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4 stars The desaprensive consideration that this execelente disc has in loving circles of progressive musicis is truely lamentable. With a vanguardista proposal without falling in the ostentatious; and with an interpretation and execution of first level, Mainhorse can be considered, next to Relayer (with Yes), the best progressive album in which Patrick Moraz has participated. Of the simple disc that it was extracted of here, More Tea Vicar, it reached to the great hearing and entrance to charts. But the album did not suffer a same fortune. The time was in charge to make justice and give the right place to this amazing album. Very recommendable.
Report this review (#31563)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Half-English ans half-Swiss - my vinyl considers only four members , the other were guests musicians - but based in Romandie , this quartet only managed one album. The music is correct early prog with heavy organs and some interesting cello moments. This is no masterpieces but rankls as one of the better things Moraz has done along with Relayer and the soundtrack of rebel movie La Salamandre. Best track is easily Pale Sky and easily one of the worst sleeve artwork in the prog genre of the times - they will be easily beaten by the second and third of Vulgar Unicorn in the late 90's.
Report this review (#31564)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Obviously a mediocre disc could be remembered because of one song, that can be the case of this album, with the song "more tea vicar". But I used more of my time and listened carefully to it. I didn't know the procedence of the members, not even their names, but that doesn't matters: the unique Mainhorse album is great, it has this incomprenssible sound of tune to tune from the elements of prog rock. I was wondering how my language teacher could know this band, living in Chile during the obscure years, but in that way he let me take a look to this band, so sad they do only one album.

Bye Osvaldo Karson

Report this review (#35454)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the band with only one album and I don't know the band after this one was released. I only knew Patrick Moraz who later formed Refugee and joined Yes, recorded Yes "Relayer". The musical concept of Mainhorse was really good as when you look at the line-up, it's a 6-piece band with multi instruments used for this record. Of course, I love the use of violin and cello as this made the band truly a unique one. I say it's unique because in terms of style, I can sense heavy influence from ELP at least on keyboard part which is reminiscent of Keith Emerson. The inclusion of violin and cello has made it different. You can hear it from the album opener "Introduction" which has a strong flavor of The Nice and ELP. Track 2 "Passing Years" is a blues-based mellow track with melodic vocal line and excellent guitar fills. "Such Beautiful Day" brings the music into a hard driving rhythm combining stunning guitar solo and keyboard plus dynamic drumming. Even though I prefer Refugee but this album is an excellent addition to any prog collection. It represented one of prog rock act in the early seventies. Please neglect the sonic quality. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Report this review (#39116)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars I wonder how many Yes fans are aware of the historical fact that once Patrick Moraz playes in the band Mainhorse? Anyway, on this album the 'Swiss poodle' delivers an impressive Hammond organ sound. The first song is "Introduction", it features fluent 'heavy progressive' with floods of Hammond organ and fiery electric guitarplay, the sound has echoes from ATOMIC ROOSTER, THE NICE and early DEEP PURPLE. The following "Passing Years" is a slow, bluesy like song with mellow organ and a bit melancholic vocals. Then again 'heavy prog' with swirling organ and biting electric guitar in "Such a beautiful day", the climate evokes THE NICE and QUATERMASS. In "Pale sky" a wailing violin and howling electric guitar colour a bluesy atmosphere, topped by strong Hammond play and dynamic drums. This song features halfway a jam with violin, guitars, electric piano, experimental sounds and a hypnotizing rhythm-section, to end with a sensitive electric guitarsolo and loads of Hammond. Next is "Basia", an up-tempo and catchy song with strong organ - and electric guitarplay, a pumping bass and cheerful vocals, halfway MAINHORSE surprises with a swinging electric pianosolo. The track "More tea vicar" contains subtle changes of rhythm, from soft jazzy to fluent heavy prog with a classical sounding organ (like EKSEPTION), assorted percussion like glockenspiel and fiery electric guitar. The final composition "God" (almost 10 minutes) is the most alternating and dynamic one with many changes of climate with Patrick MORAZ on organ and the 'Klavio- synthesizer' and strong electric guitarwork, it sounds like a blend of THE NICE and ATOMIC ROOSTER. THIS ALBUM CONTAINS THE FIRST IMPRESSIVE STEPS FROM PATRICK MORAZ AS A KEYBOARD-WIZARD!
Report this review (#39387)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I second all my fellow reviewers. Mainhorse's record is fantastic! It's a great addition to any prog music collection.As it seems, this great record was recorded in 1971, and its production isn't really good. However, they play and sing some fine progressive rock like Yes and Gentle Giant. Patrick Moraz does a fine job in this one. Recommended!
Report this review (#39724)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mainhorse is a one-off proto-prog band best known for being the starting point for Patrick Moraz's fascinating career. The sole album reveals a Deep Purple Mark I/The Nice fixation, both in terms of Peter Lockett's lead vocals and the kind of keyboard-driven storming hard rock (although there's a hint of the Hocus Pocus bridge at one point) on offer. While it's arguable that for most prog fans, the main reason to listen to this would be to hear Moraz in Jon Lord like mode, I do believe Mainhorse to be original enough to be worthy of investigation on its own right, particularly if you are partial to the 60s acid rock scene.

