Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kestrel - "Kestrel" {UK} [1975] (Prog Rock)

01 The Acrobat
02 Wind Cloud
03 I Believe in You
04 Last Request
05 In the War
06 Take It Away
07 End of the Affair
08 August Carol

Dave Black ~(Guitar, Vocals)
John "Bon" Cook
~(Mellotron, Synthesizer, Guitar, Vocals)
Tom Knowles ~(Vocals)
Fenwick Moir ~(Bass)
David Whitaker ~(Drums, Percussion)

Review :
The development of electronic keyboard instruments has been much like the fashion industry; it really is a shame that these two worlds can't be brought together, in which case Mellotron trousers and a Fender Rhodes sports shirt, both back in fashion, would be a perfect match. In the early '70s, the former keyboard was just about everywhere on the hit parade, supposedly on the verge of replacing entire symphony orchestras with the touch of a finger. Kestrel was a quintet from Newcastle, England that featured a keyboardist named John Cook on Mellotron, among other axes. He was not the only talent in the group, nor the only reason to listen to the only album the group ever made, originally released in the mid- '70s on the Cube label. But largely forgotten like many a progressive rock album from this era that enjoyed only piddling success, the Kestrel effort has become the subject of cult interest basically because there's a Mellotron on it. In 2000, a Japanese collector's label reissued the album on CD. In a somewhat superficial judgment of Mellotron playing from this period, Cook seems to suffer from the same problems everyone else did. The Mello-nauts were too busy listening to themselves, apparently soaking up the wonder of so much sound coming out of every touch. While it wasn't exactly a string section, it was pretty cool, maybe too cool. The instrument seems to run from subtlety, overemphasizing the inevitable piddling melodic content. If the comparison can be switched from fashion to cooking, the result would be a goulash in which somebody has poured an entire beaker of paprika. Still, the Mellotron does not fail to liven up some of the Kestrel tracks. The finale entitled "August Carol" has shown up on several lists of "greatest Mellotron performances ever," faithfully compiled by enthusiasts. The group also features an excellent singer, Tom Knowles, and a journeyman rocker named Dave Black who plays guitar and writes songs. He was a member of David Bowie's band for a few years and went on to form several other groups such as Goldie and 747. Black wrote all but one of the songs on Kestrel, none of the material being particularly original or absorbing. The overall sound is going to be what listeners will find either appealing or not, but either way there is no denying that as far as '70s progressive rock goes, Kestrel was the real thing. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

Bio : There is a certain segment of the listening public that remains fascinated with the Mellotron, an electronic keyboard that for a short period in the '70s was just about as popular on hit records as the sitar, which is saying a lot. Call them mello-dramatic, these listeners go to great lengths to complete their Mellotron archive. The process, like the lightning storm that Dr. Frankenstein latched onto, creates a kind of eternal life for groups such as Kestrel, a once forgotten Newcastle quintet that recorded a single self-titled album in 1973, originally released on Decca's Cube imprint the following year.

While John Cook was the featured fellow-tron on the Mellotron, synthesizer, and other electronic keyboards, guitarist Dave Black was the Kestrel member with the most active career in rock music. Continuing to name bands after birds, Black was back with Goldie a few years later; the group scored a hit single with "Making Up Again" in 1978. Several former members of Kestrel were involved in this combo. In between, Black increased his visibility by touring with David Bowie's Spiders from Mars band in 1975. For nearly a decade beginning in 1980, Black concentrated on a new group called, or rather numbered, 747, then began a solo career as well as a sideman stint in the Brendan Healy Band. The original Kestrel album was reissued by a Japanese CD label in 2000. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

Link is in comments....


Opa-Loka said...

Opa-Loka said...
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Anonymous said...

August Carol i'ts a great prog song, THX :)

Anonymous said...

I think this album is not that good, the vocal melodies are really tiring (especially the first song), and the "mellotron appearances" are really cliché, especially in the last song.

Anonymous said...

I have this Kestrel Album on vinyl from 1975 if anyone's interested?
Autmn Carol is the best especially the wild guitar at the end... It fades out too early!

Anonymous said...

link down

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