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Neutrons - Tales from the Blue Cocoons CD (album) cover

TALES FROM THE BLUE COCOONS

Neutrons

 

Eclectic Prog

3.57 | 16 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars NEUTRONS were founded by keyboardist Phil Ryan and guitarist Michael "Will" Youatt, both having played on a couple of MAN albums, joined by Gentle Giant's drummer John Weathers, Incredible String Band's violinist Stuart Gordon -- who also brought his young girlfriend Caromay Dixon as an additional vocalist -- , and a couple of other chaps. The group made only two albums in their short existence in the mid-70's before Phil Ryan returned to Man and Will Youatt founded one-timer Alkatraz. Neutrons' debut Black Hole Star (1974) is very good but its follower Tales from the Blue Cocoons is slightly less inspired and less progressive. Stuart Gordon with his violin is absent on this album, and also Weathers was replaced by average drummers. Nevertheless, this is a fairly enjoyable album for a listener of the 70's psych/folk/jazz flavoured classic rock.

Ryan's work on synthesizers, piano and organ is definitely the star of the show. The opener 'No More Straight' is basically rather MAN-like, jam-oriented piece with sparse vocals, but synths are deliciously lively and comparable to MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND. 'Northern Midnight' is a nice, relaxed song with folky nuances and strong contributions from both keyboards and electric guitar. Somehow the song's atmosphere reminds me of Peter Hammill's 'Candle' in his 1971 Fools Mate album. 'Come into My Cave' remains a bit boring.

Caromay Dixon's innocently charming, folky voice has only appeared on background this far, but she sings the brief acoustic number 'Live Your Lie' and 'L'Hippie Nationale' which is musically quite dynamic and has a faint [non- symphonic] early YES vibe. 'Take You Further' has a nice jazz groove, much jazzier than STEELY DAN, as the electric piano may even bring Chick Corea to one's mind. In between vocal parts, backed up beautifully by Caromay, there are cool instrumental passages. The instrumental piece 'Welsh R. Blunt' is also very jazzy and has a Canterbury-like playful feeling. The ending song 'Jam Eaters' features Caromay again on lead vocals.

I hadn't been listening to Neutron for years. Even though I still prefer Black Hole Star, this second and last album is actually whole lot more delightful than I remembered it to be. Unfortunately it's a bit short at 35 minutes. 3 stars rounded up.

Especially the CD containing both Neutrons albums is warmly recommended if you like the mentioned bands.

Matti | 4/5 |

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