Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Clouds - Watercolour Days (1971 uk, impressive prog rock, bonus tracks edition)

A significant advance from their debut album, Watercolour Days shows Clouds plunging straight into virtuoso-style progressive rock, shedding any of their lingering psychedelic playfulness in favor of a much more brooding, serious sound. Billy Ritchie's keyboards are the dominant instrument, even with some overdubbed orchestral accompaniment, and their more aggressive sound suits Ritchie's and lead singer/bassist Ian Ellis's vocal capabilities. 

The album's overall sound is a mix of organ-centered art rock with some of the heavy hard rock sound one expected from Deep Purple, and it holds together amazingly well on numbers such as "Cold Sweat" and the title track. The guitar sound -- which was evident in small doses on their first album -- is missed sometimes, as it was in concert as well, but Ellis' bass work and Ritchie's powerful keyboard playing more than fill the gap. Indeed, hearing this album anew nearly 40 years on, it's even more difficult to understand how this trio didn't find more success than they did, especially given their reviews of the period. 
by Bruce Eder
1. Watercolour Days - 5:30
2. Cold Sweat (Billy Ritchie, Ian Ellis) - 3:38
3. Lighthouse (Ian Ellis) - 5:05
4. Long Time (Billy Ritchie, Ian Ellis) - 4:37
5. Mind Of A Child (Billy Ritchie, Harry Hughes, Ian Ellis) - 2:52
6. I Know Better Than You (Billy Ritchie, Harry Hughes, Ian Ellis) - 4:55
7. Leavin' - 3:25
8. Get Off My Farm - 3:28
9. I Am The Melody - 2:41
10.Why Is There No Magic - 2:43
11.Shadows - 2:40
12.A Day Of Rain - 3:42
13.Clockwork Soldier - 5:06
All songs by Billy Ritchie except where stated
Bonus Tracks 10-13

The Clouds
*Ian Ellis - Organ, Guitar Acoustic, Bass, Vocals
*Harry Hughes  - Drums, Vocals
*Billy Ritchie - Organ, Guitar, Piano, Bass, Harp, Organ  Hammond, Vocals

1966-71  Clouds - Up Above Our Heads (2010 double disc extra tracks edition) 
1968/71  Clouds - Scrapbook / Watercolour Days