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Gracious This Is ... Gracious !! album cover
3.81 | 137 ratings | 17 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Super Nova (21:40) :
- a) Arrival Of The Traveller
- b) Blood Red Sun
- c) Say Goodbye To Love
- d) Prepare To Meet Thy Maker
2. C.B.S. (7:07)
3. What's Comes to Be (3:34)
4. Blue Skies And Alibis (4:58)
5. Hold Me Down (5:05)

Total Time: 42:24

Bonus track on 1993 remaster:
6. Once On A Windy Day (4:04)

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Davis / vocals, percussion
- Alan Cowderoy / guitar, percussion, vocals
- Martin Kitcat / keyboards, Mellotron, percussion, vocals
- Tim Wheatley / bass, percussion, vocals
- Robert Lipson / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Roger Dean

LP Philips ‎- 6382 004 (1971, UK)
LP Progressive Vinyl Company ‎- 354 (2016, Europe) Details as on the 1993 CD release

CD Renaissance Records ‎- RCD 1003 (1993, US) Remastered by Kevin Gilbert & Bob Katz, with a bonus song from the album's sessions; Tracks in different running order

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GRACIOUS This Is ... Gracious !! ratings distribution

(137 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

GRACIOUS This Is ... Gracious !! reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really almost 4..

This second album is much better than their debut , for they have corrected one of the flaws (songwriting) that made rate rather poorly the forerunner. The problem is that the singer is still uninspired , although he has a good voice and uses it correctly, but he does not know what to sing and where ( this is lack of inspiration) sounding all too often like the Beatles or the Moody Blues. The rest of the musicians are excellent especially the guitarist pulling in some blistering solos.

The first side is fully dedicated to a 24 + min suite that starts off in the Floydish mode ( circa Atom , Echoes & Interstellar Overdrive) and the average proghead is in heaven for a while until it all stops at the start of the fourth movement. There a acoustic guitar and horrendous lyrics along with uninspired singing melody ruins the ambiance, and then it picks up again , bettering as it goes along but never recaptures the original strenght. A bit of a waste . In my compilation of the two Gracious! albums I edited that horrendous passage.

C. B. S. is my fave track from this band , full of energy and all. Windy Day is another track that would've benefited from better vocals ( again in the Moody Blues vein ) on anotherwise correct track. Blue Skies is another blistering track with excellent interplay between Bass , KB and Guitar. the last track is also correct but suffer from a weird and abrupt fade-out.

This was a band that had a lot assets and all of the ingredient to make the big leagues bar one, the inspiration - not only in singing but on the overall writing dept. Still worth a spin ..... but there are many more gems to uncover in early British prog bands such as Audience , Comus , Gnidrolog ........ but do give this one a try .

Review by lor68
4 stars A bit better than their good debut album, above all the remarkable suite "Super Nova" and another track which has been not included within (strange!!), despite of being completely in the same vein, which is entitled "What's come to be"... the suite anyway moves from such classic progressive rock to a Romantic pop in the vein of early KING CRIMSON and stands alone as the best episode of this interesting album, although it is not a masterpiece... Recommended!!
Review by Proghead
5 stars This time around, the band recorded a bit more song-oriented album, in the hope of selling a few more copies. This album got released on Philips since Vertigo rejected it. The album opens up with the incredible side-length "Super Nova". It's a four movement piece (supposed to be a five movement suite, but one of them had go on side two because it couldn't all fit on the original LP). The Mellotron hype here is totally justified as it's used on each and every cut! You'll find the whole album tends to stick more to music, rather than KING CRIMSON-like experimentations like on their debut. Yes, it's bit different from their debut, and definately more accessible, but I have a real difficult time determining which one is their better album, as their both great and essential classic prog albums, as far as I'm concerned.
Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars Another fine band from the Early British Progressive Rock Movement (like Fantasy, Rare Bird, Cressida). A double-concert with King Crimson turned out to be pivotal for the band's musical direction: keyboard player Martin Kitcat was so impressed by King Crimson's Mellotrons that he wanted to incorporate the Mellotron into the sound of Gracious. In '70 Gracious released their eponymous first album, a year later their second entitled "This is ... Gracious!". The end of the band came soon when they didn't get gigs and run out of money. On their debut-album "Gracious!" the songs are alternating and adventurous but at some moments the music tends to become too structureless or too longwinding. Despite good ideas and a 'progressive mind' it's not really a memorable album. So I woud like to have a session with their second album entitled "This is ... Gracious" is another story, due to a stunning progress from the band and Martin Kitcat's frequent play on the mellotron, often in captivating interplay with the electric guitar. The songs are varied (blues, rock, classical, symphonic) and the climates are pleasant, especially the 'epic' track "Super nova" (4 parts) featuring amazing Mellotron eruptions. If you are lucky you can get both albums on one CD by BGO Records (UK).

