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Gracious - Gracious ! CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 182 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars One of a clutch of bands whose reputation has been restored by the German reissue-and- reignite label Repertoire Records, eclectic-prog merchants Gracious enjoyed a brief spell in the sunshine during progressive rock's boom years before that crippling combination - bad luck and bad sales - resulted in their sadly-truncated demise. Now, along with the likes of Jade Warrior, Black Widow, Patto, Gravy Train, Spring, Still Life and Beggars Opera, Gracious belong to that elite group whose music was deemed good enough to be exhumed, re-examined and re-established. Famed for their gorgeous, limited-numbered mini-vinyl replica editions, Repertoire have performed the full body job for this welcome re-release, with the original textured sleeve design that graced the original vinyl release beautifully re-created for the CD age, and the music cleaned-up and amped-up for us modern day progressive rock fans to enjoy. And enjoy you should. Gracious are indeed a curious group, one who blend King Crimson's sharp, experimental rock dynamic with the playful gusto of Canterbury-proggers Caravan and the music complexity of Italian genre kings Maxophone to interesting, if somewhat indulgent, effect. They came early on in prog's development, 1970 no less, and their first album, the cunningly titled '!', sported a devious undercurrent of leftfield humour to go with their majestic and epic brand of fulsome progressive rock. Of the cuts on '!', the grand-guignol piano-led opener 'Introduction' is possibly the most indelible, with Martin Kitcat's emphatic, charging organ and Alan Cowderoy's dextrous guitar-playing creating an impressive, classically-tinted opus, yet it is the gorgeous harmonies and gently-ebbing flow of 'Heaven' that really shines through, with Cowderoy's soulful vocals particularly effervescent. Sadly, Gracious' ambitious brand of rock was ignored by the buying public despite several fairly positive reviews across the British music press and after one more album, 1972's 'This Is Gracious', the group called it quits and moved on to pastures new. Good music, however, is hard to keep down, and it is no coincidence that this remarkably original album has been given a second chance. Fans of King Crimson and Cressida should find much to admire, but fans of progressive rock in general should all give an ear to hear Gracious. '!' indeed. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 4/5 |


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