability to read the generational proclivities of the jam-band fans of whatever era in which he happened to be playing. With the Hampton Grease Band, he created off-kilter boogie for the Southern rockers of the early '70s; with the Aquarium Rescue Unit, he raised the bar for the '90s jam-band revivalists; and in the early '00s, he introduced the Quark Alliance, undoubtedly a jam band, but one with spasmodic guitar flashes that suggest a newfound affinity for free-jazz stalwarts such as Nels Cline and Marc Ribot. In other words, Hampton has once again reinvented himself for a new generation's taste in noodles and licks."Give Thanks To Chank" is an impressive record and one to file--believe it or--next to the likes of Captain Beefheart in your collection. by Rovi for AllMusic
  • Songs Of The Solar Ping

    Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret.
    2008 | Brato Ganibe Records

    Review: Hampton’s musical worlds occasionally overlap, but his latest solo album ... is squarely in the oddball territory that this reviewer finds most endearing out of Hampton’s approaches. There is an unfettered, non-self-conscious spirit throughout the album, particularly when it comes to musicianship; his aim isn’t to demonstrate his chops but to catch the listener off guard, like on the two erratic piano pieces that sound like an untrained version of Cecil Taylor. Some tracks, including the opening title track, dive right into free jazz, with drums and cymbal taps providing a jittery momentum and guitars (which sometimes sound like sitars) weaving a meandering path. Hampton plays all instruments on the album, with the exception of keyboards played by Dennis Palmer (of the Shaking Ray Levis) on two tracks, which happen to be among the album’s most colorfully deranged numbers. Those are the songs that best demonstrate Hampton’s attention-grabbing, wickedly playful, and brain-arresting talents. by Ernie Paik for Chattanooga Pulse
  • Pharoah's Kitchen

    Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret.
    2014 | Ropeadope Records

    Review: On Pharoah's Kitchen [sic], Hampton's first solo effort since 2008's Songs of the Solar Ping, the singer, songwriter, guitarist, and auteur coalesces many of his past musical strains successfully into a nine-track, 36-minute album that flows with surprising ease, channeled through his charmingly offbeat and eclectic mindset. While most of the song titles here don't display the warped sensibilities of previous selections such as "Fat Brooms Brush the Number Bush," "Frolic with the Closet Lizards," or "Ghost Alcohol Sandwich," there's still plenty of mental madness to chew on with "The Dots Go Where I Say They Go" and "The Grogans Have Arrived." Hampton's talk/shout singing is akin to stream of consciousness speaking with verbal acrobatics that make his oddball concepts seem poetic and nearly normal. The jazz piano lines that open the ominous "Don't Go in that Room" keep the vibe lively and push the spirited closer "Money Man" from the church to the sanitarium. As such, there's plenty of Captain Beefheart-style vocal weirdness to go around, but his jazz/blues sensibilities keep a firm grasp on reality showing there's abundant twisted inspiration left in his nearly 70-year-old brain. As is usually the case with Hampton's songwriting, the music bends in a variety of directions which, thanks to sacred steel player AJ Ghent's stellar contributions, add a slinky sense of swampy blues to tunes such as "Black Cat on My Shoulder," where the vocalist's sly sense of humor ("she was my future ex-wife, she didn't know it") plays hopscotch with the song's bass-heavy and lowdown blues groove. by Hal Horowitz for Creative Loafing

Social Connections


Guest Appearances

  • Ouroboros
    New Orleans Suspects
    2014 | Louisiana Red Hot
  • Old Airport Road
    Clay Harper
    2013 | Terminus Records
  • Wood
    Widespread Panic
    2012 | Widespread Records
  • Back To The Woods: A Tribute To The Pioneers Of Blues Piano
    Chuck Leavell
    2012 | Evergreen Arts / Red
  • The Benefit Concert, Volume 2
    Various - Warren Haynes Xmas Jam
    2007 | Evil Teen Records
  • Faces
    Blueground Undergrass
    2006 | Landslide Records
  • Inside In
    Mike Gordon
    2003 | Ropeadope Records
  • Bonnaroo, Vol. 2
    Various
    2003 | Sanctuary Records
  • Live in the Classic City
    Widespread Panic
    2002 | Sanctuary Records
  • Uninvisible
    Medeski Martin & Wood
    2002 | Blue Note Records
  • Wait For Me
    Susan Tedeschi
    2002 | Tone Cool Records
  • Project Z
    Project Z
    2001 | Terminus Records
  • The Flower & The Knife
    Kevin Kinney
    2000 | Capricorn Records
  • Wintertime Blues: The Benefit Concert
    Various - Warren Haynes Xmas Jam
    2000 | Evil Teen Records
  • Mucho Mojo: Best of Fat Possum
    Various
    1997 | Capricorn Records
  • The Best of CeDell Davis
    CeDell Davis
    1995 | Fat Possum Records
  • The Best of Mountain Stage Live, Vol. 6
    Various
    1994 | Blue Plate Records
  • Route Two
    David Earle Johnson
    1981 | David Earle Johnson Records
  • Skin Deep - Yeah
    David Earle Johnson
    1979 | David Earle Johnson Records
  • Lumpy Gravy
    Frank Zappa
    1968 | Verve / Bizarre Records
  • We're Only In It For The Money
    Frank Zappa
    1967 | Capitol Records