Amazing and underrated prog work from the early UK era. Sounding like a heavier version of Fruup the album Titus Groan featured on the Dawn label. It has been re-issued on See For Miles with some extra tracks. Drums and Bass impress on the track "Liverpool" which has a very dynamic almost Squire-like bass riff at the end. The mock-medieval "In the Hall of Bright Carvings" is a 14 minute epic and one of the undiscovered gems that can be found on many of these rare UK prog LP's. Great vocal harmonies give way to some splendid organ work and the track is very reminiscent of early Gryphon at times. Other Mervyn Peake inspired tracks litter the album (as they do on Fruup LP's) but overall Titus Groan are hard to define. For instance parts of the LP, like the opening track, "If It Wasn't For You" have a kind of Brass Rock Chicago sound while elsewhere you'll find Bob Dylan covers ("Open The Door, Homer"). A very varied and worthwhile example of the early UK prog style, a band that undeservedly sank in the huge swell of popularity created by the giants of the scene like Yes and Genesis.
Titus Groan, the book, formed the first part of Mervin Peake's imaginative, haunting "Gormenghast" trilogy, one of post-war Britain's finest literary achievements. Titus Groan, the group, arrived some 20+ years after its first publication, and embraced, in music, some of the novel's gothic atmosphere while adding their own slice of English progressive rock. By 1970 at least two divisions of "underground" music had emerged. One included the likes of Family, the Pretty Things and Traffic; groups whose pedigree stretched back into Beat and Rhythm and Blues. In their wake came a succession of newer bands whose histories were neither as long nor as detailed but who welcomed the "new" music as an opportunity to stretch. In common with several labelmates, Titus Groan first came to prominence at the Hollywood Pop Festival of the weekend beginning May 23rd 1970. Here, the Red Bus Company, a London Agency, masterminded three days of "love, peace and music" on a site near Newcastle Under Lyme with a bill which included Ginger Baker's Airforce and the British concert debut of the Greatful Dead.
--much of this review by David Abel @ http://www.gepr.net
Personnel: Stuart Cowell - keyboards, guitar, vocals
John Lee - bass
Tony Priestland - sax, flute, oboe
Jim Toomey - drums