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Ian Gillan Band

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Ian Gillan Band Scarabus album cover
2.91 | 48 ratings | 3 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Scarabus (4:53)
2. Twin Exhausted (4:08)
3. Poor Boy Hero (3:08)
4. Mercury High (3:31)
5. Pre-release (4:22)
6. Slags To Bitches (5:09)
7. Apathy (4:19)
8. Mad Elaine (4:15)
9. Country Lights (3:16)
10. Fool's Mate (4:19)

Total Time 41:20

Bonus tracks on 1989 CD release:
11. My Baby Loves Me (Live *) (9:50)

* Recorded live at the Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan, on 22 September 1977

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Gillan / lead vocals
- Ray Fenwick / guitars, vocals
- Colin Towns / keyboards, vocals
- John Gustafson / bass, vocals
- Mark Nauseef / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Cooke Key

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS 9511 (1977, UK)

CD Virgin ‎- CDVM 3 (1989, UK) Remastered by Dave Turner and Harris Greenfield with a bonus Live track previously unreleased

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy IAN GILLAN BAND Scarabus Music

IAN GILLAN BAND Scarabus ratings distribution

(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (52%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

IAN GILLAN BAND Scarabus reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars This is the third Jazz-Rock/Fusion album from Ian Gillan. Compared with Clear Air Turbulence, Scarabus is more in line with Gillan's hard rock days in Deep Purple and the songs are shorter and less elaborated. But melodically strong. The musicianship is still excellent and they again create a hard-rock-jazz-rock- crossover. Collins Towns is a great keyboard player but there is much less room for him to stretch out on this album.

Personally, I am a bigger fan of Deep Purple than I am of Jazz-Rock/Fusion in general, but this album is quite good and is even up to par with many Deep Purple albums. And perhaps this is a good starting point for Deep Purple fans to get into Jazz-Rock, but for the Jazz purists Clear Air Turbulence is without doubt the better album.

Good, but non-essential

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

This third album was released with a much more pleasant Monster artwork in North America, even if I don't really remember seeing another copy than mine, found in my then-fave second hand shop, Vortex Record, downtown Toronto. Obviously Gillan was doing something right since he was able to keep his veteran band running and on the road, but somehow with this album, it seemed inevitable that the end was near

Opening on the Purplish (Fireball-era) Scarabus, the album starts upbeat, but the next few tracks could've also been right down Purple's alley (Twin Exhausted on Who Do You..? or Mad Elaine from Machine Head) and let's face it, the whole album is pretty well that way. Scarabus certainly fails to build on Clean Air Turbulence's major progress and return on safer grounds, meaning that the talented band loses the freedom and space it had almost gained with the second album, and Towns' flute is nowhere to be heard as well. Actually, it is a bit of a shame so many tracks finish on fade-outs, because that usually where the band starts unleashing and you might actually hear the group member's wailing away into the oblivion of the fade-out. Even the bonus live track (elongated to 10 minutes) My Baby Loves Me cannot help the album shift into third gear and really get on with better things in music.

Just in case you're intrigued by this artwork I spoke above, you might want to go back to Vortex Record (no in uptown Toronto) to see if he's still got it, coz he bought it back to me a few months after I had shopped it from him. I can't see anyone else that would be interested in such a record. Definitely better than Gillan's first album on it's first side, but definitely not better than the second side or the CAT album. Best not ventured in, unless you like would-be Purple music, than it is interesting.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars The third, and last, Ian Gillan band album comes with some changes. According to guitarist Ray Fenwick Gillan was interested in getting back to a more "basic" sound, trying to skip the more jazzy and experimental elements. In other words, to give what the Deep Purple fans were expecting from him since the beginning: hard rock, shorter songs and a more melodic approach. And Scarabus is quite a big step towards that. Of course the Jazz-rock/fusion is still very well present, but the tunes are indeed much shorter, so the room for experimentation is also cut short. In the end the result is an interesting hard rock/fusion/funk hybrid. Quite good, I must say, but it would be better if the Ian Gillan band had given a little more space for soloing in a couple of tunes at least.

Listening to the album today it is clear that this kind of arrangement would not work for the period: with the rising of The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and the success of other Deep Purple off-shots who jumped into the bandwagon like Rainbow and Whitesnake, Gillan was playing something that the new audience would not relate to. Either he would assume the cult following direction of previous Clear Air Turbulence showed or he should get another band together and play the kind fo music he was famous for. He obviously chose the latter and The Ian Gillan Band was no more.

Scarabus is an interesting album, quite transitional, with several good songs and, although ramped by the shorter running time of the songs, impeccable performances by all involved, specially the brilliant keyboardist Colin Towns. More rocking than their previous efforts, this CD has many memorable moments that should not be overlooked. It was a nice surprise, although one can only imagine how far they would have gone had they followed the paths Clear Air Turbulence opened.

Rating: 3,5 stars.

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