01. War games
02. In the heart of the cities
03. I am America too
04. Strange days hiding
05. Lost Angeles
06. Bring out your dead
Stefan Kowa / bass
Hanns Dechant / drums, percussion
Klaus Fresenius / vocals
Werner Gallo / guitar
Reinhard Magin/ keyboards
"Tyburn Tall" is a sadly little known German band which was able to record only one studio album during spring time of prog-rock music - year 1972. I'm not overenthusiastic saying that it's one of my favorite albums from this country and definitely aheavy prog gem. Original pressing of this LP had only four but highly entertaining tracks dominated by ultra-heavy and always busy Reinhard Magin's Hammond B3 organ who sounds like clever student of Jon Lord or Ken Hensley.
1. "War Game" - album starts off with truly splendid epic track which is a real highlight here. First few minutes are occupied by magnificent version of J.S.Bach's most famous composition "Fugue & Toccata in D Minor" which is mostly played without any supportive drum beat. I know that this composition was covered by so many other prog-bands, that some people may already feel sick and tired about it, but for my it's one of the best performances out there (along with Trikolon's version). Anyway about 3rd minute this "introduction" is over and Klaus Fresenius shows up with his vocal section. And here starts a first problem 'cos this guy's voice is more then controversial, to be honest it's terribly strange and for some people unbearably goofy. Sounds like wailing of psycho-maniac who used to sing blues but right now he's trying to sound as cocky/rocky as it's possible to please all heavy metal fans. But don't mind him (in fact he's not so bad...after couple of repeated listenings), he's not going to spoil all fan 'cos the real treat of this track is extremely sharp, heavy-as-hell & frenetic organ playing of Mr. Magin. I bet you didn't hear so many & so crazy Hammond solos from a long, long time!
2. "In The Heart of The Cities" - this one is much more vocal-oriented so we can listen to bigger amount of cheesy sounding screams of lead vocalist who seems to have some real problems to keep his voice in-key with the main melodies, but I suppose it's just additional fan of listening to Tyburn Tall... Thankfully in the middle of the song we can witness some long, psychedelic organ & guitar solos. In general it's a rather good track, slightly more guitar-oriented than the rest of these guys material but we still know that keyboardist is the boss here. While the first track reminds me Emerson's formation - The Nice, "In The Heart of The Cities" sounds more like Beggar's Opera inspired.
3. "I Am America Too" - the shortest song on "Tyburn Tall" begins with some busy, up-tempo organ & piano section but soon Klaus Fresenius joins again to scream his head off to convince us that he's America.... Yeah, if you say so... Never mind, the most important is probably best Reinhard's Hammond solo which appears soon after vocal part. Oh man, this is a really cool organ performance, very melodic & clearly classical influenced. ELP, Triumvirat, Collegium Musicum - all of them spring to my mind when I listen to it.
4. "Strange Days Hiding" - the longest track includes only few vocal parts because it's mainly extended rock jam. As usual I really like Hammond solo hear, this time it's very similar to Jean-Jacques Kravetz's style (Frumpy's keyboardist) - wild & gritty. Werner Gallo also presents us some energetic electric guitar solos a la Ritchie Blackmore. However the biggest mistake was including tiresome 5 minutes drums solo which seems to last forever. When I listen to this staff I can clearly imagine that it's early Deep Purple Mark II recording, in the beginning of their career they also used to play such lengthy but truly dynamic instrumental jams.
+ Bonus from CD version:
5. "Lost Angeles" - as a bonus CD edition of "Tyburn Tall" includes 2 covers from Colosseum repertoire. "Lost Angels" begins with 3 minutes instrumental "intro" driven by mad organ chops & psychedelic bass/drums beat. But vocal fragment of the song isn't so satisfying. Klaus Fresenius tries so hard to sound as goofy & unbearable as Colosseum's vocalist - Chris Farlowe and unfortunately he succeeded... But I still think that this version is better then original. Really!
6. "Bring Out Your Dead" - 2nd track originally recorded by Colosseum is a great instrumental composition filled with memorable Hammond B3 leads over very tight, jazz-like rhythm section. Fantastic performance which can be easily compared with original without any shame.
To sum up: Tyburn Tall's sole studio album is a real treat for fans of organ-drenched heavy prog with few symphonic influences. Highly recommended for fans of such bands as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster and Birth Control, but more technical music played by The Nice or Quatermass isn't far away from Tyburn Tall too. If you like such music I can also advise you to check other 70s German bands: Frumpy, 2066 & Then, Trikolon/Tetragon, Murphy Blend and Amos Key.
If not those goofy vocals and 5-minutes, dragging drum solo in "Strange Days Hiding", I'd give 5 stars rating for this effort. But such flaws are quite visible there so I can only give it 4,5 stars. Anyway it really deserves larger recognition in prog-rock world.