fredag 17 juli 2015

Paladin - Charge! (Very Rare & Good Progressive Rock UK 1972)

300:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Engelskt progressive rock album som är mycket svår att hitta idag.)

A good progressive/hard rock outfit, their first album was recorded live in the studio and their strength was really as a live act. Lou Stonebridge went on to play for McGuinness Flint. Joe Jammer also recorded as a solo artist.

The follow up album "Charge!" was released a year later. It had an excellent Roger Dean sleeve, and represented a major improvement on the rather lacklustre debut album. "Charge!" explored interesting progressive rock areas, combining folk influences ("Watching The World Pass By") with rock and roll ("Well We Might"), and psychedelic rock ("Mix Your Mind With The Moonbeams"). The diverse style of the album make it difficult to pinpoint influences, but there's a bit of GENESIS, BJH, URIAH HEEP and possibly JETHRO TULL. 

The band only released the two albums, before their lack of success led to frustration, and they disbanded in 1972. Lou Stonebridge found success with MCGUINNESS FLINT, while Pete Soley formed SNAFU with Mickey Moody. Peter Beckett joined the band PLAYER as vocalist, and Keith Webb found work as drummer with various outfits. Paladin may only have ever released two albums, but their second “Charge” is an absolute classic of early 70’s prog. There are many different styles and sounds on the album, yet the whole is nothing less than a coherent masterpiece.

The Roger Dean sleeve may not be an absolute guarantee of quality, but Paladin sit well with their peers such as Yes, Uriah Heep, Asia, etc., whom Dean graced with his artwork. 

There are four feature tracks on the album. The opening “Give me your hand” sets the tone, with rich organ and guitar backing a strong vocal for a fine piece of melodic hard rock. “Good lord” is a slightly softer but still upbeat song with some excellent guitar work by Derek Foley. 

It leads into the album’s best track, the wonderfully atmospheric “Mix your mind with the moonbeams”. The multi-tracked vocals and trippy lyrics are pure early 70’s ("Let the cosmic light diffuse itself, in all its magic ways"). The track is awash in keyboard layers, and chiming guitars. This is PENDRAGON years before Pendragon existed! Also included is an all too rare Hammond organ solo, similar to the one on URIAH HEEP's “July Morning”.

The closing track “Watching the world pass by” has everything in about 9 minutes. It starts with some interesting keyboard moods, before breaking into an almost funky harmonica led wall of sound backed piece. About midway, we suddenly lurch into a barn dance, before a superb guitar solo of some length brings the album to its climactic conclusion. 

Paladin - Spain Back Cover Single 1971
The album is rounded out by three shorter tracks. “Well we might” is an almost SLADE (yes Slade!) like rocker with some great guitar and some very effective stop go interludes. “Anyway” is a melotron backed ballad which contrasts superbly with the generally upbeat nature of the album. This track appears to have been a late addition to the original LP, as it appears on a sticky label added to the track listing. "Get one together" is the only dip, being a pretty nondescript instrumental.

“Charge” is a truly superb album, very much of its time, but still highly enjoyable. The band were destined to split before recording any further albums, but at least they went out on a high. 

♦ Lou Stonebridge - vocals, electric piano, harmonica
♦ Peter Soley - organ, violin, Grand piano
♦ Keith Webb - drums, percussion
♦ Derek Foley - lead guitar, slide guitar, vocals
♦ Peter Beckett - bass guitar, vocals

01. Give Me Your Hand (6:41)
02. Well We Might (5:02)
03. Get On Together (2:35)
04. Anyway (4:14)
05. Good Lord (6:44)
06. Mix Your Mind with the Moonbeams (6:01) 
07. Watching the World Pass By (9:25)

Bonus Tracks: 
08.Give me Love to you (2:31)
09.Sweet Sweet Music (2:48)
10.Any Way (4:19)
11.Sweet Sweet Music (2:48) 
12.Well we Might (6:10)
13.Fill up your Heart (Instrumental) (5:43)
14.Bad Times (Instrumental) (7:14)

Paladin - Italy Single 1971
Paladin - Spain Front Cover Single 1971