Saturday, July 8, 2023

Westfauster - In A King's Dream (1971 us, excellent psych prog rock, 2006 digipak reissue)

They may sound like the quintessential English prog band but, in fact, Westfauster hailed from the rust belt, Cincinnati to be precise, and this gem of an album was initially released on the Nasco label in 1971. A guitar-free trio, the band did encompass a rhythm section, a variety of keyboards from harpsichord to Moog synthesizer, and a flute and saxophone within their multi-instrumental ranks. 

The Moody Blues and the Beatles were Westfauster's avowed influences, and you could hear subtle inflections of both on In a King's Dream. Blissful jazz ripples through the epic "Everyday," one of a clutch of flute-led numbers on the set. On that song, it's twinned with piano and organ; on "Blind Man's Epitaph" the flute flutters and flies amidst the harpsichord and choral vocals; and the harpsichord itself is showcased again on the Beatles-esque "Low Sun." In contrast, the title track, the album's other epic number, is resplendent with smoky sax, the darker, more majestic flip of the breezier, lighter "Everyday." 

All three bandmembers obviously had some jazz background, and it's their ability to fold elements of that style gently into the musical mix that perhaps truly sets Westfauster apart, notably on the two epics, "Where Are You" and the album closer "Did It or Didn't It (Take Us High)." That and the delicate textures of their songs and the wonderfully shimmering and dreamy quality of their atmospheres. With its subtle shifts in mood and style, luminescent sound, and lovely, reverberated harmonies, King's Dream reaches transcendental heights. 

Unlike their more extravagant contemporaries, Westfauster never flamboyantly highlight the musical journey or magnificent musicianship, preferring a more elegant, understated stance that allows this album to glow in all its glory. 
by Jo-Ann Greene
1. Where Are You - 3:24
2. Everyday - 8:53
3. Blind Man - 3:16
4. Blind Man's Epitaph - 2:52
5. In A King's Dream - 10:06
6. A Sunny Day - 3:16
7. Low Sun - 2:50
8. Did It Or Didn't It (Take Us High) - 5:07
All songs by Charles West Fauster

*C.W. Fauster (Charles West Fauster) - Vocals, Organ, Piano, Harpsichord, Moog Synthesizer, Bass
*Stephen Helwig - Vocals, Percussion, Harmonica
*Michael Newland - Flute, Alto Saxophone, Vibes