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Khan - Space Shanty CD (album) cover

SPACE SHANTY

Khan

 

Canterbury Scene

4.27 | 699 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars Khan were a short-lived Canterbury Scene band who got together to record one outstanding album "Space Shanty" in 1972 before breaking up shortly afterwards. The band featured guitar legend and singer Steve Hillage, who later went on to success with Gong as well as having an illustrious solo career following the release of his first album "Fish Rising" in 1975. On keyboards was Dave Stewart (not to be confused with guitarist Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics), a distinguished keyboard player who was a member of the Jazz-Rock bands, Egg, Hatfield and the North, National Health, and Bruford, at various times during his long career. He also played together with Steve Hillage on the Arzachel (Uriel) album in 1969. Dave Stewart later worked with Barbara Gaskin (formerly a member of Prog-Folk band Spirogyra) and they teamed up to achieve single success in 1981 with "It's My Party {And I'll Cry If I Want To). The bass player on Khan's "Space Shanty" album was Nick Greenwood, a member of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and on drums was Pip Pyle, a talented drummer who went on to be a member of the Canterbury Scene bands, Gong, Hatfield and the North and National Health. The "Space Shanty" album contains six long epic pieces of diverse music of between 5 and 10 minutes duration, consisting primarily of a heavy prog, hard-rocking sound, interspersed with some quirky Jazz-Rock passages and quieter melodic moments, Khan sound like a heavier version of Caravan in places, and all the better for it too. "Space Shanty" is a very gratifying album to listen to as a whole and warrants repeated listening to truly appreciate the musical delights on offer here. The 2005 CD reissue of the album contained two bonus tracks.

"Space Shanty" opens in spectacular style with the title track, a song of awe-inspiring power and versatility, demonstrating the musical prowess of the four talented musicians to the fullest extent. This is Prog-Rock at its absolute best: heavy and loud and proud and displaying breath-taking musical virtuosity, guaranteed to leave the listener enthralled and astounded at the same time. Next is "Stranded", a beautifully melodic song which warms the heart with its lush harmonics and emotionally charged vocals. The song features an intricate, instrumental Jazz-Rock break to delight and entertain the listener. This memorable song represents another perfect demonstration of the musical virtuosity of these four amazingly talented musicians. Song No, 3 "Mixed Up Man of the Mountains" continues the album in similar epic and dramatic style, with a powerful Hard Rock sound combining well together with some complex Jazz-Rock sequences. Side Two opens with the longest song on the album "Driving To Amsterdam", a 9-minute-long song which displays its Canterbury Scene credentials to the fullest extent, with a heavy "Caravan-esque" Jazz-Rock sound and featuring some masterly guitar riffs and keyboard virtuosity from the combined talents of Steve Hillage and Dave Stewart. The penultimate song "Stargazers" is another heavy Jazz-Rock number with some interesting changes of time signature and dramatic changes of pace. "Hollow Stone" brings this memorable album to a suitably impressive close with emotionally wrought vocals and a spectacularly heavy and powerful sound, very reminiscent of some of Uriah Heep's epic songs.

The "Space Shanty" album is a classic which has stood the test of time, and still sounds as fresh and original today as it did at the time of its release way back in 1972. Thanks to ProgArchives and YouTube, this album is now receiving the acclaim and recognition it truly deserves. "Space Shanty" will delight and astound Progressive Rock lovers everywhere with its awesome power and virtuosity. It's an absolutely essential album for any discerning collector of classic early 1970's Prog-Rock.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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