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Ramases - Space Hymns CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.97 | 50 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
4 stars RAMASES (real name Kimberley Barrington Frost) adopted his name after claiming to have been visited by the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses sometime during a car journey near his home in Sheffield, England. He began dressing and behaving in an eccentric manner, wearing silk robes and shaving his head, in the style of the Hare Krishna religious sect. He recorded his sublime "Space Hymns" (1971) album at Strawberry Hill Studios at Stockport near Manchester with his wife Dorothy (who he renamed Selket), together with the musicians Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, who famously went on to form the Pop/Rock band 10cc, although this religiously-inspired album is far removed from anything 10cc ever recorded. Renowned album cover artist Roger Dean designed the spacey album cover. A second album "Glass Top Coffin" followed in 1975 which failed to achieve commercial success. Tragically, Kimberley Barrington Frost took his own life in 1976 in a fit of depression, aged 42, which makes this marvellous legacy of music he left behind all the more poignant in its appeal.

"Space Hymns" - The final frontier! Prepare to blast off into orbit with an out-of-this-world collection of 11 devotional space- themed songs where Ramases boldly (or baldly!) goes where no album has gone before. The countdown has begun..... Five!.....Four!.....Three!.....Two!.....One!.....We have lift-off!..... Launching us into orbit in spectacular style on this 11-stage rocket is "Life Child", which opens in suitably atmospheric style with some spacey sound effects. The spaced-out song takes us on a wild acid guitar trip, where the singer tells us with a religiously-inspired passion for the environment that..... "The sun is fading from Your city, Life Child, From where I stand it ain't so pretty, Life Child, I see Your sun is going down, I see Your wreckage on the ground, Life Child, Your seas are full of poisoned water, Life Child......" Taking us through the stratosphere and up into orbit comes "Hello Mister", which sounds like a devotional Hare Krishna chant, with the title words of the song chanted seemingly ad finitum, although that's no bad thing. Achieving orbit now, and along comes Space Hymn No. 3, "And the Whole World", another Hare Krishna inspired song with the pleasant harmonies blending nicely with the gentle sound of the acoustic instruments. You can almost picture the singers gathered half-naked around a campfire at night with their eyes pointed towards the heavens. "Quasar One" continues our journey around the Earth in similar devotional style with much chanting and featuring a whole jamboree of acoustic instruments. "You're The Only One Joe" follows next, where the only lyrics are the song title repeated endlessly for 2 minutes, which does become rather repetitive and you're left wondering who on Earth Joe is. The next song "Earth People" features a beautiful female vocal lead and represents one of the highlights of the album. It's a delightful song to listen to at night with the lights turned down low where you can be carried away into a higher orbit, or failing that, you can drift off to sleep and have pleasant dreams of drifting through endless space with the magnificent Earth down below. The next song "Molecular Delusion" is probably the most religious-inspired of all of the Space Hymns on the album. It's an acid-tinged song George Harrison might have recorded during one of his more meditative moments after visiting the Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Next up is "Balloon", where the singer imploringly sings "Don't burst your bubble, or you're in trouble." which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but who cares, because it's a fun lyric and a great song. The intriguingly titled "Dying Swan Year 2000" is a short little a capella album filler before "Jesus Come Back", an unapologetically devotional song that wears its religious heart on its sleeve with these words, "Have you got fears for the future, my friend Jesus, Jesus come back". It's *almost* enough to turn a confirmed atheist into a devout follower of Jesus. Who needs Jehovah's Witnesses knocking at their door when there's devotional music as good as this to inspire you!? Finally, we return to Earth with "Journey To The Inside" to close out the album. It's a weird 6-minute-long, drug-induced acid trip, which is nothing less than you'd expect from a religiously-inspired album drenched in psychedelic colours.

If you want to get all religious without going to church and fancy listening to some gentle and devotional Prog-Folk songs with a sprinkle of psychedelic flower-power, then this is the album for you. The album will have special appeal if you like the idea of dancing naked around a tree under a star-filled moonlit sky with some flowers in your hair. "Space Hymns" features enchanting harmonies and various acoustic delights designed to transport you to musical heaven on Earth.

Psychedelic Paul | 4/5 |


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