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Citizen Cain - Ghost Dance CD (album) cover


Citizen Cain


Symphonic Prog

2.62 | 50 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars Over the years I have had to cull my collection various times, so the filing cabinets full of press releases and band information had to go (although I did keep my complete files on certain bands), as did many of the CDs. But, I kept every photo I was ever sent, along with every cassette. Many of those bands are no longer with us so these tapes are sometimes the only thing left to remind me of what might have been, but here I am now playing a remastered version of a CD that I previously was unaware of (apparently it was released on Mellow at some point), which in turn is of a tape that I was originally sent by Stewart Bell twenty years ago. The CD contains the same track listing as the tape, which was subtitled 'The Original Citizen Cain 84-87'. It isn't easy to track down a biography of the band from these early days, but luckily I have also never thrown out any music books so by referencing the first issue of 'The Progressive Rock Directory' (written and published by David Robinson who now runs Festival Music which has released this) which came out in August 1992, I am pleased that my recollection of events is right (for a change).

Citizen Cain were originally a trio, forming in 1984 with George Scott (now known as Cyrus or Xyrus) providing bass and vocals, Tim Taylor (guitar and keyboards) and Gordon Feenie (drums, keys and flute). Interestingly, Tim and Gordon were previously both members of Not Quite Red Fox who turned a pre-Marillion Fish down as a frontman because he didn't have enough presence! Over the next three years Citizen Cain gigged a lot, especially in London at The Marquee and started to gain a reputation as a slightly different sounding band due to the way that the bass is often a lead instrument. They had one song on the famed 'Fire In Harmony' compilation, but had to split up after Cyrus was in a car crash that left him unable to play bass. After he returned to Edinburgh he then met up with the guys who would then form the basis for a new group, who went in a more symphonic and overtly early Genesis direction.

So, history lesson out of the way, what is this album actually like? Well, remember that it isn't actually an album as opposed to a collection of songs as they only officially released the one song during their existence. But, given that this originally was a set of low-key recordings from the Eighties it actually stands up well against the other material from the time. Yes, Cyrus has a distinctive voice that makes many think of Gabriel, but these guys sound nothing like Genesis with a bassline and approach that is quite different. I would be interested to hear what they sounded like in the live environment, as keyboards are an important aspect although not essential, and I am sure that Tim switched between the two during a gig as Cyrus is often playing lines that are far more than just backing. This was a powerful prog trio and one can only wonder what they would have achieved if the accident hadn't taken place.

Some people have been quite disparaging about this album which is a real shame as I believe that it definitely has it's place in the prog canon. It is something that I have really enjoyed playing, but just remember that this was early days for the band and in many ways it is totally different to the style they developed in the Nineties. So, although some may feel that this is only one for completists I would instead say that while not essential it is a damn fine listen and something I have enjoyed playing again after quite a while.

kev rowland | 3/5 |


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