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Still Life - Still Life CD (album) cover


Still Life


Heavy Prog

3.62 | 79 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is an album I’d love to give four or five stars to just because of its infamous reputation and relative scarcity (although it has also been issued at least twice on CD). Well, sorry to anyone who spent a gross amount of money for one of the impossible-to-find Vertigo vinyl copies, but it’s just not that good. I mean, its okay, just not sell-your-house-and-take-out-a-vinyl-album-mortgage good.

I just love musical trivia, and this record has its fair share. But the most interesting one to me is that Rainbows (no, not Rainbow) the band that spawned this one included Roye Albrighton, who for some reasons decided living in Germany as part of Nektar was more important than returning to Coventry and being part of a forgotten, obscure heavy rock band. Go figure. From the little information that’s available on this band he appears to be the only one dating back to that Rainbows bunch that made a full-time career out of music.

The other trivia bit is a little less clear. According to several web sites and vintage music magazines these guys basically existed to be touring support for the Edgar Broughton Band. Except that there is a 2002 interview with former member vocalist Martin Cure who says Still Life never played with that band. Who knows or cares – good chance they did and the members of both bands spent the entire tour too stoned to remember. This was 1970 after all.

Anyway – Hammond, Hammond and more Hammond. Lots of organ on this thing. Decent drums and bass too, but it is a little odd to hear a keyboard-driven heavy rock band without guitars to lead the way. Cure has an unexceptional voice but he isn’t a distraction so I guess that’s a positive note. There have been comparisons to Mk1 Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Paladin, and all of them are valid. I would add Writing on the Wall (except for the lack of guitars), Mountain and possibly Bakerloo as well, although to be clear this is not another blues-based whiskey-lovin’ early seventies band. The arrangements are clearly classically and jazz-inspired with very little blues-leaning.

The opening “People in Black” is an eight-minute plus heavy and dark rocker that sets the tone for the whole album. Nothing that comes after varies too far from this mold, although “Don't Go” has some borderline Motown backing vocals. Again – this isn’t blues-based music, it’s only the vocals that make this sound closer to a Neil Diamond song than a progressive one.

But the rest of the album is true-to-form. “October Witches” is kind of hard to distinguish from the opening track except that there are more flourishes on the Hammond. “Love Song No. 6” sounds like the band took what they liked most from the first two songs and combined them to make this, and “Dreams” is basically the same song without the Motown backing. And “Time” is just an organ orgy (…that sounded weird…), and may be the best song on the album.

So this is a three star effort, and if you are one of those people thinking about shelling out thousands for an original Vertigo pressing then all I can say is I hope you don’t expect to get thousands of dollars worth of enjoyment from the music. It’s decent, but just not that good.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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