There is a certain segment of the listening public that remains fascinated with the Mellotron, an electronic keyboard that for a short period in the '70s was just about as popular on hit records as the sitar, which is saying a lot. Call them mello-dramatic, these listeners go to great lengths to complete their Mellotron archive. The process, like the lightning storm that Dr. Frankenstein latched onto, creates a kind of eternal life for groups such as Kestrel, a once forgotten Newcastle quintet that recorded a single self-titled album in 1973, originally released on Decca's Cube imprint the following year.

While John Cook was the featured fellow-tron on the Mellotron, synthesizer, and other electronic keyboards, guitarist Dave Black was the Kestrel member with the most active career in rock music. Continuing to name bands after birds, Black was back with Goldie a few years later; the group scored a hit single with "Making Up Again" in 1978. Several former members of Kestrel were involved in this combo. In between, Black increased his visibility by touring with David Bowie's Spiders from Mars band in 1975. For nearly a decade beginning in 1980, Black concentrated on a new group called, or rather numbered, 747, then began a solo career as well as a sideman stint in the Brendan Healy Band. The original Kestrel album was reissued by a Japanese CD label in 2000. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

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