GRANDFATHER REVIEWS, THEN AND NOW

Posted on Tuesday, 16 August 2011

News :: Grandfather-reviews-then-and-now :: Album Cover

Music Business Weekly, 1971:, “a new group that shows a great deal of originality… At times the playing resembles King Crimson. But, although this probably won’t be a huge seller, it does enough to show that any future albums will be worth a listen.”

Melody Maker 1971: “As album conceptions become more ambitious, so standards of judgement become harsher. This one makes it. It’s an album to listen to. The ideas incorporated in the lyrics are imaginative. The music is carefully stitched into the fibre of the album. Although a large amount of instruments is used, there’s nothing that’s superficial. Most of the songs are written by Chris Baker (lead guitar). His lyrics are simple and effective.”

Golovanov Alexey (Limassol, Cyprus) - Amazon 2011
... Recorded and released on Square label in 1970, Grandfather remains until now one of the most accomplished (and neglected) masterpieces of early British psych/prog.
This is concept album (mini rock-suite, if you wish) based on philosophical, almost Biblical, attempt to describe the life of a man from his birth to the death. Often compared to uninspiring although ambitious effort by Pretty Things (S.F. Sorrow) it's far superior in all aspects. I would suggest that Grandfather stands closer to Procol Harum, Moody Blues, and, aesthetically, next to lesser known Grannie (Grannie), although Grandfather is more mellow. In a way, it paved the road for another lesser miracle of British prog, based on the same formula - The Alchemist (The Alchemist.
The album consists of 11 parts - superb psych/prog, with excellent acoustic elements, great strings and flute, competent and pleasant vocal harmonies. Almost all compositions were written by Chris Baker (except "Make Your Peace" by Barry Everitt and "Prelude" - credited to the whole band). "A Prayer For Her" could easily have commercial success even now (I cannot understand why it didn't happen?), "Your's Claudia" has interesting sound effects, while "Years & Fortunes" and "Grandfather" have strong flavour of medieval pieces, and "Out Of Time", "Your Country Needs You?" are rather hard-edge about them.
Little is known about the band, which didn't even make it into The Tapestry of Delights (Tapestry of Delights: Revisited), but they were: Barry Everitt - lead vocals + organ, piano, harpsichord; Chris Baker - lead guitar, backing vocals; Jim Sturgeon - sax, flute, acoustic guitar; John Clements - drums; David Sewell - bass.
The album was released with unpretentious artwork by Barry Reeve.

Really worth every penny

cduniverse 2010: "Highly sought-after on the collectors’ circuit for many years, the Dear Mr. Time album Grandfather is an obscure but genuinely impressive example of the British late psychedelic/early progressive rock sound, firmly in the same vein as the likes of the Moody Blues and early King Crimson. Originally released in February 1971 by the small independent label Square Records, it now finally receives a first-ever official reissue. Taken from the original master tapes, this definitive release adds a batch of home demos of similar vintage by the band’s guitarist and chief songwriter Chris Baker. It also tells the band’s story for the first time and includes many previously unpublished photos."

planetmellotron.com. June 30, 2010 (review of a pirate copy): "Dear Mr Time were an obscure British outfit who straddled the late-period psych/early prog divide with their sole album, a concept piece entitled Grandfather. It (loosely, of course, in true concept album style) tells the story of one man's life from his birth around the turn of the century to his own death, as recounted by his grandson. Birth - The Beginning makes for a pastoral enough start, but the pace picks up quickly enough as the story races towards the protagonist's experiences as a soldier in the trenches. The rest of the album veers between acoustic and electric, but quality's maintained throughout, avoiding the 'only two or three decent tracks' syndrome. On reflection, the concept actually owes a little to the Pretty Things' seminal SF Sorrow, but it's a very different album and, let's face it, a fairly universal subject.No-one's credited with Mellotron, so I'll assume keyboard player Barry Everitt was responsible for the excellent MkII strings on Prelude (To Your Country Needs You?) and the rather shorter part in closer Grandfather. Pity they didn't use it more, but there you go. Incidentally, the cellos in Prelude are real.All in all, this is really rather good, and undeservedly obscure, especially when you consider some of the third-rate stuff that's been available for years. The CD appears to've been pressed from a vinyl copy, but the surface noise isn't too bad, and rather a slightly crackly copy than none at all! A welcome addition to the field of UK psych/prog reissues, with a couple of good 'Tron tracks. Assuming you can find it, buy."

