Friday, April 18, 2014

CMU - Space Cabaret (1973 uk, exceptional prog space rock, japan remaster)

Only the Odell-couple and Ian Hamlett remained from the first album. Mortimer, Gordon and bassist Ed Lee had been replaced by Richard Joseph on vocals and acoustic guitar, Steve Cook on bass and finally Leary Hasson on keyboards. The latter one had earlier played in Marsupilami, and was undoubtedly the most exciting of the new members. "Space Cabaret" is musically quite different from the debut. 

The bluesy tendencies were gone, and the band went instead for a more symphonic and spacey kind of progressive rock with some slight folk-influences and overall far more complex material. The lyrics were also considerably more far out and dreamy than on the debut, fitting well to the new musical direction. The 17-minute title-track in four parts is probably the best thing the band ever did. Hasson introduced Mellotron, el-piano and some spacey synths to the band's sound, and Joseph are allowed to sing a lot more along with Odell than what Gordon ever was on the debut. 

The melodies are thoroughly strong and the arrangements have a spacey sweep and atmosphere to them. The first side closes with the short and acoustic "Doctor Am I Normal?". This charming folk-song seems to be a bit out of place from the rest of the record's space-concept, but is still a good tune. The second side is taken up by two complex 10-minute pieces. First out is "Dream" that starts slow and gloomy, but quickly picks up the pace in the funky mid-part that finally leads out into a quite heavy finale. The closer "Light Shine" is, despite several vocal-passages, mostly a showcase for Hasson and his various sounds, climaxing in a fine jam between his organ and Hamlett's guitar. 
1. Space Cabaret - 1:56
2. Archway 272 - 6:18
3. Song From The 4th Era - 2:21
4. A Distant Thought, A Point Of Light -  6:49
5. Doctor, Am I Normal? - 4:56
6. Dream (Ian Hamlett) - 9:42
7. Lightshine (Leary Hasson) - 10:26
All compositions by Richard Joseph except where stated

*Ian Hamlett - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
*Larraine Odell - Vocals
*Leary Hasson - Keyboards
*Richard Joseph - Vocals, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Roger Odell - Drums

1971  Open Spaces (2008 Esoteric remaster)

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Warren S. Richardson Jr. - Warren S. Richardson Jr. (1969 us, stunning hard psych, 2008 RDI remaster)

In 1967 Richardson-nee Spooner contributed lead guitar to Michael Condello's "Condello" LP (see separate review).  A couple of years later Condello apparently repaid the favor by producing 1969's cleverly-titled "Warren S. Richardson Jr.".  Recorded at Richardson-nee-Spooner was credited with penning all six tracks and material like 'Reputation'' and 'Shady Lady' offered up a pretty good set of fuzz-propelled hard rock.  

Spooner had a voice that was well suited to the genre and this was one of those rare albums that actually seemed to benefit from the addition of horns (courtesy of Owen Eugene Hale, Richard Lewis and Joseph Ray Trainer).  In case anyone cared, perhaps because it strayed a little bit from the predominantly hard rock formula, excluding the needless and seemingly endless drum solo, the psych-tinged 'Wind and Rain' struck me as the standout effort on the album.
1. Reputation (Traditional arr. by Warren S. Richardson Jr.) - 6:38
2. Easy Rider (Warren S. Richardson Jr.) - 2:57
3. Shady Lady (Warren S. Richardson Jr.) - 6:54
4. Wind And Rain (Warren S. Richardson Jr.) - 10:27
5. Stella (Warren S. Richardson Jr.) - 3:18
6. Goin' Home (Warren S. Richardson Jr.) - 3:04

*David Birkett - Bass
*Mickey Mcgee - Drums
*Owen Eugene Hale - Sax
*Richard Lewis - Keyboards, Horns
*Warren S. Richardson Jr. (Aka Bill Spooner) - Vocals, Guitar
*Joseph Ray Trainer - Sax

Related Act
1968  Condello - Phase I

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