Saturday, October 07, 2006

Various Artits – Peter and The Wolf {UK} [1976] @256 (Classical-Jazz-Prog Crossover Extravaganza)

The idea of recording a Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and The Wolf rock version was developed by clarinet player Jack Lancaster and keyboard player Robin Lumley around 1976. Lumley and Lancaster had belong to a band called “Soul Searchers” which later would become the fusion act Brand X. Peter and the wolf is the first of two albums that Lancaster and Lumley released together (the second is Marscape from 1977)

The goal with Peter and The Wolf, was to make a version of this musical fairytale that could appeal to younger audiences.

To achieve this plan the followed Prokofiev’s original idea of assigning each instrument a role inside the frame of the tale of Peter, the hero that saves the day by hunting down a horrible wolf that threatened his village.

In the original version, for example, we had the duck represented by an oboe, but here the oboe is substituted by Chris Spedding dizzying wah-wah electric guitar. The wolf itself is re-created by Brain Eno and his menacing synthesizers. The hunters become rock drummers.

To make things clear let’s check the incredible line-up of this album:

Narration Viv Stanshall (The same guy that presented the instruments in the original Tubular Bells)
Peter. Manfred Mann (keyboards)
Bird Gary Brooker (synths)
Duck : Chris Spedding & Gary Moore (guitar)
Cat: Stephan Grapelli (Violin)
Wolf (eno (synths)
Pond : Keith Tippett (Piano)
Grandfather: Jack Lancaster (clarinet)
Hunters and Villagers: Phill Collins, Bill Bruford, Cozy Powell, Jon Heisman, Alvin Lee, Julie Tippett and the English Chorale.

Most of the songs are Prokofiev original score, subtly and smartly arranged by Lancaster and Lumley. The rest are original songs inspired in the classic work. Obviously this is the typical over ambitious album that many rabid critics of progressive rock tend to hate.

And yes, it was very pretentious but it had indeed some great moments. Listen carefully to the “cat” bluesy and jazzy dance and you’ll understand what I mean.

Although Peter and The Wolf is part of the agonic years of Classic Progressive Rock, it is nonetheless and album that shouldn’t be missed in any serious collection.

And hey… it is pretentious yes, but let’s not forget that it is also a child’s tale, so it is also funny and fresh, with a nice happy ending.

Enjoy it and...

Keep Listening…!!!

From Peter and The Wolf - Cat Dance...


The Herbalist said...

Go here for Peter and The Wolf :

Tom said...

I thing it would be a great album, without the's pretty bad:/

Loren said...

It's a great album either wy, you just ahve to be in the right frame of mind, but then I remember when it came out, so I am a bit prejudiced in its favor, It is, of course, much of its time, so it might seem a little strange now, but it was and is fun.

Thanks for sharing, my tapes a bit old.

Art Rock said...

One of those albums I would never buy, but I found it fun to have heard it now. Thanks!

yoh said...

neve know such a version of Peter and Wolf until now....with an unbelievable all star lineup.

very attractive for me...thanks a lot for sharing!

Anonymous said...

It's a real shame, this "inactivity timeout" thing. I didn't discover it until December 16! Ah well, maybe somebody will post it again one day. Thanks for sharing. Sorry I missed it this time around.

Anonymous said...

Never mind. Found one at

Anonymous said...

I am getting so sick of your blog - it's such a wind up. There are at least a dozen things on here I'd really, really love to hear, and every single one of them says "File not found."

Anonymous said...

Quit your whining, you baby. Try
Sure, it's not a great listen, but I can play it for my kid and not hate what I'm listening to! It's notable just for the combination of musicians. Where else are you going to get Keith Tippett, Brian Eno, Stephan Grapelli and Alvin Lee on the same album?

nichrus said...

Thanks. It is great record!

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for this one since long ago.
Thanks for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

In high school, me and a friend played this until the needle wore through the grooves. Listening to it again, its still fun, but the production values are pretty bad. Abrupt fade-ins and off the chart levels. It could stand a remaster.

Anonymous said...

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