Review by Heptade
3 stars This album is kind of a mixed bag, sometimes sounding like King Crimson, sometimes like the Moody Blues, sometimes like a blues-rock band. Gracious! did some of these things well, some not. Singer Paul Davis had a histrionic style with takes some getting used to. He reminds me of the singer of Rare Bird. The album's epic, Super Nova, was undoubtedly influenced by 21st Century Schzoid Man, but it is a pale copy. The treated vocals are too close for comfort, and the staccato mellotron sounds are jarring. Not a bad track, just a little derivative, and not half as menacing as it wants to be. The highlight of the album is On a Windy Day, a sweeping harmony and mellotron-laced ballad that would make BJH proud. Gracious! did pretty a lot better than they did scary. The other three songs are more groovy, especially the last track, which features some great droning riffs and a funky beat. There is a ton of mellotron on the album, which is a good thing, although there is more organesque lead playing, rather than sustained chords of string-mellotron. This is definitely B grade English prog, but still an album worth having if you can find it reasonably-priced, and better than the debut record.
Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Gracious......another one!!

Reissued on Beat Goes On BGOCD256 double-CD (with "Gracious!")

Another early Vertigo release, known as "the two exclamation marks album" (!!). If you're hearing it for the first time don't panic - there's nothing wrong with your stereo system, it's just the intro to the "Supernova" suite! In four parts - "Arrival of the Traveller" ("space" noises galore, Hawkwind and Floyd comparisons would not go amiss here, but I'm being naughty!), "Blood Red Sun", very catchy organ riff, great Purple-esque groove, "Say Goodbye to Love", a slow, strummy ballad, very nice indeed, and "Prepare to Meet Thy Maker" which brings us back into the Twilight Zone - etherial chorus and swirling other- worldly keyboards, the song develops into a slow dreamy arrangement, rounding off the suite rather nicely, though comparisons with early Genesis abound!

"C.B.S." is an almost Rooster/Purple (there i go again!) style groove, a somewhat sixties style pop song but which comes as something of a breather after the preceding suite, some nice keyboard and guitar solos, a very fine track indeed. "What's Come to Be" follows this, a slow, beautifully arranged song awash with vocal harmonies and Mellotrons, a lovely track, though comparisons with the Moodies are not unfounded! An uptempo intro to the romantic song "Blue Skies and Alibis", which contains good guitar solos, in places this track reminded me of Purple's "I'm Alone". The last track "Hold Me Down" is another melodic pop song, though not the most outstanding track on an overall great follow-up to "Gracious! (1)" , a very enjoyable listen and highly recommended as a worthy addition to any early Prog collection!!

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Those searching for lost, forgotten or never known mellotron fests might want to detour via the sparse but impressive contributions of Britain's GRACIOUS. They followed up their uneven but worthwhile 1970 debut with...another uneven and worthwhile followup "This is Gracious!" a year later.

As before, GRACIOUS seemed unsure what they wanted to be - hard rock, blues, space rock, proto prog, psych, heavy, but they do it all in such an innocent exuberant manner that they easily surpass several contemporaries like FANTASY and CRESSIDA, and rival and in some ways eclipse the historic debut of SPRING, certainly in terms of edge.

The suite here comprises 4 distinct and barely related segments, the most interesting being the BLACK SABBATH like "Blood Red Sky" and the reverent if perhaps tongue in cheek "Prepare to Meet thy Maker". "C.B.S" is a grinding yet pleasing mix highlighted by simple organ and mellotron melodies. The group's best track, personal tastes somewhat aside, is definitely the sunny "Blue Skies and Alibis" which seems more original and groundbreaking than one might expect from such an obscure band. I do hear some ideas later explored by NEKTAR, and a quote or two from late 1960s psych, but this one is likely to please the vast majority of prog fans whatever their preferred sub genres or orientations.

It's hard to say exactly what the original track list was, as the CD re-issue contains a mellotron-acoustic guitar ballad in the vein of "Early Morning" by BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST or numerous MOODY BLUES missives from the then recent past. This had only been released as a single in its day. The CD compilation of both albums includes "What's Come to Be" which is more PROCOL HARUM-ish, but you get the picture either way.

I'm on the fence with this one but, although I often enjoy it a good deal, I would have been much happier had the group revealed some sort of real direction or game plan rather than expand on those of their myriad influences. At the risk of being graceless, 3.5 stars rounded down.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Gracious sophomore release comes as quite an improvement over their debut. The opener is supposely a suite with four parts called Super Nova: Arrival of the Traveller... But in fact it is just four different songs put together. None of the four has anything to link one with another. Still, not bad, specially the last piece, Prepare To Meet Thy Maker that has very good harmony vocals and some nice keys. Some parts are spoiled when they try too hard to sound like King Crimson.