Most of the shorter tracks like Introduction, Such A Beautiful Day and the jazz-tinted Basia are essentially heavy blues rock numbers, with Lockett's guitar freak outs involved in exchanges with some classical organ touches from Moraz (a nifty electric piano solo in Basia as well). Elsewhere the moodier Passing Years is an excellent dreamy acoustic track, while the instrumental More Tea Vicar starts off with some nice glockenspiel before another guitar freak out takes over and some appropriately "churchy" organs brings the piece home.

The real highlights of this album however are the two 10 minute epics Pale Sky and God. The former begins life as a mellow piece featuring Jean Ristori's cello and Lockett's violin that is held together by Moraz on organ. A burst of aggression ushers in lengthy, worthy acoustic guitar and electric piano solos ... it's all top stuff. God which is slightly less focussed a composition, moves from an atmospheric Gothic intro to an anthemic electric guitar jam and then another churchy vocal part ... "God is high above me" sings Lockett before a series of thrilling yet cleverly low-key solos dominate the song. Once again it's not just Moraz's keyboard that shines.

At first I used to categorise this album alongside Quatermass' only effort, thinking it only truly essential if you're into the keyboard playing of Lord and wanted to hear someone else doing a passable imitation. I've now come to appreciate it on its own terms ... it is a lost masterpiece of psychedelic rock with more than its share of progressive moments. Take the trouble to track this one down and then to let it grow on you ... you won't regret it! ... 71% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#89832)
Posted Saturday, September 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Only one album, and it was so promising...

This is a pretty good one, with only 2 songs being not-so-good ( the second and the sixth ) and the rest average-good. I like this is good, but non-essential, yet I feel it is a good addition to any music collection. This is a 3.5 stars for me. The album starts brilliantly with a furious keyboard run, really sets the bar high for the rest of the album. The 2 long songs really shine on this album; the choruses stick in your mind and the long instrumental passages are perfect.

This albums deserves more attention, it's a really good album and the sound of the instruments is pretty good, though slightly dated...

There is a similarity in the sound with Deep Purple, mainly because of the keyboards, of which this album is full of. The singer's voice is not bad at all either, which is another strong point for this album. Definitely worth a listen to everyone who enjoys good proto-prog / rock.

