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2nd Vision (John Etheridge / Ric Sanders) — First Steps (2nd Vision)
(Blueprint BP341CD, 1980/2000, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2001-12-01

First Steps (2nd Vision) Cover art

2nd Vision is actually the band name of this Soft Machine offshoot from the late 70s. Their album was entitled First Steps and was released by the English Chrysalis label, which carried both Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant. Etheridge had passed through Darryl Way's Wolf and Sanders had come from Ashley Hutchings folk group the Albion Band. The precursor album to this work was Soft Machine's Alive and Well in Paris, which marked a sharp departure in format and thus kindled this guitar-and-violin led combo. Bassist Jonathan Davie came on-board from a stint with Gryphon's progressive Treason album, while keyboardist Dave Bristow has since become prime accompanist to June Tabor. As light as the tone of the album appears on the surface, there are well thought-out rock and jazz themes comparable to other bands of the day including Gary Boyle's Illusion or Turning Point. Plus the opening track, "Ice Bells," is along the lines of Return to Forever meets the Dixie Dregs with a bit more restraint. "Dancing Circle" is also one of the prime tracks, which could have been included on an early Curved Air album. The title track carries a variant of the Dixie Dregs semi-classical short pieces while Etheridge's piece "Putting out the Bish" forwards Mahavishnu-like ideas first mentioned on "Etika" from Softs. Overall, this album is a lost Canterbury classic of the type the scene has long provided.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 23, 2000 releases, 1980 recordings

Related artist(s): John Etheridge, 2nd Vision, Ric Sanders


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