Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Dr. Z - Three Parts To My Soul CD (album) cover


Dr. Z

Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
4 stars One of the great, lost prog rock albums, Dr. Z's "Three Parts to My Soul" ended up being one of the rarest albums on the "swirl" Vertigo label, with only 80 copies said to exist. Luckily it was reissued many times, starting with Second Battle in Germany, Si- Wan in Korea, Universal in Japan, and most recently Akarma in Italy. Most of these reissues replicate the original gimmick cover (a die-cut fold-out cover not unlike ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery").

Dr. Z was lead by North Wales university professor Keith Keyes, who handles keyboards (harpsichord, piano, organ), as well as vocals, with Bob Watkins on drums, and Rob Watson on bass. This is another album, like BLACK WIDOW's "Sacrifice", that featured lyrics that flirted with the occult in a prog rock setting. Here Keyes had the idea that in the afterlife, your soul is divided in to three parts, with a Latin term to each, Spiritus, Manes et Umbra. Spiritus was the soul that goes to heaven, Manes is the soul that's damned to Hell, and Umbra being the soul that stays on Earth to eternally haunt. There are some people who don't think this album is particularly good. OK, so don't expect polished YES/GENESIS-influenced prog here. What you get is early British prog, dominated mainly by harpsichord, with occult lyrics and very peculiar vocals, trying to sound "evil". The production isn't the greatest in the world, although it was produced by Patrick Campbell-Lyons of NIRVANA (the late '60s/early '70s UK band that is, hardly the Kurt Cobain-led grunge band everyone knows of).

"Evil Woman's Manly Child" is said to be a reverse of the Ten Commandments. Here you get two voices, a whispered voice and a sung voice. This is truly one of the album's many high points. "Spiritus, Manes et Umbra" could almost sound like a hit if things worked out a bit different for the band (and of course, rid of the drum solo). It's such a catchy little song. "Summer For the Rose" shows some psychedelic elements, showing how in 1971, the 1960s hadn't totally vanished. "Burn in Anger" is a piano-dominated ballad that truly screams 1971, while "Too Well Satisfied" is one of those cheesy songs with lots of appeal. "In a Token of Despair" is the closing ballad, regarding the spirit that haunts the Earth. The entire album has that theatrical quality. Many of the reissues come with two bonus cuts, "Lady Ladybird" and "People in the Street", which was released as a single back in 1970 on Fontana. What's really interesting about these two cuts, written by Keith Keyes as on "Three Parts to My Soul", is you will find absolutely no signs of occult subject matters in these two songs. "Lady Ladybird" is a pretty cheery number. "People in the Street" on the other hand sounds too much like straight-up pop, lacking the charm of "Lady Ladybird". But for "Three Parts to My Soul", this might not to be everyone's taste, but I like the album, regardless what might be said.

Report this review (#31955)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

One of those much acclaimed and unfortunately over-rated lost 70's gem. Original vinyl (very original actually) with the cut-out and fold-out cover go for major amounts of money! A very beautyful artwork sleeve involving a full blown concept of Tibetan nature (if I remember this well , for I have not heard this in over 15 years) about the different states of consciousness/soul .

Fellow reviewer above mentions Black Widow and Campbell-Lyonns"s Nirvana as a comparison and it is very judicious but I would add also a bit of Gravy Train and a touch of Gracious! So we are definitely in proto-prog territory and this is not that polished a work either. Rather uneven songwriting and limited instruments make this album sometimes a bit patchy but overall this album is a minor gem because most of us progheads are bound to like these long and rather psychey KB solos.

Most coolectioners would kill and sell mother and father to own a mint copy of this album, but I would strongly suggest prospective progheads to get a listen to the CD release (before buying it) and forget the vinyl. Good but not essential!

Report this review (#31957)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
mystic fred
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars SPIRITUS, MANES ET UMBRA! Very unusual, one of the most unusual LP's i have ever heard actuallly! and that's saying something after 40 years proggin'!

