Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dave Greenslade - 1976 - Cactus Choir

Dave Greenslade
Cactus Choir

01. Pedro's Party (3:37)
02. Gettysberg (3:57)
03. Swings and Roundabouts (4:20)
04. Time Takes my Time (6:50)
05. Forever and Ever (3:38)
06. Cactus Choir (6:14)
  a) The Rider
  b) Greeley and the rest
  c) March at Sunset
7. Country Dance (5:30)
8. Finale (8:36)

- Dave Greenslade / keyboards

- Tony Reeves / bass (1,2,6,8)
- Simon Phillips / drums, percussion
- Steve Gould / vocal on 2 and 6
- Dave Markee / bass on 3 and 4
- Mick Grabham / guitar on 4
- John Perry / bass on 7
- Bill Jackman / bass flute, bass clarinet on 8
- Orchestra conducted by Martin Ford and arranged by Simon Jeffes

 I've always been really fond of this album, and to me it has an 'end of era' feel about it as it was made in 1976 with prog about to be overwhelmed by punk. The cover, with the Greenslade wizard sitting on a rock surrounded by stormy seas and a dark sky, seems to reflect this (possibly I'm reading a bit too much into it).
Musically it's up there with the best Greenslade group stuff. My favourite tracks are Gettysberg and Finale. The former is an evocative tale of visting the US Civil War battle site, with a catchy tune and excellent vocals by Steve Gadd (whatever happened to him). Musically it sounds a lot like Peter Gabriel's subsequent Solsbury Hill and I often wonder if Mr Gabriel ripped it off.

Finale is the big epic closer with lots of symphonic keyboards and a dramatic Hammond solo that is the equal of the one Dave Greenslade performed on Colosseum's Valentyne Suite (another underated classic worth acquiring, prog buffs).

The only track I don't much like is Time Takes My Time with Mr G impersonating an old man on the vocals. It reminds me of Clive Dunn's 1970s chart topper Grandad (bummer!).

Other excellent tracks are the two instrumentals Forever and Ever and Swings and Roundabouts.

Overall this is an essential album for any lover of keyboard-oriented prog and, as previous posters have said, the best Roger Dean cover ever (does anyone know where you can get hold of the poster?).

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