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Walpurgis - Queen of Saba  CD (album) cover



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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I found the record in a second hand shop. I have never heard of the band before, but when I see a Pilz/Ohr release I buy it.So this one was a good surprise. The few things I found out about the group are mentioned above. The two sides of the record are quiet different. On Side One (tracks 1-4) arranged rock songs with double guitar and Jürgen Dollase from Wallenstein on organ and piano.They are good, but not very original,the best track is "Daily" with a nice piano solo by Dollase at the end. Side Two (Tracks 5-6) is the realy interesting side : two long improvisations in Westcoast style.(Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead) mainly based on the talented twin guitar play of Sokolmowski and Kalemba on electric and twelve string. As often the production of Dieter Dierks is excellent and the only weak point are the english vocals.
Report this review (#34535)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

A double guitar quintet with a flutist/percussionist that recorded their sole album in mid- 72 in the Dierks studios producing an average proggy/psychey rock album that was released latter that year on the legendary Ohr label. As with a lot of those expensive and rare records, the music is not quite all it's cracked up to be. Even with the help of Wallenstein's Jurgen Dollasse playing keyboards, Walpurgis's music has problems interesting the demanding proghead on the first side of the album. Actually, I have rarely heard such an unexciting record coming from the Dieter Dierks studios, so this might give an idea on how over-rated this album is. They sound a bit depressing (but unlike Paternoster, this is more accidental than voluntary) and the songwriting is their most glaring weakness.

Don't get me wrong, the music in itself is not bad and the album is off to a poor start: the first two tracks are downright poor (the aptly titled Disappointment and the title track and the next two (Daily and Hey you, Over There) take their sweet time to really develop, but both end well and have interesting conga play, but none actually are really exciting, just plain acceptable fillers on a good to average album.

But the album ends in a much better fashion than it started, as side two is much more enthralling with two longer tracks. The 7-min What Can I Do? is right from the first note more enthusiasting (but still not that great IMHO) than anything on the first side, even if it is clear it is the same band. With the aptly-titled (and a bit prophetic I must sadly conclude) My Last Illusion, they desperately try to throw in everything they got, and they come close, but still do not manage enough, even if the lengthy guitars solos and great percussion work are worth the hear and are almost impressive until the track stops suddenly to start slowly thereafter (a bit pointlessly) to finish a bit later. No doubt they were filling space there too. NB: this album works best at loud volume (this means a fair amount louder than reasonable), but I don't think the songwriting is good enough to take the risk to upset the people in the same building you are in.

Nothing really worthy breaking your piggy bank over, really, Walpurgis is only for those people collecting artefact of the Ohr label rare releases. Clearly this group did not have enough chops to keep going and record their second album. I may sound a bit severe, but let's face it this album did not even manage a third spin in my deck.

Report this review (#115222)
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Walpurgis is a band from Germany who didn't make it on market, both comercialy and musicaly. While here feature Wallenstein's main composer and keyboard player Jurgen Dollase, the band didn't survive in the jungle of bands from the early '70's, not because the music is realy bad but neither something special. Queen of Saba was relesed in may 1972 and for some reason didn't capture any attention by the public, quite contrary, I find this album pleasent most of the time, but is vague with what other bands done in that period. The music is something a la Wallenstein with some heavy prog here and there. Maybe the weakest point here is the voice, who many times is , at least to my ears to forced, to cold. Anyway some pieces worth mentioning like the opening track Disappointment and the longest from here My last illusion, the rest are almost mediocre, but not really bad. So i will give 2.5 round to 3, not an etirely bad album , but nothing special either, I know at least fifty bands from that year who sound miles ahead of this Walpurgis.

P.S - Beware the reissue of this album made by ZYX Music in 1999 had diffrent track arrangements than on CD. On the back cover the listner can see that the pieces are not puted like on the CD.

Report this review (#188547)
Posted Sunday, November 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars One-and-done German rock band Walpurgis had plenty going for them, but it just didn't really happen for the group in their heyday of the early Seventies. They boasted Wallenstein's keyboard player and main composer Jurgen Dollase, they fused Jane-like plodding heavy rock with West Coast bluesy psychedelic flavours to their light `krautrock' textures which should have made them quite accessible, they were signed to the legendary Ohr record label, and just look at that attractive and eye-catching front cover on their debut album! But there's several niggling factors that hold their sole LP `Queen of Saba' from 1972 back from being placed alongside the stronger German rock releases of the era, even if it's still a perfectly enjoyable listen once in a while.

Opener `Disappointment' is a mellow and subdued melodic ballad, all shimmering Hammond organ and gentle acoustic guitars chiming around warm piano with brief acid-rock electric guitar soloing popping in and out as well. The singer (unsure who it is exactly, as both guitarist Jerzy Sokolowski and drummer Manfred Stadelmann are credited to vocals) is a little flat throughout and overreaches vocally here and there, but there's a heartfelt sincerity to his (heavily accented) English reading of the romantic (but oh so awkward!) words.

There's a nice snarl to `Hey You Over There' that mixes both jangling psych-pop guitars and twirling flute with heavier dustier bluesy struts. The title-track `Queen Of Saba's chugging charging riffing, molten slow-burn guitar soloing and relentless drumming almost reminds of the earlier Eloy albums in brief moments, and the uplifting `Daily' is mellow and embracing with a reflective quality, where its flights of humming Hammond organ, dreamy extended guitar soloing passages and the agreeable piano outro makes it one of the highlights of the LP.

Once the histrionic painful vocals on the second side's `What Can I Do (To Find Myself?)' take a step back, the piece lifts into chilled skies with ringing guitars, exotic percussion and the littlest teases of dustier eastern vibes. But the centrepiece of the album is the eleven-minute closer `My Last Illusion', full of everything from sudden up-tempo fiery bursts, foot-tapping smouldering grooves and slow-building contemplative ruminations. Frequently vocal-free and highlighted by lengthy jamming soloing from all the players, twisting electric guitars vibrantly spring to life and take on a mantra-like intensity as they wind seductively with murmuring bass, the piece reminding in parts of both Jane and early Eloy once again, and the low-key mellow come-down outro ends the disc beautifully. Had the whole album been more like this, with the vocals taking a back-seat, chances are `Queen of Saba' would have ended up a much more special album than it was.

Perhaps some will feel the album is a little too straightforward, and many will likely find the weezy vocals a total breaking point, but if you can overlook those inconsistencies and pay a bit closer attention, there's plenty of cool playing and lovely qualities scattered throughout all the tracks. It will never be able to be considered among the essential German rock releases of the Seventies, but if you have all the best, Walpurgis' `Queen of Saba' helps make up the rest to enhance a collection of cool adventurous rock titles from that country.

Three stars.

Report this review (#1873772)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2018 | Review Permalink

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