Report this review (#117345)
Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Scratch the surface of early-seventies progressive rock and underneath all the classic albums and famous musicians you will find a series of lesser-known bands and artists who failed to hit the big-time but still managed to create all manner of excellent prog. Dig a little deeper and you'll find MAINHORSE, a little-known European prog-rock group who produced one excellent album and introduced the world to the enigmatic swiss-born keyboardist Patrick Moraz, who would later on find fame with both YES and THE MOODY BLUES. The eponymously-titled MAINHORSE debut was released to little fanfare in 1971 after the group had signed with Polydor Records 12-months previous, but dis-banded soon after the completion of their one-and-only album. It's a genuine shame, because it's a wonderfully constructed and highly-original seven-track album that was made at a time when groups such as YES, ELP and GENESIS had yet to find true international success. Moraz(Organ, Keyboards, Vocals) was augmented by Peter Lockett(Guitar, Violin, Vocals), Jean Ristori(Bass, Cello, Vocals) and Bryson Graham(Drums), who would later play with SPOOKY TOOTH. Moraz was the groups figurehead, composing and writing most of the music, whilst Peter Lockett contributed most of the lyrics and vocals. The style of music was un-ashamedly progressive, with multiple-keyboard and guitar solo's showing off both Moraz's and Lockett's skillful playing styles. It's also impressively original, with the group creating a unique twin-instrument attack and at the same-time avoiding sounding quite like anyone else either since or before them. But for all Moraz's brilliantly-handled moments on either the Keyboards or the Organ, it's the beautiful Passing Years, a mainly guitar-led piece which is the stand out-track with Lockett's Gilmour-esque finger-picking floating over the deliberately mysterious lyrics, creating a moment of thrilling beauty. Quite how MAINHORSE failed to make the grade will always be a slight mystery as more-and-more puzzled listeners stumble across this unique record due the groups affiliation with Moraz. One suspects that if the Swiss piano-wizard had not been involved then the album would have been consigned long-ago to the bargain basement bucket(or even deletion), but thankfully MAINHORSE is at last receiving the respect and admiration it has always deserved.
Report this review (#157474)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is what Patrick Moraz did before he formed/joined the rest of The Nice in Refugee and then jumped from this sinking ship to Yes and later The Moody Blues.

His hammond organ play comes clean through here and it is obvious that he was a great talent. He was far too big for Mainhorse. It is like David Beckham playing in the US Soccer League. Mainhorse's music is a blend of The Nice (which Moraz later joined under the name Refugee, remember) and Deep Purple, Mark I. The dynamics in Mainhorse's music is very much Deep Purple. The hammond organ and the vocals is The Nice.

The music has a lot of guitars (think Mr. Blackmore) in addition to Patrick Moraz's excellent use of a hammond organ. The album has the feel of Proto-Prog/Symphonic Prog from the late 1960s and early 1970s. A positive in my book. The songs are not that good though. But despite of the ghastly artwork (which has banished this album from my living room for good) this is a good album. Regard it as a must-have if you are more than average interested in The Nice/Refugee. This album deserve the recognition it was denied when it was released.

3.25 stars

Report this review (#256382)
Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Delicious package from a typical but hugely talented heavy symph group that exemplified the craving in 1971 for both loud rawk and real music, and did justice to this band's first inception from two years earlier, the fledgling Integral Aim/Mainhorse Airline. Of course when players as Pat Moraz and Jean Ristori are involved, results will be predictably pleasing. Though some will hear distinct returns of ELP, it must be noted this band was doing the same equally exciting stuff in '69 [available as The Geneva Tapes] when Greg Lake and Keith Emerson were still just flirting with each other and in fact this dazzling outfit may have partly influenced that supergroup, not the other way 'round.

The comparisons are futile though, as this material shows more affection for the kind of let-it-all-out heavyblues of Jeff Beck Group, Faces or Zeppelin, tempered and enhanced by Moraz's commanding organs and Ristori's cello. Spitfire staccato organ riffs for the 'Introduction' with Patrick insisting we "get it together" as the boys tear it up, drawn down by a demifugue before the crashing finish. The songwriting skills of David Kubinec show up in Integral Aim bit 'Passing Years', moody and blue with a heroin John Lennon vocal. Bracing 'Such a Beautiful Day' is more prog than its meager pop arrangement suggests, sewn together with some English Beat, Ristori's overdriven low E, and Bryson Graham's extraordinary big jazz drums filling the place with thunder. Sprawler 'Pale Sky' is a solid centerpiece at ten minutes; bold shifts in time, interesting breaks that verge on space but never quite leave the atmosphere, and pleasant echoes of Steve Miller and a young Greg Lake. Very good up-tempo 'Basia', odd bossa nova 'More Tea Vicar', and 60s hard-psych in 'God' with some nice moments for guitarist Peter Lockett.

