Erik Braunn | Touch My Heart, Lift My Soul

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Rock: 70's Rock Rock: Classic Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Touch My Heart, Lift My Soul

by Erik Braunn

From heart touching balads to screaming guitar, here are unreleased gems recorded in 1972 by the former Iron Butterfly guitarist of “In-A-Gadda-D-Vida" fame.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Heart Misery
3:51 $0.99
2. Break This Heart of Mine
2:39 $0.99
3. Don\'t Give It Up
2:12 $0.99
4. Give Me Some of Your Love
0:27 $0.99
5. Going Back Home
1:46 $0.99
6. I Can't Make it Without You /Scorching Beauty
5:57 $0.99
7. 1st Guitar Interlude
0:25 $0.99
8. Evoree Day
2:29 $0.99
9. Beneath the Laughing Sun
2:33 $0.99
10. Couldn't We Just Be Friends
3:41 $0.99
11. Beautiful Lady
3:37 $0.99
12. 2nd Guitar Interlude
0:19 $0.99
13. Wait
3:08 $0.99
14. So Sad I Have to Leave
1:38 $0.99
15. Touch My Heart, Lift My Soul
2:59 $0.99
16. Reprise
0:59 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Erik’s first band, “The Paper Fortress”, was recorded by Lenny Waronker, then Staff A&R Producer for Warner Bros. Records. At the age of fourteen this was Braunn’s second recording. He had already logged over 300 hours of studio time in and around the Los Angeles area.

Erik joined Iron Butterfly at the age of sixteen. He was the last of over forty guitarists to audition and was accepted on the spot. In his tenure with Iron Butterfly they created a language for the title song. Originally only a minute and fifty seconds long, it was stretched to seventeen minutes plus, greatly due to an African Mass, Missa Lubba, Braunn had been listening to, as well as the influence garnered during excursions to The Whiskey A-Go-Go, taking in the likes of “Cream” and “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”. Due to the lack of enough original material for the album, the song was picked to cover set time by extending the tune. “In-A-Gadda-D-Vida” went on to become the only hit song to cover the entire side of an album.

The sales of “Vida” were so unheard of that Ahmet Ertegun, President of Atlantic Records, created the coveted Platinum Award, Erik’s first album with the band. The album went on to be the biggest selling record in the history of Atlantic records, firmly planted in the Top Ten of the Billboard Magazines charts for over a year. The album, purported to sell over 20 million copies worldwide, went on to outsell the Beatles and Elvis - all this without a hit single. Erik’s guitar line for that song become one of the Top Three Greatest Rock N’ Roll guitar licks of all time sharing company with The Beatles “Day Tripper” and The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (Billboard and Rolling Stone Magazines).
“Vida” was in the Top Ten of the Charts (Billboard Magazine and Cashbox) when the second album Braunn recorded with Iron Butterfly, “Ball” was released. It leapfrogged “Vida” to the number one spot on the charts. Thus “Vida”(#3) and “Ball”(#1) were the only albums that made the Top Ten without a hit single, and made Iron Butterfly the only act to ever have two albums in the Top Five at the same time. Given the fact that this was done in the age of the vinyl album it is a feat unlikely to ever be duplicated.

Accomplishing all of this by the age of nineteen should have been enough for any dreamer. However, this was the cherry on top of other accolades. Braunn studied on violin at the age of four with the Head Chairperson of The Boston Symphony. At six Braunn was accepted into the Prodigy program with the Symphony.

In high school, Erik studied acting from the now renowned Robert Carelli and won several awards for Elizabethan Comedy, Shakespeare, and a First Place Award for his lead role in “Dino” at the USC Dramatic Acting Festival. This was followed by another first place in the Elizabethan Comedy “A Shoemakers Holiday” at UCLA.

Starting on the guitar in 1963 Erik studied with local L.A. legends Milt Norman and Duke Miller. The later noted that every time he gave the precocious Braunn a lesson, Erik would come back with a song he had written around the lesson. Not one to interfere with a budding George Gershwin, Miller encouraged the habit.

Erik went on to study with Joe Pass, Howard Roberts, Jimmy Wyble, and Ted Green. Always reaching for new heights, Braunn sought out Dr. John Schneider for additional technical training on Classical Guitar, concluding twenty years of self-teaching wasn’t enough. All along the way he continued in the same fashion, using his studies to supplement his songwriting.

While a member of Iron Butterfly, several top artists took the young Erik under their wing, so to speak. Mike Bloomfield showed up at many of the early gigs to give Erik moral support and encouragement. Freddie King had an ongoing pact with friend and roadie, Portland Jim, to always have a guitar handy when Braunn was in Freddie’s immediate arena. Jimi Hendrix hired Erik to play guitar on a session he produced that included Keith Emerson (just over from England), Harvey Brooks (bass player on many of Dylan’s recordings and Bloomfields ‘Electric Flag’) and Mitch Mitchell on drums (Hendrix’ long time cadre with ‘The Experience’). Sadly, these tapes have apparently disappeared. Hendrix commented after a jam at New York’s, The Scene, run by Steve Paul that Braunn would someday grow to be one of the finest guitarists in music. Erik’s opinion was that one day there would be an over-abundance of fine guitarist, and what he really wanted to do was be one of music’s best songwriters.

Since the 1960’s Erik survived three Iron Butterfly restorations. Erik reformed the band for Atlantic Record 40th Anniversary at Madison Square Garden in 1988, and acting as manager, spoke with Phil Carson, manager of the band “Yes”, VP of Atlantic Europe. They discussed getting “The Butterfly” a recording contract and opening a world tour for “Yes”. It was a return favor as “Yes” had opened at one time for “Iron Butterfly”. Carson came back with a seven-figure deal, a tour, and proposed management of the band. This was not to be. That was the last time all of the original members were together.

Erik did not waste his time crying about lost opportunities, however, but amassed a catalogue of at least three hundred songs and recorded several albums – unreleased until now.

In 2000 Erik was stricken with a debilitating physical ailment. Despite his illness Erik continued to record and planned a promotional tour. It was not to be. His health deteriorated and he died on July 25th 2003 of cardiac arrest.

Erik quotes, “Our most glorious experiences are a kind of regret. Our regret is so sublime that we mistake it for triumph. It is the painful, plaintively sad surprise of our genius remembering our past and contemplating what is possible”



to write a review

Tim Hines

Touch My Heart, Lift My Soul INDEED!
Great album! From folk to pop, psychedelia to hard rock. This album has something for everyone.

I've been a huge fan of Erik Braunn since I first heard In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida 15 years ago (I was 5 then) thanks to my dad playing it practically since my birth. But given that Erik played on 5 Iron Butterfly albums, that were released over a decade (1968 with "Vida" and 1976 with "Sun and Steel"), I was left wanting more. And now I finally have something that I've been waiting for for years!

This album truly is a great representation of Erik between his times with Iron Butterfly. We even get two early workings of future Iron Butterfly songs (Heart Misery was retitled Hard Miseree for the "Scorching Beauty" album, and the song Can't Make it Without You (Scorching Beauty) was re-recorded for "Sun and Steel." Both albums released 1975 & 1976 respectively).

As stated above the songs on this album cover the genres of folk, pop, hard rock & psychedelia.

Highlights for me include Heart Misery, Scorching Beauty, but more especially 1st & 2nd Guitar Interludes and Beautiful Lady (a brooding and almost sorrowful folk piece).

4 Stars for a great collection! Hopefully we'll get more Erik Braunn in the future.