Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Jackal - Awake (1973 canada, spectacular prog rock, 2004 release)

In the late 1960s, Chris and James Kellesis formed a hard progressive-psych band called Jackal in Toronto. Organist Chris Kellesis and brother James wrote the material and were joined by singer Charlie Shannon and guitarist Dave Bernard for their only LP 'Awake', released on obscure Canadian label Periwinkle in 1973 and reissued by Radioactive in 2004.  With the band rounded out by guitarists Steve Hayward and Dave Bernard, and drummer Lois Mutton, they worked with producers Dan Goldberg and Bob Stright in the spring of '73. They became one of the first acts to record for Snider's new venture, Periwinkle Records, releasing their debut album, Awake a few months later.

Released by the small Periwinkle label, 1973's self-produced "Awake" was their sole release and showcased a set of eight extended originals.  Given the LP's high stature in collecting circles the few brief reviews I stumbled across weren't all that promising drawing broad comparisons to Deep Purple and other mid-1970s hard rock outfits (Captain Beyond, Warpig, etc.). Having low expectations may not have been all that bad since my initial impressions were of a competent and occasionally quite impressive set of hard rock with more than a little progressive influence scattered throughout.

As lead vocalist Shannon had a gruff and dry voice that you were either going to love or totally dislike.  He didn't have a great deal of range, but his raspy delivery was well suited to the band's barebones attack and I'll admit to being a converted fan.  The real finds were lead guitarist Bernard and keyboardist Kellesis.  Bernard wasn't the flashiest player you've ever heard, but he brought a spare and impressive style to the album.  Check out his lead on 'Sunny Side of the Day'.  Kellesis deserved similar praise, turning in surprisingly deft and melodic backing on tracks like 'At the Station' and 'For You'.  Certainly not the most original album you'll ever hear, but on songs like 'A New Day Has Arisen' and 'How Time Has Flown' they churned out material that was tuneful, driven and every bit as good as their better known competitors. 
1. At The Station (Chris Kellesis) - 5:45
2. For You (Chris Kellesis) - 3:08
3. Sunny Side of the Day (Steve Hayward) - 2:48
4. A New Day Has Arisen (Chris Kellesis, James Kellesis) - 8:22
5. How The Time Has Flown (Chris Kellesis, James Kellesis) - 5:56
6. Lost In The World (Steve Hayward) - 2:26
7. In The Heavens (Chris Kellesis, Lois Mutton) - 4:06
8. Awake (Chris Kellesis) - 7:57

*Charlie Shannon - Lead Vocals
*Dave Bernard - Guitar
*Chris Kellesis - Keyboards
*Steve Hayward - Guitar
*Lois Mutton - Drums
*James Kellesis - Bass

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1 comment:

  1. Hello Marios,
    this brings me back to my younger days.. sweet memories... love this record for such a long time...
    Many thanks for this (and all the other perls) and nice greetings from Germany.