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Accolade Accolade album cover
3.84 | 23 ratings | 2 reviews | 4% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Maiden Flight Eliza (2:42)
2. Starting All Over Again (4:45)
3. Prelude To a Dawn (3:10)
4. Never Ending Solitude (2:36)
5. Nature Boy (9:35)
6. Gospel Song (3:31)
7. Calico (3:03)
8. Ulyssees (12:32)
9. Go On Home (2:37)

Total time: 44:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Eden Abba / double-bass
- Brian Cresswell / saxophone, flute
- Gordon Giltrap / guitar, vocals
- Ian Hoyle / drums
- Don Partridge / guitar, vocals, vibraphone

Releases information

LP EMI Columbia SCX 6405 (UK)
LP Capitol (US)

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
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ACCOLADE Accolade ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(61%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ACCOLADE Accolade reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars First album from this English folk quintet that easily accommodated symphonic arrangements in their music as well as giving us some splendid psychedelic moments. While the music rested mostly on the two guitarists (Giltrap and Partridge), it is clear that most of their embellishments came from sax & flute player Cresswell, but also some vibraphone, from lead singer Partridge. Graced with a bizarre bucolic collage, it was released on the UK Columbia label, but received a US release as well.

Their debut album is made up of mostly shorter folk-rock songs (inferior to 3:30) except for three notable tracks, including the superb epic album-best Nature Boy (with its lengthy vibraphone solo) and the 12- mins+ most-challenging Ulysses (with its unusual phrasings and bowed bass, wild flute and strange drum patterns) and to a lesser extent the almost 5-mins Starting All Over, Again. Some of the trickier guitar parts are due to Gordon Giltrap, and it's no doubt that Accolade was probably not room enough for him to last more than one album.

In general, all off their shorter songs are lying in the folk rock realm; but never afraid to foray a bit in jazz, in rock and receiving lush string arrangements ala Moody Blues. Yup, TMB have been mentioned and it's quite understandable why: Cresswell's flute, Partridge's vocals and many of the band's arrangements are a direct inspiration of the mythic TMB. A few things do allow Accolade to have their own sound, among which the vibraphone (when in use) or the stand up bass, especially when it is bowed (as in the epic Ulysses). So in short, while a bit derivative, Accolade's debut album still manages its own personality and enthrals this old pagan of a proghead, as he's discovered yet another unearth early 70's gem.

As far as I know, neither of their albums have seen a Cd release (neither legit or boot), and it's a bloody shame because their superb psych-prog folk rock deserves much more sunlight than in its "obscure curio" status procures it.

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars This is one of those albums that, like Incredible String Band’s ‘The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion’ or the Pentangle’s debut, helped really define the understated range of progressive folk music in the late sixties; this despite becoming a rather obscure and little-known bit of the genre’s history. The nine all-acoustic tracks showcase a style of jazz-tinted folk that incorporated some of the finest nuances of singer-songwriter stylings, rock tempo, jazzy improvisation and British folk into something that had little parallel in its day. The result is an album that grows in appeal with every listen even forty years after its release.

One thing should be noted though; this was not a band made up of grammar school chums or unknown amateurs. In fact, virtually everyone in the band was an established musician of some merit prior to its formation in late 1968. Guitarist Gordon Giltrap had already released a couple solo folk albums and was on his way to a lengthy and prolific career. Founder Don Partridge had been (and would become again) a street musician who had to his credit a couple of unlikely hit singles on the late sixties British charts (“Rosie” and “Blue Eyes”). And bassist Malcolm Poole, who would replace original bassist Eden Abba (more about him later) somewhere between the beginning of these studio sessions and the band’s second album, was an alumnus of the Artwoods, a mid-sixties blues-rock band that included future Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord and Ron Wood’s older brother Arthur in its lineup. Drummer Ian Hoyle was a relative unknown but would go on to appear on at least one Wizz Jones album, and flautist/ saxophonist Brian Cresswell appears to have been the only formally educated musician in the group.

I’m not really clear on the background of the band’s formation, but there was clearly an attempt with their music to jazz-up (literally) British folk music with some rock and varied arrangements, while at the same time keeping a focus on acoustic instrumentation and storytelling lyrics in the finest tradition of British and other Anglo folk music. The net result, like I said before, will grow on prog folk fans with repeated listens.

One band I would point to as appearing to have been influenced by this group’s music is the modern Greek folk band Will-o-the Wisp. That band’s vocalist Aggelos Gerakitis bears a striking resemblance to Accolade’s Partridge, and their cover of bassist Eden Abba’s original “Nature Boy” reinforces my suspicion that at least a couple members of that band have this record in their collection.

Speaking of Abba, his song “Nature Boy” appeared for the first time (to the best of my knowledge) as a Nat King Cole single in 1948. It has since of course been covered by scores of artists, has appeared in numerous films and television series, and became the title of a biography about Abba’s life written shortly after his death due to an auto accident in 1995. There’s a fascinating person if you ever feel like digging into his history.

The most interesting thing about the tracks on this album is the palpable amount of familiarity you feel with them even on the first playing. From the opening “Maiden Flight Eliza” with its lively flute and West Coast harmonizing, to the closing languid ballad “Go on Home” and its almost America (the band) sounding peacefulness; this album is full of comfortable, comforting and casual folk music imbued with just enough modern touches to make it still palatable years after its initial release (and possibly even more so considering how little impression it made back in 1969/1970).

Top tracks are without a doubt “Nature Boy” and the lengthy, rambling folk pseudo-biographical sketch “Ulysses”. This album and these songs could never be made today; only the diversity and free-thinking air of the times allowed them to come into being even then, and frankly too few music fans of those times appreciated the simple and sincere beauty of these songs even then.

I don’t suppose this qualifies as a masterpiece, but it certainly deserves recognition as one of the seminal works of the progressive folk genre, and I suspect it is much more well-known to many modern folk musicians today than it is to fans of their music. Well worth seeking out, and highly recommended to prog folk fans of nearly every stripe, but near-essential for any serious prog folk lover. Easily four stars.


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