One of those records wherein the seasoned rock listener immediately recognizes why it was so good and unsuccessful, and why music that failed to capture a rock market splitting between grain whiskey and good wine can be savored decades later like an aged single-cast bourbon. Recommended.

Report this review (#454958)
Posted Monday, May 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Of most interest to Prog fans is probably that Patrick Moraz is playing organ on this album.The guy is flat out amazing, no doubt about that. I really like the guitar on this one too.This is a fairly heavy rocking album from Switzerland and I agree with Hugues that the album cover is pretty bad.

"Introduction" opens with Moraz establishing his presence right away. Man he simply lights it up on the organ here. We do get some ripping guitar at times as well. An uptempo rocker to start. They slow it down for "Passing Years" with floating organ and reserved vocals. A laid back tune with light drums and bass. It does get a little fuller with guitar and piano.

"Such A Beautiful Day" opens with a drum solo then this fuzzed out guitar before vocals and the 60's sounding backing vocals arrive.The guitar and organ come to the fore when the vocals stop.When the vocals return the tempo picks up. Contrasts continue between the vocal and non-vocal sections. "Pale Sky" kicks in with drums, organ and guitar just before a minute. Reserved vocals follow as it settles.The drums and guitar lead before 3 minutes and we get some violin too before 6 minutes. It kicks back in as contrasts continue. "Basia" is my favourite track. It's uptempo with strummed guitar, bass, organ and drums.Vocal melodies then vocals join in. Piano 2 minutes. Guitar after 3 1/2 minutes then that earlier uptempo soundscape returns.

"More Tea Vicar" opens with organ then it settles into a loungy mood. It's building and guitar comes in before 1 1/2 minutes with organ, bass and drums. "God" like "Pale Sky" is over 10 minutes long. It's experimental to start before it kicks in with the guitar outfront before 2 minutes.Vocals before 4 minutes. Is that fuzzed out keys before 6 minutes? Vocals are back. It speeds up during the final minute then ends with an explosion.

A definite heavy organ / guitar album with a strong Proto-Prog flavour.The sound quality is typical from this period I suppose, kind of muddy. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#488632)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I had never heard of this one off album until a friend showed me a few days ago. It seems that its only claim to fame is the fact that Mainhorse was the vinyl debut of a young Patrick Moraz. And it shows: his organ laying is definitely the highlight of this CD. This Swiss band (actually, half Swiss, since two members were englishmen) played a kind of heavy prog quite common at the time, so it is little wonder why it made no impact at all at the musical scene of the period. Please, don´t get me wrong: the music here is quite good, with obvious influences of early Deep Purple, Traffic and Atomic Rooster. On the odd side we have a bass player who also plays cello on some parts.

Although the compositions have nothing too original it is interesting to see the band had real potential to grow, since that sometimes their arrangements are clever and outstanding, showing how far they could go if they stayed together e improved their sound. But, alas, this was not meant to be. So what was left is a good heavy prog album with a few hints of symphonic rock. All the musicians are good and the production is adequate for the time. Moraz does a fine job sounding a lot like Vincent Crane. There are no fillers to be found. The best track is the 10 minute Pale Sky, a real gem.

If you like those aforementioned bands, you can go no wrong with this one. Mainhorse was a fine band that never had the chance to live up to their promising start. But the album is well worth to have it.

Rating: 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1596227)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2016 | Review Permalink

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