Friday, April 14, 2017

Gravy Train - 1974 - Staircase To The Day

Gravy Train 
Staircase To The Day

01. Starbright Starlight (4:28)
02. Bring My Life On Back To Me (5:48)
03. Never Wanted You (4:04)
04. Staircase To The Day (7:31)
05. Going For A Quick One (5:16)
06. The Last Day (5:36)
07. Evening Of My Life (2:59)
08. Busted In Schenectady (8:11)

- Norman Barrett / guitar, vocals
- George Lynon / guitar
- Barry Davenport / drums
- Lester Williams / bass, vocals
- J.D. Hughes / keyboards, vocals, flute, saxes

- Mary Zinovieff / keyboards, violin
- Peter Solley / keyboards, vocals
- Jim Frank / Drums
- PP Arnold, Faye Doris, Bobby Harrison / Backing vocals
- Vic Smith / Cowbell

 It's very true, Gravy Train were never considered as a 'top shelf' prog act, but they have given us some memorable moments with 'Staircase To The Day' we have a stunning Roger Dean gatefold sleeve to enhance the listening experience, which may contain some vocal short-comings (Norman has a rather abrasive quality to his voice, and he is often very passionate in his delivery, this makes his vox quite an acquired taste).
Opening with the dynamic track 'Starbright Starlight', it suggests that the listener may have a winning hand with this album. Pete Solley's synth work being a treat, and the tune itself quite memorable. 'Bring My Life on Back To Me' is a rather standard tune, but Norman sings in a very emotionally distraught fashion, you almost feel his anguish and disappointment, his pain....or is it just painful to listen to ?? 'Never Wanted You' is an excellent tune featuring some odd meters and mellotron (always exciting prog embellishments) and finishing the first side is the beautiful title song - 7 and a half minutes of prog bliss, with Mary Zinovieff on synthesizer.

'Going For A Quick One' starts off with a decent riff leading into one hard-rockin' tune with more of Solley's synth work - the backing vocals by the 'Gospel Ayres' gives it a commercial touch though. 'The Last Day' is a light tune with some nice flute playing, but lacks excitement, 'Evening of my Life' is a pretty, piano driven ballad and closing track 'Busted In Schenectady' is quite an epic, full of heavy riffing, exceptional guitar playing, and even some shimmering electric violin.

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