Gracious! — Gracious!
(Repertoire REPUK 1033, 1970/2004, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2015-08-06
McLatchey's Second Tier
When most of the big name progressive rock acts were barely out of their pajamas, this Vertigo band was already leaping forward from the influences of the Pretty Things and the Small Faces to create one of rock's most adventurous early records. Like many albums from the era the eclecticism and anything-goes ethics from the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's meant that a lot of musicians weren't afraid to patch things together in all sorts of inventive ways and Gracious put together an awe-inspiring debut here that doesn't eschew passion and drama as it navigates from song structures into classical and experimental segments and back again, tying it all into mythical archetypes like "Heaven," "Hell," and "The Dream." Even the shortest songs here chart over five minutes and all are stuffed with the sorts of original ideas and playfulness that would be in short supply by the end of the decade. At this point symphonic rock had not become a style in its own right yet, and if the Moody Blues and King Crimson were the first to take stabs at it, Gracious followed their lead and ran with it. Unfortunately the band was not long lived, creating an inferior (but still pretty good) second album before signing off. Now Martin Kitcat's Mellotron is in the service of the modern retro act Bigelf.
Related artist(s): Gracious!
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more