"Three Parts To My Soul" is an album of mainly harpsichord based music, fresh, full of colour, no guitars apart from bass, (sounding very much like a psyche album from 1967 ), which may have contributed to its failure to sell more than 80 copies in the hammond/guitar-orientated musical landscape of 1971. This is one of many "lost" albums from this period recently reissued by companies such as Akarma in its original vinyl gatefold splendour, this particularly attractive triple-fold sleeve was designed by Barney Bubbles, who worked with Hawkwind and designed their "In Search of Space" album cover, which sold many more copies than "Three Parts To My Soul". I had heard stories about this legendary album over the years, including an article on the Vertigo label in "Record Collector" magazine at some time. I was intrigued by the MP3 sample on PA, "Evil Woman's Manly Child" , and I eventually managed to get hold of an Akarma vinyl reissue (not a very long 'honeymoon' period i know!) and wasn't at all disappointed, the sound quality is very very good and the three musicians, Professor Keith Keyes, Bob Watkins and Rob Watson play enthusiastically, with conviction, and very well considering this was basically supposed to be an ad hoc group, i don't know if they did much live work, i can't seem to find much history about Dr.Z at all .

But to the music, the description from the album sleeve is as follows - "The basis of the record is the concept of the division of the soul into three - the Spiritus, which represents the inherent good side of Man, the side of beauty, gentleness and goodness; the Manes or the part of the soul which inhabits the underworld, more benevolent than malevolent but mixing with the damned; and lastly the Umbra, the shade of the soul which refuses to leave the earth, and stays to haunt the world." ...and so on...sounds like a "damned " good hammer horror story to me!! The first track "Evil Woman's Manly Child" is an upbeat song with a great santana-style rhythm, grisly vocals (would sound great on a modern heavy metal album) and is one of my favourite tracks on the album. This is followed by a heartbeat intro to "Spiritus, Manes et Umbra", nearly 12 minutes, a very 60's sounding chorus chanting the song title, plenty of echoed atmosphere here, very spooky, then the song shifts into a fairly basic but good drum solo introduced by interplay with small tom toms then the full kit, very enjoyable for lovers of drum solos but not groundbreaking, though it has some exciting cozy powell style beats! The next track "Summer for the Rose" is not the best on the album but essential to the 'story'...." This song expresses man's (the singer's) knowledge, whilst alive, of the beautiful things on earth (the rose), his love for his Maker, and especially his love for his fellow men. Yet he is always aware too of his potential for evil and his need for redemption (Kyrie eleison - Lord have pity on me)." This song is followed by the sound of a gong and an almost genesis-sounding flute intro to "Burn in Anger", a slow, beautiful atmospheric song despite its title, then the middle section livens the song up. The flute drifts in at the end of the song, very short which is a shame i feel they could have done more with this.

Side 2 kicks off with a dramatic "harpsi-chord" introduction to "Too Well Satisfied", shows the singer, "now in the world of the damned, becoming increasingly disillusioned with his former life as he lived on earth" ( i think we all feel like that sometimes!), sounds a bit like some punk rock songs i've heard. This song ends with a rather stagey (nuclear?) bomb sound, leading into the 'last' track "In a Token of Despair", a rather gloomy atmospheric song which represents "Umbra", "the shade that must haunt the earth, with only dissatisfaction and the fear of judgement that pervades the singer's soul "- tell me about it, mate, we've all been there! Distant lonely voice on this one, and mostly piano, with a harpsichord solo. At ten minutes long, includes some nice backing vocals, great "Arthur Brown" style lead vocal and piano/bass/drums interplay.

The bonus tracks included on this copy are two short tracks not included on the original album "Lady Ladybird" and "People in the Street", which are more traditional early sixties style songs with honky tonk tinkling piano, rather poppy, and not near the standard of the main album. Perhaps they should have left these off, they do nothing for the main album at all, which i found very unusual, entertaining and highly underrated. Some may find it rather strange, but the music is fantastic, there are some some brilliant and original ideas, rhythms and melodies. although it may appear simple on first hearing, repeat listenings reveal many amazing facets of this unique album. in my opinion i would say based on the aforementioned qualities and its originality and uniqueness, possibly years ahead of its time,"Three Parts To My Soul" is a very enjoyable listen, i would happily call this an essential masterpiece of art rock!

Report this review (#78712)
Posted Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of these lost classics from the early seventies. Originals would now set you back Ł400+ should you chance on a copy. Maybe not worth that price tack, but thats what the re-issues are there for!

