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TRACTOR

Tractor

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Tractor Tractor album cover
3.41 | 24 ratings | 3 reviews | 4% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. All Ends Up
2. Little Girl In Yellow
3. The Watcher
4. Ravenscroft's 13 Bar Boogie
5. Shubunkin
6. Hope In Flavour
7. Everytime It Happens
8. Make the Journey
9. Lady of Astorath
10. Stone Glory
11. Overture

CD bonus tracks
12. Stoney Glory
13. Lady of Astorath
14. Overture

Line-up / Musicians

- Jim Milne / guitar, bass, vocals
- Steve Clayton / drums, percussions, bass, backing vocals

Releases information

Dandelion Records DAN2310217 12" vinyl
First CD version with 3 bonus tracks,
30th anniversary CD edition with 6 Bonus tracks (one featuring Nik Turner on sax and flute)

Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the addition
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TRACTOR Tractor ratings distribution


3.41
(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
4%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
52%
Good, but non-essential (35%)
35%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

TRACTOR Tractor reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Take a little bit of Black Sabbath (mostly tempo and vocals); add some Neil Young; stir with some psych because – well, it’s the early seventies. And top it all off with some naïvely optimistic lyrics. What do you get? Well, a Tractor apparently.

Oh yeah – and some of the most striking and energetic drumming you’re likely to ever hear, especially from a band that is basically a duo. Both of them play bass as well, by the way. Very unusual.

Even though Tractor have been around for decades they are a fairly obscure band. A duo really, consisting of guitarist Jim Milne and percussionist Steve Clayton. Like I mentioned, they both play bass as well. And they both sing.

This is early seventies music in a folk tradition, so there are plenty of vocals, and since it is the early seventies there’s also plenty of psych. Mostly guitar, but also a variety of percussive instruments, most of which are unidentifiable but interesting.

This is the same group that made up The Way We Live, and in fact some of the various releases and reissues of their various albums display both band names on their labels. This was one of the early acts signed to John Peel’s Dandelion Records, and many of their records have been re-released on CD. In fact I just ordered the original ‘A Candle for Judith’ reissue and can’t wait to get my hands on it. These two guys make dynamic music, energetic and tightly arranged while still retaining that billowy feel of the freer style of early seventies music.

The band seems to have no particular sense of traditional or mold when it comes to style, moving from folk to pop to heavy psych with seamless ease. The vocals are not remarkable but fit the music quite well, and the guitar and drum arrangements are crisp and clean.

On the more ‘Sabbath’ heavy side are tracks like “All Ends Up” and the cacophonic “Make the Journey”. The band’s more folkish side comes out on tracks like “Everytime it Happens” and the almost John Denverish “The Watcher”. “Shubunkin” is an outstanding and memorable mild psych instrumental with a surprisingly melodic rhythm, and the band shows their roots with a down-and-dirty blues dirge on “Ravenscroft 13 Bar Boogie”. This CD reissue features several later tracks as well, all of which are slightly poppish in tempo but are quite pleasant nonetheless.

This is a great album, although I suppose it doesn’t quite rise to the level of outstanding. Well worth picking up if you get off on psych-tinged folk, and definitely worth listening to for Clayton’s wild and unconventional drum work. Easily three stars, and awfully close to four (but not quite). Well recommended though – most prog fans will find this to be a very decent offering from a somewhat obscure band with a small but loyal following. A solid three stars.

peace

Review by Matthew T
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Tractor were originally released on John Peel's Dandelion label and really was the follow up to The Way we Live which comprised of the members John Milne and Steve Clayton.The album was released in 1972 and the edition that I have is the recent release on the Airmail label and comes with 6 bonus tracks, 4 of them are demos

The album is comprised of 2 acoustic tracks,1 blues rock and the rest which is the better part of the album for me are the more heavier progressive tracks. John Milne plays the the lead guitar and does he like distortion which just makes this album a treat with all that fuzz sound from the guitar. He also plays bass and vocals and Steve Clayton did the drumming,keyboards,bass and flute.

The first track All Ends Up is a beauty which starts with a sound effect similar to a siren but then comes in with a hard driving beat and stays that way for most of the six and a half minutes of the tune with heaps of distortion used in the lead guitar but the playing is good and not sloppy at all. Great tune

The 2nd track is another nice progressive song which starts with an acoustic intro and then we are into it. Great lead solos and the drumming is fabulous as it is for the whole album on these songs.

Track 3 and 6 are acoustic and are pscychedelic. They are a quite good and are nice way to break up the album but they are not fantastic either but I do play them when listening to the album for the above mentioned reason.

Track4 Basically blues rock. Okay but if it had not been on the album. I would not bother chasing it up. The other 3 tracks are all in the heavier catergory with 7 being the quiter off them but the standout for me is the last one with a running time of 9 minutes which is"Make the Journey"

The songwriting is shared by both members in the band.

All in all well worth the money for an obscure band and a quite a good album but as I say to get 4 stars of me you have to want to play it again when the album finishes. This album does come very close but if in doubt as I am 3 stars is the way to go.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is the Thirtieth anniversary version of Tractor's essential album, and as well as the original album also contains a live track from Glastonbury earlier this year (yes, Jim Milne and Steve Clayton are again back playing live), a studio recording also featuring Nik Turner and four acoustic numbers from Jim Milne (two of which are songs from the main album). There are some great quotes in the press release, "They epitomise the confusion and occasional brilliance of the ear" (Uncut), or "1972 albums don't come any better than this" (Melody Maker), "Twenty years ahead of their time" (Q) or from John Peel "Jim Milne, the man responsible for some the most urgent and flowing logical guitar playing I've ever heard".

It seems somewhat strange now that many people have not heard of the band, and if it wasn't for label owner Chris Hewitt's long association with the band (he became their road manager back in 1972) the chances are there would be little of their material today. Their PA system was legendary, and was even hired by Motörhead on their 1977 tour, as well as providing sound for all of the bands at the free Deeply Dale Festivals that were organised by the band. With bands such as The Fall, Nik Turner, Frantic Elevators (featuring a young Mick Hucknall) performing and The Ruts actually coming into being at the event their place in musical history is secured.

But behind all of this is an album from 1972 that captures the spirit of that age. Yes, it is dated, extremely so in some instances, but that is now part of the appeal. They just don't make albums like this any more. There are solid slabs of distortion, combined with a Hawkwind-style intensity and space rock vision, or it can just be Jim and his guitar. There are enlightening moments of brilliance, as the mood switches such as on "Shubunkin" which has to be heard to be believed.

The release contains plenty of details and photos of the band, past and present, and for anyone interested in rediscovering forgotten gems this is a masterpiece.

Originally appeared in Feedback #71, Dec 02

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