Friday, October 5, 2012

Walrus - Walrus (1970-71 uk, power heavy prog rock with brass)

The eponymous Walrus set was originally released in 1970, on the Decca offshoot Deram. Walrus the band formed a year earlier in London, the brainchild of main songwriter and bassist Steve Hawthorn, who’d been inspired by the commercial growth of American rock-meets- jazz counterparts Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Debut single Who Can I Trust, featuring original drummer Roger Harrison, kicks the album off: a heavy, Atomic Rooster/Edgar Broughton-like number showcasing the raspy vocals of Noel Greenaway and the understated lead guitar work of John Scates.

Adding replacement drummer Nick Gabb and keyboardist Barry Parfitt, this was followed by a segued, three-pronged attack led by an old blues gem, Rags & Old Iron, while the equally impressive Blind Man and Roadside fit in nicely. Check out the interplay of Don Richards (trumpet), Bill Hoad (flute) and Roy Voce (tenor sax): an awesome start.

With prog on the ascendancy and this band’s masterful reworking of Traffic’s Coloured Rain, Walrus can safely be labelled as nearlymen. The appropriately-titled Tomorrow Never Comes ended the original LP with 60s-like panache, while the obligatory bonus CD closer, Never Let My Body Touch The Ground (a subsequent flop 45) rounded off a very ’umble, very ’eavy album.
by Martin C Strong
1. Who Can I Trust? - 2:33
2.a.Rags And Old Iron (Brwone Jr, Curtis) - 13:38
...b.Blind Man
3. Why - 4:28
4.a.Turning - 7:16
...c.Turning (Reprise)
5. Sunshine Needs Me - 3:21
6.a.Coloured Rain - 6:03
...b.Mother's Dead Face In Memoriam
...c.Coloured Rain (Reprise) (Winwood, Capaldi, Wood)
7. Tomorrow Never Comes - 3:30
8. Never Let My Body Touch The Ground - 2:56
All songs written by Steve Hawthorn except where noted

*Steve Hawthorn - Bass Guitar
*John Scates - Lead, Rhythm Guitar
*Barry Parfitt – Piano, Organ
*Nick Garb - Drums
*Roger Harris - Drums
*Noel Greenaway - Vocals
*D- Richards - Trumpet
*Roy Vace - Tenor Sax
*Bill Hoad - Alto, Baritone Saxophones, Flutes

Free Text


  1. If you like your rock on the jazz/funk side a very cool re-issue by Cherry Red's Esoteric label, remastering by PASCHAL BYRNE at the Audio Archiving Company from the original Deram analogue master tapes is FANTASTIC - great drums, muscular brass center stage, rocking guitars in the left with piano and organ on the right - clear vocals - all of it - really good. Walrus CD. Reissue of rare 1970 UK progressive rock that blends rock, blues and jazz, featuring a horn section and a cover of Traffic's "Coloured Rain." They don't always combine these styles either as the opening track is a flat out bluesy rock brawler with the odd horn action that really does sound out of place. Other cuts are pure UK dreamy progressive, what is usually always present though, thank goodness, is the solid guitar work.

    In the late sixties, bassist Steve HAWTHORN came up with an idea to fuse rock and jazz. By 1969, he'd formed WALRUS, an eight-piece monster (the band's roster in the tradition of large orchestral groups would fluctuate many times throughout Walrus's short career) and the band toured heavily around the London area.

    In June of the same year, WALRUS was picked up by Decca Records, handed some money, and told to produce an album. Their self-titled debut was released in December [though technically a 1970 release] on Decca's Deram label with Hawthorn on bass along with John SCATES on guitars, Barry PARFITT on keyboards, Nick GABB's & Roger HARRISON's drums, the vocals of Noel GREENAWAY, and Don RICHARDS, Roy VOCE & Bill HOAD on various brass instruments, the track "Who Can I Trust?" being pushed as the single. It's a cracking good rock tune with a funky almost brassy edge to it. If I was to describe Walrus musically, think BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS meets CHICAGO meets SPIRIT meets the rocking side of BLODWYN PIG and especially the Blods 1969 Island masterpiece "Ahead Rings Out". If anything, given the quality and reasonably commercial nature of the singles, it's odd that they never did the business chart wise.

    Another album was never realized and by 1972, despite having attained a large and faithful live following, the band split up. Among the many WALRUS alumni, only occasional percussionist Ian MOSELY went on to musical success, becoming a member of MARILLION.

    Thx Marios.

  2. wow... maybe Marios can kindly fix the link? (thank you so much!)