Definately one of the most unique sounding prog albums of the 70's. Whilst the Keyboard- Bass-Drum format can be fairly common in this era, this band mainly uses the harpsicord, an instrument only used as an occasional feature for many others. Doomy and almost menacing atmospheres are created on top of a tribal sounding rhythm section. The interplay between these musicians sound almost sloppy at times, but the fact that the compositions are so individual, makes up for this.

Kind of a concept album, the lyrics deal with human soul, birth, life, death. Really unsure how seriously the band were taking themselves as in my opinion it can get rather of-the- wall.

I recommend this album purely on the basis that you will not have heard anything like it before.

Report this review (#103929)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink

Interesting Savage Prog. This concept album is based in the three parts to my soul (ouch... that title... ouch) "Spiritus, Manes Et Umbra". Considered another satanic album is in truth a philosophical trip in a man's mind. The music is based in a... Boogie version of Deep Purple because dominated from the keyboards of keith Keyes. The structure are extreme simply: savage, primitive and boogie. But isn't hard the sound. Piano, harpsichord and sweet organ doninates the songs with a perfect percussive work of Bob Watkins. In my opinion this album is perfect for a reflective moments, when you are wicked and you want to vent your thoughts and your mind. But in a musical review approach... Hey, isn't impossible to describe this album because if you not noted the relation with mind section... You don't will be able to understand the concept of the album and the same music.

Report this review (#138908)
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion an album that never got the recognition it deserved.Dr.z was formed by keith keyes.A university professor in northern wales with bassist rob watson ,and drummer bob watkins.The album is keyboard driven rock at its finest with keith working well on harpischord,organ and piano.The concept of the album is based on the three parts of a human soul.Spiritus the soul that goes to heaven,Manes the soul thats doomed to burn in hell,and umbras the soul that stays on earth to eternally haunt.All in all this album is truly a unique expirience that i recommend to for everyone looking for something diffrent.
Report this review (#153189)
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Three Parts to my Soul" is the debut and sole full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Dr. Z. The album was released in 1971 by Vertigo. The original version is a rare find (apparently only 80 copies were sold to the public while the rest were destroyed by the record company), but "Three Parts to my Soul" has been re-issued on CD several times and is more readily available in that form.

After listening to "Three Parts to my Soul" it´s quite obvious it´s a very unusual progressive rock album from the early seventies. First of all the vocals from Keith Keyes are pretty aggressive for the time (when they are most aggressive it sounds like Johnny Rotten joined the band) and his lyrics feature occult themes. Note the eerie whispering background singing in "Evil Woman's Manly Child". That sounds like evil incarnate if you ask me. Creepy stuff.

The music is centered around Keith Keyes demented vocals and his Hapsichord playing which I´ll come flat out and say I think are fantastic. Highly rythmic and quite unusual sounding. He also plays piano and organ. The rythm section is really great too. Just listen to the drums in "Spiritus, Manes et Umbra". Some pretty wild things going on in that track.

The musicians are very competent and I think the production and sound quality are very good. On the original album only featured 6 tracks but the version I own features two bonus tracks. The first bonus track "Lady Ladybird" is allright but nothing special while the second bonus track "People in the Street" really don´t work very well. The 6 original tracks are excellent though and I can highly recommend "Three Parts to my Soul" to fans of the darker side of early seventies progressive rock. 4 stars are well deserved.

Report this review (#160785)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Probably if I were to read in Dr. Z a serious attempt to make me laugh. So I have to make a careful examination of what I'm listening to, not without difficulty.

I had serious doubts that an album like this could have had such success. Since it was not successful, I must say that "Three Parts To My Soul" is a magnificent album. Let's be clear right away: If "Three Parts To My Soul" was successful, much of its appeal would fail, because that would be a seminal album. So, thanks to an unfortunate (not to have been successful), we are here to get your hands on a cult album, Dark Rock example, like many other albums of the 70's. Musically "Three Parts To My Soul" is an album of simple and modest in the research of rhythms and sound: a primordial rock dominated by harpsichord. Which is good, reading the topics covered in the lyrics. Certainly this fact is good for the album. Not for the single, bonus track in CD versions of "Three Parts To My Soul". In fact these two songs are pure Rock and not dark or similar.

In definitive "Three Parts To My Soul" is a great cult album and for this fact is also today a fresh and granitic album.

Report this review (#614366)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permalink

DR. Z Three Parts To My Soul ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of DR. Z Three Parts To My Soul

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives