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Pendragon Once Upon A Time In England Volume 2 album cover
2.46 | 41 ratings | 4 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Time For A Change (3:55)
2. Last Bus Back (2:08)
3. The Mask (3:51)
4. Whalespeak (3:03)
5. No More Tricks (3:47)
6. I Walk The Rope (4:28)
7. Holiday 89 (1:59)
8. Victims Of Life (6:43)
9. More Than Just Freedom (4:12)
10. Whispered Words (3:00)
11. Sleep (2:37)
12. Oriental Man (3:54)
13. Valleys (1:44)
14. The Black Knight (10:20)
15. Son Of Sun (4:12)

Total Time: 59:51

Line-up / Musicians

Various but including Nick Barrett, Peter Gee, Clive Nolan, Nigel Harris, Robert Dalby and John Barfield

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
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PENDRAGON Once Upon A Time In England Volume 2 ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (27%)
Poor. Only for completionists (15%)

PENDRAGON Once Upon A Time In England Volume 2 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
3 stars PENDRAGON is releasing 2 CDs containing archive material together with some other rarities. Vol. 1 is given away gratis when you subscribe to the fan club "The Mob". As usual when bands are releasing archive albums it's quite often that the recordings are poor, so are the quality of most of the material on these two CDs. The highlights on Vol. 2 are "Time for A Change" and "The Mask", both from a time when PENDRAGON consisted of just Nick Barrett and Peter Gee, and the two classics "Victims of Life" and "The Black Knight". Overall the sound quality is slightly better on Vol. 2; it's also my favourite of these two CDs. The artwork as well as the CD booklets are very nice and informative, complete with the PENDRAGON story and loads of archive photos. Both releases are quite interesting if you (like me) have heard PENDRAGON's entire back-catalogue. Yet you can question whether these releases are necessary or not. If you're a die-hard PENDRAGON fan they surely are justified, but if you haven't heard PENDRAGON before, they have put out many great albums that you could get instead of these ones.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Home cooking

The second of two albums which gather together tracks which have not previously appeared on official Pendragon album releases. They are in the main taken from the period prior to their first EP in 1984 and first album in 1985. Long term keyboard player and song writing contributor Clive Nolan is therefore absent from these recordings, as is drummer Fudge Smith.

As might be expected from such a release, the material included is somewhat variable, ranging from the occasional rare diamond to the those which would have been better left unearthed. This however is slightly the better of the two collections bearing the "Once upon a time in England" name.

At times, the feel of the music is best described as immature in Pendragon terms, occasionally bordering on the amateur. There are the odd hints of the sophistication which was to come, but the listener does have to show a considerable level of commitment in order to seek them out. Most of the tracks on this second collection are private recordings by Nick Barrett, he being the sole performer on a number of the tracks. To that extent, while they are part of the history of the band, it is somewhat misleading to label them as Pendragon songs.

The standout track (by far) is the 10 minute epic "The black knight". This early crowd pleaser stands up well against much of Pendragon's later work, being a solid piece of neo-prog. The version on this album was recorded by the Barrett/Harris/Burnefield/Gee line up in 1983, for BBC radio's Friday Rock show.

Other tracks which also sound good include: "I walk the rope" (a version of which later appeared on "Kowtow"), a softer ballad with some nice sax played by someone who is named only as "Patsy ?". "Victims of life", another Friday rock show track which has echoes of post Gabriel Genesis, as does "More than just freedom" which has something of a prog structure. "Whalespeak" is a pleasant guitar and string synth piece performed by Barrett alone.

Of historical interest, "No more tricks", on which Barrett sounds like Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention(!), became "Higher circles" on "The jewel" album. "Son Of Sun" (another Nick solo recording from 1979) contributed to parts of "Dune" and "Sister Bluebird" from the 1994 EP "Fallen Dreams and Angels". Of little interest are tracks such as "Whispered words", "Sleep", "Oriental man" and "Valleys", consecutive tracks recorded and performed by Barrett alone in the late 70's which might have been better left undisturbed.

Once again, the informative sleeve notes include background details for each of the tracks, plus the same band biography which appears in volume 1. Nice sleeve design too.

A more worthwhile collection that volume 1, especially in view of the inclusion of "the black knight", but strictly for fans and collectors only.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Several songs (six as such, and two partially) from this pre-Pendragon collection of songs will make their entry on later works of the band. This recording will please Pendragon maniacs (as I am) but I'm afraid that newbies won't be turned into a fan while listening to these songs.

Some of these belong to their poppish repertoire as "Time For A Change" and "The Mask" (both on what I consider as their weakest album by far : "Kowtow"). On their first excercise "Once Upon Volume One" I mentioned that the vocals were particularly poor. This will be avoided on the second volume, fortunately.

"Whalespeak" is a nice and spacey instrumental track featuring great backing keys and a good guitar solo. The romantic Pendragon aspect is already featured here. But songs as "No More Tricks" and "More Than Just Freedom" are really childish and poorly recorded. "Holiday 89" can only be considered as a short interlude.

Pendragon was rather disreet on the front of new studio albums those days. Between "Masquerade" (1996) and "Believe" (2005) they will only release one album with new material : "Not of this World". So, to keep the fans a bit awake, the band will output lots of live and compilation albums.

My two preferred songs (but they are well known) are "Victims Of Life" and "The Black Knight" of course. They belong to the classic Pendragon repertoire and oustand easily on this album. This version of "The Black Knight" is particularly brilliant. Much better than the one available on "9-15 Live".

The other numbers are mostly average ("Last Bus Back", "I Walk The Rope", "Sleep", "Valleys") to poor ("Oriental Man")

Even if this album is better than the first volume, my overall rating will be the same. It is rather difficult to consider this work higher than two stars. Maybe that five out of ten would have been more appropriate while only three for volume one. But due to the limitation of the current rating system, both will end up with two stars.

Review by Warthur
2 stars If you liked the first volume you'll like the second one in this series; if you haven't heard it, then be aware that this is an archival release which was originally compiled with the Pendragon fan club in mind. The production is not brilliant on some of the tracks, there's the occasional tape error, and there's the occasional odd decision when it comes to the running order (why isn't The Black Knight at the end?), but if you're keen on Pendragon and want early, unreleased material then you're in luck. That said, anyone interested in exploring Pendragon's output prior to "The World" should get The Jewel or 9:15 Live before they resort to this.

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