Thursday, 5 November 2009

Ark - Living In Comfort

Ark - Living In Comfort

Ark were from North Devon, started by songwriter Reg Meuross along with Chris Kausman, Harry Williamson and Paul Hayles. The band also featured Harvey Bainbridge, who would later join Hawkwind.

A popular West Country band they played throughout the South West. Through the bands friendship with Davbe Brock they often backed up Hawkwind on many of their trips to Devon & Cornwall.

The band were picked up by Cornish Legend Music and asked to contribute to the Made In Cornwall LP (CLM1, 1976). Despite residing the other side of the Tamar the band made the trip down to the Roche Recording Studios at Tremodrett and laid down two tracks for the LP, 'Living in Comfort' and 'When You Go' (billed as Reg Meuross and Ark).

'When You Go' was quite acceptable early 70s pop-rock, but 'Living in Comfort' was a superb prog-psych track, hinting at what their live shows might have been like. Released locally the LP showcased some of the bands around at the time and while nothing matches the Ark track it isn't quite as bad as the review in Galactic Ramble makes out.

The line-up for the "Living In Comfort" track was Chris Kausman (vocals/rhythm/lead guitar/lyrics/arrangement), Colin Scott-Mitchell (lead/rhythm guitar), PaulHayles (keyboards), Harvey Bainbridge (Bass), Martin Griffin (drums), Reg Meuross and a pretty girl with a sweet voice [name forgotten!) (back-up vocals).

Live, the band would play a mixture of a strange cross section of covers, originals and long extended free form improvisations. The line-up was at times quite fluid, and could range from seven up to 12 members of stage at any time! This would often also include Lois, a dancer who would later dance with Hawkwind.

Live at the Queens Hall, Barnstable. Left to right : Alistair Merry (percussion), Colin Mitchell (guitar), Harvey Bainbridge (bass), Chris Kausman (guitar), Martin Griffin or Keith Jones (drums), Paul Hayles (keyboards)

Many of the players on the LP got together for a Christmas concert, and while Ark continued for a short time afterwards they would make no more recordings. Reg Meuross would go on to have a successful solo career. Chris Kausman runs a tribal art and antique gallery in Thailand.