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John Lees - A Major Fancy CD (album) cover

A MAJOR FANCY

John Lees

 

Crossover Prog

2.58 | 22 ratings

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rupert
3 stars This is not a Barclay James Harvest Album, so don't be misled by expectations raised from the inclusion of "Child of the Universe" - in its original studio version cause the song had been rejected by BJH first. John Lees' 1972 Solo-Album "A Major Fancy", released on Vinyl when in 1977 BJH had their major breakthrough and EMI remembered what was hidden in their vaults, is far more an answer to those who have a hard time believing that before BJH emerged their original members had played in R'n'B ( R'n'B !!! ) Bands two of a kind before they joined forces... though some stuff of BJH's EMI catalogue points into the direction their guitar player should go here ( Blue Johns Blues f.e. ! )... but there is always a tip at the Beatles to be found in John Lees' work anyway.

A jazzy vibe's running through the two first ( of three ) "Untitled" numbers, great organ playing by Rod Argent ( of the Zombies fame, later on - with Russ Ballard - teaming up for ARGENT ) on the first and great piano ( throughout the album: Gordon Edwards ) gets you off at the second while the groove was supplied by Pretty Things' Wally Waller ( Bass ) and Skip Alan ( drums ), lending an unexpected swing also to "Long Ships".

In fact, "Child of the Universe" is the only song arranged in the vein you may expect but different to BJH still with female choir-voices haunted by a passionate ( and nowadays perhaps disturbing ) string-chart, and it has to be said that with "Untitled ( 1 )" and "Child of the Universe" this album is truly starting out great while the other tracks can't quite live up to that though, with several listens, you'll be happy with the beauty of "Witburg Night", too, and, if you're into the Eagles, you will enjoy "Sweet faced Jane" as well, a country-rocker with fiddles and - unusual but very pleasing - a soulful saxophone-solo.

The other two tracks - "Kes" is an atmospheric instrumental and the closing lovesong, untitled again - are not as strong as those but still worthwhile. As Keith Domone so distinctively wrote in the linerntes for the CD-reissue on Eagle Recods, this album "is very much a child of its time"... but every BJH-fan should have it, cause added are three extremely rare gems from the Polydor-archives, on which Les Holroyd handles the bass duties ( and B.J. Cole plays steel guitar ! )... the coverversion of the Eagles' "Best of my Love" is very beautiful, it could have been a hit for John if not Polydor would have stopped any promotional support for the single in order not to compete with BJH ( ! ) then.

When I bought this cd I first lost interest in the whole thing after the first two songs but I've come to love the whole album now, so to ME it's a four star-album, but there's not so many proggy moments so my rating is less for you.

Rupi

rupert | 3/5 |

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