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Egg - Seven is a Jolly Good Time CD (album) cover

SEVEN IS A JOLLY GOOD TIME

Egg

 

Canterbury Scene

4.69 | 13 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
5 stars A 7-inch Canterbury gem! A 60's single containing prog! Something one don't run into too often.

EGG, one of the earliest Canterbury acts, or prog bands altogether, were a trio of organist-pianist Dave Stewart (later a member in Hatfield and the North, and National Health), bassist-vocalist Mont Campbell and drummer Clive Brooks. Originally there was also the to-be-famous guitarist Steve Hillage around; at the time the group was called URIEL. That quartet of very young musicians played at youth clubs in 1968, with The Nice and Pink Floyd as their most notable influences. When Hillage went to study history and philosophy at Kent University - located in Canterbury - , the remaining trio changed their name to Egg. In the spring of '69 they recorded this debut single, just before teaming up again with Hillage on his summer holiday, to make an album under the name of ARZACHEL. Yeah, pure Canterbury spirit in that sense too.

'Seven Is a Jolly Good Time' is a happy and musically complex, organ-centred song, and a fine example of Canterbury prog at that. I think of the early SOFT MACHINE as their kindred spirit. Mont Campbell is a pretty good vocalist, and already that alone makes Egg sound nicer (!) than their better-known contemporaries The Nice. The lyrics tell of a boy who starts "writing songs in all the rhythms I could find". The brief song toys with odd time signatures while the structure featuring a suitable amount of chorus repetition keeps it relatively accessible in its quirkiness. The monomanic "really doesn't matter - squeek! - really doesn't matter - squeek! - really doesn't matter - squeek! - really doesn't matter" section is rather similar to certain moments, a decade or more later, by bands such as Talking Heads, 10cc or the 80's King Crimson... The sound quality is very good for the sixties, it doesn't suffer from the echoey psych vibe like the Caravan debut album.

'You Are All Princes' is a bit longer song at 3:45. Not quite as quirky, but no less interesting or good-sounding [proto-] prog song with a psychedelic edge. Organ sounds terrific, and later a harpsichord joins in merrily, at first bringing Floyd's 'See Emily Play' in mind. Melodically both of the songs in this seminal single are charming. And what's increasing their value even further, they didn't appear on any of the three albums of Egg. They are to be found on a cd edition of the eponymous debut (1970). One could hardly expect more of a 7" single from 1969. Five out of ten ratings (without reviews) here have given five stars, and I'm glad to agree.

Matti | 5/5 |

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