lördag 11 mars 2017

Gravy Train - Ballad of a Peaceful Man (2nd Album UK Hardrock 1971)


270:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Endast utgiven i denna version. Laminerat konvolut. Svår att få tag i då den släpptes år 2000.)

Released in late 1971, (A Ballad of) A Peaceful Man was Gravy Train's second - and probably their most praised - album. Unlike their heavier debut, this album sports some lovely string arrangements, provided by Nick Harrison.


A unique feature of the album is that it splits the heavy tracks from the lighter tracks: all the ballads are on side 1, while all the rockers are on side 2.



Among the lesser-feted jewels released by the Vertigo label during its swirly-logo purple patch, Gravy Train's restful hybrid of jazz-tinged virtuosity, folky pastorals, and heartfelt vocalizing peaks on this, their second album, and that despite A Ballad of a Peaceful Man doing little more than treading water when compared to the experimental peaks of its predecessor. 



Part of the album's appeal lies in the then-novel concept of splitting its contents neatly in half, the hard rockers on one side, the softer material on the other. On the whole, the ballads have dated a lot better than the monsters, particularly "Alone in Georgia," which clashes sweet soul with (of all things!) Southern rock and, for some reason, sounds a lot like the Heavy Metal Kids. 


But that is not to denounce the sheer power of the band in full flood. The title track postulates an unholy collision of Uriah Heep and Atomic Rooster, and shows off Norman Barrett's vocals to maximum effect, while "Won't Talk About It" is almost stubbornly likable, and that despite prophesying every yowling power ballad of the '80s and beyond. Best of all, though, is the spookily atmospheric "Home Again," all throbbing percussion, primal flute, and timeless melancholy. On an album that flirts across a variety of moods, the moodiest track of all makes for a breathtaking finale. 


Personnel:

♦ Norman Barrett – Guitar, Vocals 
♦ Barry Davenport – Drums 
♦ J.D. Hughes – Keyboards, Vocals, Wind 
♦ Lester Williams – Bass, Vocals 

01. "Alone in Georgia" – 4:35 

02. "(A Ballad Of) A Peaceful Man" – 7:06 
03. "Julie's Delight" – 6:58 
04. "Messenger" – 5:58 
05. "Can Anybody Hear Me" – 2:59 
06. "Old Tin Box" – 4:45 
07. "Won't Talk about It" – 3:00 
08. "Home Again" – 3:25