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Paladin - Paladin CD (album) cover

PALADIN

Paladin

Crossover Prog


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars No "Charge"

Paladin's first album has always lived in the shadow of it's magnificent successor "Charge". It doesn't take long to realise that this is rightly the case. "Paladin" certainly has indications that the band were capable of producing some really good music, but unfortunately overall it fails to deliver.

The opening track, "Bad times" has some fine organ work by Pete Soley, but is let down by some average vocals (which would have benefited from more imaginative production), and some inappropriate Osibisa like percussion.

"Dance of the cobra", a reasonable instrumental track, is ruined by a lengthy drum solo from Keith Webb, the absolute low point of the album.

"Third world" indulges in a form of rap, long before that style became popular, predating even Aerosmith's "Walk this way" by some years.

"Flying high" is a softer piece, an early hint of "Mix your minds with the moonbeams" which would appear on the next album. Lyrically it's rather twee, but probably the best still track, with some more excellent organ work.

Paladin made one great album before they folded, unfortunately they also made this one!

Report this review (#32393)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I don't think this is as bad as the other reviewer said it was. It has flaws and lacks direction..YES...but it tosses a lot of ideas around and overall, is an innovative cd with art rock leanings at the forefront and hard rock, world music and yes..even rap in the background. The drum solo was a no go, but the swirling organ adds nice effects. Or maybe i just like the organ. either way this is a decent cd with some nice ideas...some implented well while others fell flat on their faces. but having no direction isn't as bad as a flaw as some people say it is some of the time. this is one of those times. check this out if you know the genre of prog well and want something new.
Report this review (#49919)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I actually like this record. Maybe its not up to the standard of the later "Charge" but it has plenty of ideas and makes up for it faults by sounding enthusiastic. Always a second division outfit Paladin never got the kind of support reserved for bands like YES. The Organist is a fine musician but the vocalist is second rate poor at times. Bad-times is a worthy first cut and to be honest there are no real howlers on this LP at all. The art work is a little dull, which is a shame. The production is OK even good by the standard of the time. My favorite cut is Dance of the Cobra, which has a fine Drum solo (an acquired taste perhaps). Otherwise this is pretty much what you would expect prog rock that is neither truly dreadful or partially inspiring. Has this record had a cd release yet ? I suspect not and because of that it remains a mid priced rarity sought after by those who own the excellent "charge". It doesnt compare well with Charge but then few records from that period by less well known bands do. If you can find a copy and love "charge" I would recommend this because it aint that bad.
Report this review (#92046)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars From the band's name one should expect something different than a possible soundtrack for Starsky and Hutch. This is what the first half of "Bad Times" reminds to. It's not so bad when compulsive percussions give to Peter Soley the possibility to place a very good even if very dated organ solo. Shaft meets Wishbone Ash ? Let's see what comes after...

"Carry Me Home" is a country-rock song. Crosby, Stills and Nash with a Lynyrd Skynyrd piano. Nice, everything but original in any case. Have they been at Woodstock, maybe?

A 7 minutes track...something progressive is coming? Well, it's not bad music. I can keep it in my headphones while I'm working...but we are still on the chords of a police movie of the early 70s. A samba tempo on which the electric guitar plays an unoriginal solo. It's like a tribute to Santana that doesn't go anywhere. Just three chords for the guitarist to have fun. Half of the song is so. The second half is a jazzistic drum solo. Ok, this guy can play drums. Is it a mambo now? 3 minutes of Santana like guitar and 3 of drums solo plus a coda.

Samba again with "Third World". A guy speaks of politics over the sound of percussions. An ancestor of Rap. The lyric is about the chronicles of the years to come (in 1971). Interesting as subject. One minute of piano as coda.

"Fill Up Your Heart" is another funky track. Nice but nothing special again. The central instrumental part is one of the most progressive thing of this album.

A surprise..."Flying High" may be a Caravan track. The first British thing on an American album. The choir in the chorus sounds quite hippie, but it's not outplaced. Very, very Caravan.

The closer track "The Fakir" wants to have an oriental flavour as the title says, but it's just repetitive and it lacks of inventive. An attempt to be psychedelic, maybe. An idea that could have been developed better.

In few words, this musicians are skilled, but the album is very immature. It's like they have recorded what they had at the moment. The various tracks don't lead to any place and all I can say is that the band is promising but this is no more than a collection of disconnected promos.

