- Audio CD (September 16, 2008)
- Imported ed. edition
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Esoteric
- ASIN: B001APRXKY
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,711 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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2008 digitally remastered and expanded edition of this Prog rarity featuring one bonus track: 'Never Let My Body Touch the Ground'. Walrus were a Jazz-influenced Progressive Rock outfit who formed in 1969. They recorded one of the most collectable and sought after albums to be released by Decca Records' Progressive imprint, Deram. A superb mixture of styles, the album was notable for a cover version of Traffic's "Coloured Rain", alongside original numbers. The album's debut on CD is sure to attract the attention of the legions of collectors of both Progressive Rock and the Deram label. Esoteric.
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Here's the breakdown (44:20 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 7 make up the album "Walrus", issued December 1970 on Deram SML 1072 in the UK only (there is another Walrus by Walrus in the USA, but it's not the same band)
Track 8 is a bonus track - "Never Let My Body Touch The Ground". It's a non-album A-side issued on Deram DM 323 in January 1971 with "Why" as its 7" B-side (Track 3 off the album)
The 1st and only other single issued around the album was "Who Can I Trust" b/w "Tomorrow Never Comes" (Tracks 1 and 7 on the LP); it was issued the same month as the album, December 1970 on Deram DM 308
The 8-man band consisted of:
STEVE HAWTHORN on Bass Guitar (founder member)
JOHN SCATES on Lead & Rhythm Guitar
BARRY PARFITT on Piano and Organ
NICK GARB and ROGER HARRISON on Drums
NOEL GREENAWAY on Vocals
DON RICHARDS on Trumpet, ROY VACE on Tenor Sax and BILL HOAD on Alto & Baritone Saxophones and Flutes
Most progressive rock actually bores me rigid, but this album is different. An Irish collector friend of mine who actively seeks out rock bands with a soulful/funky tint put me onto it - or more specifically the single he owned, which was "Who Can I Trust". It's a cracking good rock tune with a funky almost brassy edge to it. If I was to describe Walrus musically, think BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS meets CHICAGO meets SPIRIT meets the rocking side of Britains' BLODWYN PIG and especially the Blods 1969 Island masterpiece "Ahead Rings Out". If anything, given the quality and reasonably commercial nature of the singles, it's odd that they never did the business chart wise.
The booklet reproduces the front and rear sleeve and there's informative sleeve notes by MARK POWELL. The remastering by PASCHAL BYRNE at the Audio Archiving Company from the original Deram analogue master tapes is FANTASTIC - great drums, muscular brass center stage, rocking guitars in the left with piano and organ on the right - clear vocals - all of it - really good.
The tunes are sometimes a little over complicated for their own good and the lyrics to "Why" are cringingly awful hippy lore, but I just love the B, S & T feel on almost all of the tracks which they combine with that Mick Abrahams/Blodwyn Pig background of sound. A particular highlight is "Coloured Rain", a seven-minute TRAFFIC cover version done instrumental style - it's had customers coming to the counter of our second-hand record shop asking "whose this?"
Recommended - and a very cool re-issue by Cherry Red's Esoteric label.
PS: If you like some of your rock on the jazzy/funky side, see also my review for "Ahead Rings Out" by Blodwyn Pig.
"Walrus" is different because of the balance between brass section and guitars (guitar work is excellent). On the other hand, the ambitions and misicianship of band members were ahead of their composing abilities - at least half of the album sounds uninspiring (most compositions were penned by bass guitarist Steve Hawthorn, except "Coloured Rain" borrowed from Traffic).
The weakest element are vocals - the project of such magnitude required the power of David Clayton-Thomas.
"Walrus" was signed by not so hospitable "home of progressive rock" - "Deram", which promptly dropped the band after the first attempt (which they did with other artists). The album was released in the USA as well, where it didn't have any chances being not able to compete with "Blood..." and "Chicago" which reached already cult status.
As an artefact of jazz rock/fusion, the album is interesting, and "Esoteric" did great job as usual, but if you are not completist or hardcore fan of the genre, better stay with the peers (listed at the beginning). I bought it myself mainly because of greed, than a couple of interesting tracks, and because I do believe that they couldn't do wrong in the 70s.
P.S.If you are honestly looking for forgotten or obscure followers of "Blood, Seeat & Tears", instead of "Walrus" get yourself "Dirty Martha" (1969 album "This Is It!" re-issued on Gear Fab). But if you want to hear really raving freaks? Try "Giant Crab"