Shindig! 2010. "As concept albums go, Dear Mr Time’s Grandfather could be a distant relative of S. F. Sorrow, being a WW1-based reverie upon one man’s episodic lifestyle. The very minute the brooding King Crimson flute and pious Moodies harmonies kick in on ‘Birth, The Beginning’, it is instantly apparent upon which side these Chelmsford challengers liked their bread buttered. Originally issued in a meager run of 1000 copies on the miniscule independent Square label in 1971, Grandfather may well wear its influences like peacock feathers – see also the ‘Schizoid Man’-derived stop-time riffing of ‘Your Country Needs You’ and ‘A Distant Moonshine’, and the ardent Graeme Edge-style spoken word passages in ‘On A Lonely Night’ – but it earns its own validity thanks to guitarist Chris Baker’s propensity for penning uncommonly pretty acoustic vignettes (‘Yours Claudia’, ‘Years And Fortunes). Besides which, you wouldn’t find the chuckling banjo and floppy boot stomp of the excellent single ‘A Prayer For Her’ on any King Crimson album.”

Record Collector 2010: “As everybody knows, prog is supposed to sound a bit pompous and overblown – which is possibly why this local Essex band’s particular take on the King Crimson/Moody Blues’ schtick sounds somewhat underblown. The songs, perhaps inevitably, trace a conceptual trail through a man’s life in the 20th Century, from Birth – The Beginning, via war and love to Grandfather; but no amount of attempts to inflate the sound with brass, cello, Mellotron and square-peg folksiness can help it sound anything other than modest, ambitious… ultimately second division. Recorded for the tiny Square label in 1971, only 1,000 copies were originally pressed up, making it an inevitable “sleeper” of enormous value to collectors. The best-known track, ‘Your Country Needs You?’, appeared on the Perfumed Garden 5-CD box set of English psych. In truth, though, these are post-psych sounds looking back three long years toIn Search Of The Lost Chord. Even so, in the less lumpy tracks, repeated plays will have you asking, “What if?” And when it comes to such whimsical nostalgia, who said there’s anything wrong with second division?”  

Progmuncher (US) Jul 30 2011: "Some of the best psych/prog rock came out of the UK in the 1970s. Dear Mr Time is a band that never made it big, but in my opinion they should have done. It's a concept album based around the life of one man. So yeh, maybe the idea is a little corny now, but, hey, this is from 40 years back. The musicianship and the vocals are excellent and a real variety of instruments is used - typical of the time. Nice guitar and keyboard work (mellotron?). Some gentle songs as well as some real riff-based rockers. Best tracks ? Your Country Needs You, Make your Peace, Light up a Light and the haunting Years and Fortunes. If you can find this on vinyl get it - it's a real collectors item and well worth a listen."

rockmann Feb 17 2011: "It all works well - great guitars, vocals, keyboards, brass etc. Classic example of 1970 nostalgia prog album. Maybe slightly dated concept and maybe Moody/Crimson influences but that's no bad thing"

spherule Oct 17 2010: "Wonderful UK psych-prog with an earnest home-brewed character. This endearing and well wrought music has an honest, dreamy quality that makes it essential for any fan of early prog. Highly recommended."

jimslim 11 Apr. 09 2006 (Reviewing a pirate release) "Nice progressive release from the British band Grandfather.Very reminiscent of the Moody Blues, Colosseum, even a little of early King Crimson. The band is filled with multi-instrumentalists, led by vocalist Barry Everitt on piano, organ and harpsichord. The album is a 12 piece suite about a boy from his birth up until he became a grandfather, with a stop to fight a war in between. Check out "Make Your Peace" and "Light Up a Light"."

 

 

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