I know from PA that their following albums are good enough, but I would have left this one in the closet of the Bronze label.

Not for sale.

Report this review (#362463)
Posted Friday, December 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars In the late 60s and early 70s when most bands were looking to the English musical world for inspiration, there were the occasional few examples of the opposite being true. Although emerging from the village of Arlingham in the Gloucestershire region of SW England, PALADIN were getting much of their inspiration from the other side of the Atlantic all the while garnering attention through a series of tours up and down the English countryside and finally winning over Island Records with live performances alone. The band released their eponymous debut in 1971 with critical acclaim for their eclectic incorporations of many of the sounds that had caught the Americas by storm around the same period including Afro-Cuban rhythms, jazzy rock fusion, psychedelia, ethnic embellishments and most of all solid strong catchy hooks that had all the addicting popular music attributes even upon first listen. The band consisted of only five members but many doubled up on their instrumental duties which gives this debut release quite the variation in sounds that lead you to believe that you are listening to a compilation album instead of one that is performed by the same band for its seven tracks.

Right from the beginning track 'Bad Times' it's obvious that PALADIN was very much influenced by Santana with some tight percussion that sounds like it could've been lifted off of 'Black Magic Woman,' however that's only true with the percussive drive as the slightly jazzy rock groove reminds me more of Steely Dan and other crossover jazz rock artists of the decade. Wasting no time deviating from a single style the second track makes you think that somehow a Lynyrd Skynyrd track was somehow mistakenly inserted between tracks, however despite sounding like Alabama's greatest contribution to Southern Rock, this retro sound actually came out two years before Skynyrd's debut album. Following the trend of no two tracks sounding even remotely alike, 'Dance Of The Cobra' emerges as a strange hybrid of 60s psychedelia with the Afro-Cuban Santana influenced percussion section that is augmented by bantering organ runs and a jazz-rock laden groove that could've rocked the Copacabana only with a touch of 60s stonerism oozing out of the mystic musical cracks. Most surprisingly is how it morphs into a heavier rock section and then commences with an over-the-top drum solo that builds to a staggering feat of stamina that sounds like something that would be perfect in a live performance setting but feels sort of strange on a studio album track. Once it ends it is replaced by a super groovy bass line that cedes to some outstanding guitar work that usher the longest track of the album to completion.

'Third World' is yet another complete left turn. While the Cuban percussion section is still in effect, it is the only musical section to be heard as the vocalist actually sort of raps around it going through each year of the 70s with clever little lyrical tales of how the future will unfold as the backing vocalists engage in an energetic call-and-response session. The lyrical style kind of reminds me of Debbie Harry on 'Rapture.' It concludes as the vocals stop and a piano run steals the show and fades out. 'Fill Up Your Heart' is an uplifting little positive number that sounds like a jazz laced rocker that probably sounds most like Steely Dan. 'Flying High' changes things up completely again. This one sounds like a late 70s AOR ballad! It reminds me of some of the sappiest of the sappy like something 10CC did at their poppiest or even something Hall & Oates would have cranked out during their pop charts run. And just when i have absolutely no idea where this album will go next, it takes yet another totally opposite approach and ends with the Lalo Schifrin cover track 'The Fakir' which of all things some sort of Middle Eastern groovy trance inducing number with seducing Arabesque musical scales that make me feel like i've woken up on the Silk Road!

This really has to be one of THE most unfocused albums of the early 70s. I've never heard so many genres and styles of music mixed and alternated together at least until Mr Bungle came along in the 90s! While i find this album very pleasing to listen to, it is a mixed bag for several reasons. All of the tracks are really well done for their retrospective styles but for some reason all this eclecticism feels a little hollow since the band is merely copying different styles and not really simmering them down into something tangibly their very own. The album comes across as a smorgasbord sampling of what the era had to offer with a few original twists and turns that do take me by surprise. After all is said and done, i actually like listening to this despite it not being the most original sound ammalgation of the era. The musicians are all quite talented and the compositions are quite catchy and are excellent representations of the styles they incorporate however as much as i enjoy listening to PALADIN's debut there is no denying that it simply regurgitates the swath of sonic samplings that were en vogue during the era and something just seems off and missing from the mix.

3.5 but rounded down because there's not really anything progressive on this one

Report this review (#1707258)
Posted Saturday, April 1, 2017 | Review Permalink

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