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Refugee - Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974 CD (album) cover

LIVE IN CONCERT - NEWCASTLE CITY HALL 1974

Refugee

Symphonic Prog


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richardh
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A real gem this for all fans of organ driven symph prog. Refugee's debut album (reviewed elswhere) is one of the best symph prog albums and this official live album (taken from a high quality bootleg) is just as much fun.The Swiss keyboard genius that is Patrick Moraz on keyboards is well represented here. Compared to the album there is a lot less piano so fans of the organ will enjoy this even more than the studio album I expect. On top of that there are fine renditions of The Nice 'Diamond Hard Blues Apples of The Moon' and 'She Belongs To Me' (orginally Bob Dylan).For a live album recorded in 1974 it has excellent sound clarity. Davison's drums are raw and powerfull while Lee Jackson raspy vocals fit the organ based sound. This is more like The Nice than The Nice were!

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#121481)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Masterpiece Prog Live Album!

Colleague Collaborator Guillermo Vázquez wrote at this site : "Why Patrick Moraz left this band?" to start his great review of Refugee's the only one studio album. This is truly a thought provoking question and I do like it because I fully agree with him. Refugee is a great band and there was actually no compelling reason to disband. What a pity! With such a great studio album, this band is actually could be BIGGER than ELP. This live performance proves that Refugee is a great band! By the way, for those of you who have not listened to (and MUST OWN!) Refugee only one album, you must. It's a masterpiece of progressive music. In fact that album was the one that influenced the pop music scene in my country through the release of original sound track film "Badai Pasti Berlalu") in 1977. The musical nuance was mostly taken from Refugee's album.

I only knew this live in concert CD couple of months ago when I browse the net. I then ordered this album through the Missingpiece - which took so long to process because they were on leave - how come no customer order assurance during their leave period? Well finally .. after a long wait my order arrived and this was my second priority to enjoy after Genesis "Live" (Gabriel era). The first thing I did was to read the sleeve notes and I was impressed with the passion demonstrated to make this live concert CD available from Brian Davison's C 90 cassette containing major stuffs which later become this CD. The notes were well written by Martyn Hanson (the author of "Hang On To A Dream" - The Story of The Nice). Because I was grown with vintage prog music like Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd and also Refugee, I was really touched with the notes that Martyn put it. One of it was the fact that the tape was originally found on 2000 and it it made into CD in 2007!

I don't really care about the sonic quality which I consider "poor" even though Martyn said it's good. It's not good at all to my standard. The sonic quality of my Marillion bootleg albums are better than this one. But again, I don't care because I'm so curious to have the live version of this legendary band that has colored my childhood days. My pulse was running faster when "Outro - Ritt Mickley" (2:53) was wonderfully performed even though it's quite short. The song starts in the middle because I believe the opening part is damaged. But it's okay, I don't care. Through this track I can sense the great live vibes and how Patrick Moraz plays his keyboard wonderfully. With this release I finally know who Ritt Mickley is. As Martyn put in the sleeve notes that Patrick's English is good but his pronunciation is really bad. It actually meant to be "rhythmically" but the other band members thought that "Ritt Mickely" due to bad pronunciation from Patrick. What a great prog joke, really! All of them laughed but the name stuck.

I shout outloud "Yeeeaaah!" when I listened to "One Left Handed Peter Pan" (8:44) which to me is one of great symphonic prog rock composition featuring dynamic and pulsating keyboard work, aggressive bass lines and dazzling drumwork. It's truly a masterpiece!!! That's why, this band could be bigger than ELP, especially knowing "One Left Handed Peter Pan" which supposed to be part of Refugee's second album. It opens with ambient keyboard followed with tight bass lines by Lee Jackson and powerful drum beats by Brian followed with Patrick's keyboard work. What follow then was the energetic vocal line by Lee Jackson. He sings with very strong accentuation and energy. Patrick Moraz solo follows with his pulsating synthesizer. It's really great! It's gonna be a great track in studio, I think. Well, actually after quitting from Yes, Moraz could rejoin with other Refugee members and made the second album.

"The Diamond Hard Blues Apples Of The Moon" (7:00) is basically The Nice's song which Refugee performed beautifully. Next are two songs from their first album. The first one is "Someday" (6:06) which actually telling the story about the break-up of Lee Jackson (vocal, bass) first marriage. It's performed much more dynamic than the original studio version. The second is "Papillon" (8:00) which its name was inspired by Dustin Hoffman's film with the same title. Again this song demonstrates great combination of aggressive keyboard work, tight basslines and dazzling drumwork. The live version is much dynamic. This live version features also Bob Dylan's "She Belongs To Me" (8:54).

