Friday, October 5, 2012

Walrus - Walrus (1970-71 uk, power heavy brass prog rock, 2008 remaster with extra track)

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 (Oscar Brown Jr, Norman 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 (Steve Hawthorn, John Scates, Barry Parfitt, Roger Harrison, Noel Greenaway, Don Richards, Roy Vace, Bill Hoad)
...c.Coloured Rain (Reprise) (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris 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 Harrison - Drums
*Noel Greenaway - Vocals
*Don Richards - Trumpet
*Roy Vace - Tenor Sax
*Bill Hoad - Alto, Baritone Saxophones, Flutes

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