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Titus Groan - Titus Groan & ... Plus (1989) CD (album) cover

TITUS GROAN & ... PLUS (1989)

Titus Groan

 

Crossover Prog

3.49 | 39 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars There are several top-notch reissue labels at work today - Repertoire, Sundazed, Sunbeam, Revisited - all releasing wonderfully obscure material from a host of once-ignored progressive, psychedelic and jazz-rock groups from the late-1960's and early-1970's, but it is surely Mark Powell's Esoteric Recordings who have embraced the reissue market in the quintessentially true, hyper-enthusiastic fanboy style needed. Thanks to Esoteric's exhaustive efforts, great albums such as 'Space Shanty' by Khan, 'One Niter' by Eela Craig, National Health's 'Of Queue's And Cures' and 'Bundles' by Soft Machine have been re-branded and re-invigorated, complete with attentive sleeve notes, top-quality sound and a genuine respect for the material. And now it is the turn of Titus Groan, an obscure, jazz-hued British group who released their one-and-only self-titled debut in 1970, and, like so many before and after them, vanished into the big dark black hole of rock 'n roll. The group, before their premature split, was four-strong, featuring Stuart Cowell(keyboards, guitars, vocals), Jim Tooney(drums), Tony Priestland(sax, flute, oboe) and John Lee(bass). Their sound was a jazzier and much lighter variant on the Van Der Graaf Generator school of prog, just without the discordant rumblings and shrieking vocals, though elements of Egg, Nucleus, Chicago, Soft Machine and Gentle Giant are also evident. The jazz element is not all-pervasive however, and the album drifts from style-to-style, taking in country rock, bluesy breaks, King Crimson-style discordia and flecks of heavy psychedelia in an engaging, unfussy and highly melodic fashion. Fans of obscure British prog should feel right at home then, and there is much to admire on this fiercely eclectic album, but 'Titus Groan' was obscure for a reason - and despite the genuine musicianship on offer the album does mine a fairly workmanlike style that doesn't really deliver in terms of truly memorable tunes. Jazzy then, and nice, and full of good songs - but it's no classic. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 3/5 |

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