The last song is my ultimate favorite from Refugee "Grand Canyon Suite" (18:24) which represents Patrick's willingness to write a piece of music on natural wonder. It's quite surprising to me that Patrick played Alpine Horn at the start of this epic. I really enjoy this track, performed live, especially with how energetic Lee Jackson delivered his powerful vocal with really great dynamic. "When you go home and sleep this nightDream of wings and astral flight. Fly with the speed of waking light. And we'll go. And I'll show you. Show you the way. To the Grand Canyon". What a great song, really! Listening to the melody of this song, I almost cry ..!!

Overall, I cannot give any less than five stars for this wonderful and energetic live show. However, I would raise a flag for those of you who really an audiophile should consider twice if you wanna buy this record. The sonic quality is poor, I tell you. But for me, I don't care. This live record is a gem for me and I will treat it as precious as my other collections. It's a must have for those who love vintage prog! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#133859)
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars To describe this as a bootleg is wrong as the tape was off the soundboard and belonged to Blinky.

The sound quality is reasonable good throughout, although not super. Even so what you get is an utterly indispensible live document, of one of Prog's shortest lived super groups.

Of course people are going to draw comparisons with the Nice, and indeed at times there are moments that sound very Nice like. Hardly surprising, But Blinky never played this fast with Emerson, and Jackson's bass playing seems to have come on leaps and bounds in the few years between the demise of the Nice and Refugee.

What a great band, and what a shame we only have this and the studio album to listen to now.

The only minus is Lee's vocals, which were never strong, but are mostly acceptable. Technically Moraz is a better keyboard player than Emerson, although maybe just a little less lyrical. Even so he is awesome on this record, as on the brilliant studio album. The good news is that you can buy a 2 disc version of the recording with the Refugee album, at a very reasonable price.

If you do not yet own this, and are a fan of either the Nice or ELP, then really this should be your next purchase because it is awesome. 5 star music, but I will dock 1 star to take into account the less than perfect sound quality. Even so essential for all fans of symphonic prog.

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Send comments to burgersoft777 (BETA) | Report this review (#660584)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars To say the sound quality of Refugee's live album is rough is an understatement- it is almost like a bootleg. But that could have been swiftly forgiven had this group performed as a purveyor of instrumentals. Honestly, Billy Bob Thornton's character from Slingblade sing progressive rock just doesn't work. Lee Jackson's throaty, gritty, hoarse vocals (just listen to "The Diamond Hard Blue Apples of the Moon") make me wonder if I should burst out laughing or run screaming from the room. His grating nasal buzzing is worse than what I could hear at a karaoke bar after midnight; it's so terrible I cannot imagine why anyone would praise it. I can't listen to it with a straight face. A proper singer with a pleasant voice or the absence of a singer altogether would have complemented the music far more appropriately. The bass playing is generally solid, although the keyboards and drums overshadow it most of the time. Speaking of keyboards, I desperately want to spray WD-40 on whatever that "rusty bicycle" sound is that runs throughout much of "Papillon," and some of the cheesy extraterrestrial keyboard tones are dreadful. These criticisms notwithstanding, this is an album of interest for those fond of experimental, organ and synthesizer-driven symphonic progressive rock, and Patrick Moraz demonstrates an incredible presence and prowess throughout the concert as a musician.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#721366)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Refugee were a short-lived project by any measure, which I suppose explains why the sound quality on this solitary live album of theirs is so mediocre - with so few gigs to their name and not a whole lot of confidence from their record company (who passed up the chance to get a 2nd album from them), I guess we're lucky any of their concerts were recorded at all. The track list begins with "Outro" - yes, we're coming into the thing mid-flow, proper bootleg style - and the sound quality remains highly variable across the album's running time.

Refugee's live set consists of a mash-up of the band's original compositions and various old songs from The Nice, which doesn't exactly help counteract the notion that Brian Davison and Lee Jackson were treating Refugee as a way of continuing The Nice by other means. The original material is captured better on their sole studio album, and Moraz' talents would found better use in Yes after he jumped ship, so the album is really solely for hardcore Refugee fans who are desperate to own all the official releases from the band - and how many people are head-over-heels for Refugee in the first place? Not many, I'd wager. Some CD editions of the debut album include this material as a bonus, but if you already have the debut and the original releases by The Nice I wouldn't put the effort into tracking this down if I were you. because you've already got all this material in greatly superior quality renditions.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#906015)
Posted Monday, February 04, 2013 | Review Permalink

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