aura Sativa (CD, £9.95)label: Cicadelic Records
Aura was a San Francisco Psych-Funk band that formed in 1974 and played extensively throughout Northern California. By 1976, the band had recorded their first and only album at Pacific Recording Studio in San Mateo. The original title of the album was "Sativa", but out of fear that promoting the joys of marijuana would be too controversial, the band changed the title to "Aura". Over the ensuing decades the album has grown in stature to become a collectors' item. In 1991, the Oakland hip-hop band Oaktown's 357 (MC Hammer's Salt-N-Pepa type band) sampled "Mess Up Your Mind" for their song "Turn It Up", which raised the Aura album to cult status. Lemon Drops producer Reggie Weiss wrote the psych-funk title track (a parody of The Champs' hit song "Tequila" with water pipe sound effects and blistering guitar leads by former Lemon Drops guitarist, Eddie Weiss) and "Skyrocket" (with manic fuzz guitar). The lead singer was Paulette Collins who continues to perform around the Bay Area with all-girl group The Taylor P. Collins Band. Replete with rare band memorabilia and previously unreleased bonus tracks, Aura is now available from the original master tapes for the first time on CD. The album is a piece of Bay Area history and a psych funk masterpiece that cannot be overlooked.
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