Iron Butterfly’s lasting claim to fame is “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” which took up the whole B side of their 1968 album release of the same name. That release is one of the best-selling albums of all time with sales in excess of 30 million copies world-wide.
Their name Iron Butterfly was in the same vein as Vanilla Fudge and Led Zeppelin and was meant to signify light and heavy. Their sound actually did not have much lightness to it as the guitars were oppressive and the drum/bass rhythm section produced a sound like swimming through sludge.
Live At The Galaxy 1967 catches the band at the beginning of their career just prior to the release of their first studio album Heavy. In fact half of the tracks contained in this live set were released on their debut, plus three more appeared on their third album Ball.
This early line-up of vocalist/keyboardist Doug Ingle, guitar Danny Weiss, bassist Jerry Penrod, vocalist/ percussionist Darryl Deloach, and drummer Ron Bushy only recorded one album together. By the time In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was released only Ingle and Bushy remained who promptly recruited bassist Lee Dorman and guitarist Eric Brann.
Iron Butterfly was never the most sophisticated band out there and this concert catches them in their formative stages. “Possession,” “Fields Of Sun,” “You Can’t Win,” and “Iron Butterfly Theme” are all fully developed original compositions. While Weiss is a capable guitarist; his future replacement Brann was more adept and would help to solidify the Iron Butterfly sound.
Darryl Deloach is listed as a second percussionist but it is as a vocalist that he makes his mark. The addition of a second capable singer helped move the sound away from what would become their traditional style and give it a little more flexibility.
Songs such as “Real Fright,” “Filled With Fear,” and “Lonely Boy” just hammer away at the senses. At this point in their career they were considered a heavy psychedelic band.
Iron Butterfly would release six studio and one live album, 1968-1975, and sell tens-of-millions of copies. Their legacy is that of a competent journey like band whose popularity exceeded their potential in many ways. Still, they hit a commercial nerve during the Woodstock era, which allowed them to carve out a level of success that few bands attained. Live At The Galaxy 1967 is a fine look at their early career.