CBS opens side two of the vinyl: nice hard rock with 60īs overtones and some latin percussions that were common at the time. I really didnīt like Paul Davis way of singing at first. You get used to after some time, but he could be a little better if he handnīt tried so hard to sound different just for the sake of it. Alan Cowderoy is a very good guitarrist. Whatīs Come To be is an acoustic track with lots of mellotron waves that sound more like a krautfock band than a british one. Again there is strong influences of bands like KC, Moody Blues and The Beatles (specially on the vocals). Blues Skies and Alibis is a more straighforward pop/rock number of the period with some heavy Santana-like solo thrown in during the bridge. Hold Me down closes the CD with a mixture of acoustic and electric hard rock. Itīs the least interesting track of the lot.

Conclusion: While the band hadnīt yet found a true personality of their own, they were on the right path. Songwriting wise this album is far superior to their debut and itīs a pity that they didnīt have the chance to develop their sound some more, since they seemed to have the chops to do it. Quite interesting for the ones who love mellotrons and like to look for obscure bands of the period. For those this album is recommended.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Man it must have been frustrating to be at the mercy of the record label you were signed with back in the day.To have them wanting you to change your style and sound all in the name of selling more records. GRACIOUS had to wait 2 years after completing this record before the record company would release it, by then the band had folded. I do like this better than the debut although much like CRESSIDA's two releases there isn't a lot to choose between the first and second albums as they are fairly evenly matched. More mellotron in this one though.

"Super Nova" was the 25 minute side long opening suite. It's experimental and spacey early then we get this beat rising out of the atmosphere around 2 minutes then it turns powerful. Some great drumming here. A change after 4 minutes then the vocals arrive and they are passionate.The mood becomes cheerful 6 1/2 minutes in as the tempo picks up. It does settle back with vocals and guitar.The vocals stop and the tempo picks back up 9 1/2 minutes in with the keyboards leading this time. It changes again before 11 minutes with strummed guitar and vocals. Mellotron joins in. A change to a darker sound 14 1/2 minutes. Silence a minute later. It turns experimental then the vocals return 17 minutes in as it stays mellow to the end.

"C.B.S." is a catchy little number.Vocals after a minute. Organ only before 3 minutes then the guitar and drums kick back in.The guitar starts to solo over top 4 minutes.Vocals are back 5 1/2 minutes in. "Once On A Windy Day" opens with mellotron as reserved vocals join in. A full sound after 1 1/2 minutes.This is good. It settles back as contrasts continue. "Blue Skies And Alibis" is uptempo with prominant bass and guitar. It settles with vocals a minute in then it kicks back in as contrasts continue. "Hold Me Down" is a vocal led track. It's okay.

3.5 stars. A band that just hasn't caught on with me but is obviously very talented.

Review by baz91
5 stars This is... AWESOME!!

After gorging myself on their spectacular debut, I knew that I just had to hear Gracious's second album as well. There seemed to be no proper reissues of this album, so instead I decided to buy the Japanese Mini-LP (for those of you who don't know about Mini-LPs, they are CDs that are given the same packaging as the original vinyl LP, but obviously scaled down, and are usually manufactured in Japan). This was my first mini-lp, but while this album has no fancy packaging, the original sleeve was nonetheless revealing about the history of the album and the band. Upon viewing the back cover, one becomes instantly aware that this was originally a very cheaply produced album. Distributed by Philips as part of their 'International Series', the sleeve is donned with an advert for other albums in this range including 'This is... Dusty Springfield', 'This is... Val Doonican' and even 'The Band Of The Scots Guards'. This explains the ghastly album title 'This is... Gracious!!', though I dislike the fact they included two exclamation marks instead of one. In fact, this album was shelved for a while before being distributed, leading to the bands unfortunate demise. The album may have been cheap, but for your money you get astonishingly good music.

The album kicks off in true prog form with a sidelong track Super Nova. For some of you, this version is 25 minutes long, but on the original album, and on my version, this track is only 21:40 in length. Apparently the original suite was too long for one side of music so they had to cut one of the sections (What's Come To Be) out, and stick it on the second side. Some remasters have placed this section back into the song, bringing it to 25 minutes, but I disagree with this move. On the record, Super Nova sounds as if it was rewritten so as not to include What's Come To Be, and thus sounds better without it. In the 25 minute version, the suite simply loses it's flow! I shall review it as a four-part suite and not a five-part.

Arrival of the Traveller is the first part of the suite, and is entirely instrumental. The first two minutes sound experimental and dissonant, but afterwards the music becomes more regular. There is a throbbing bassline behind this part which gives way to a theme that sounds inspired by Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra.

The next section of the suite is called Blood Red Sun. This section is very catchy, and has a very anthemic mellotron sound. The lyrics of the song remind one of 21st Century Schizoid Man and the vocals are treated in a similar way too. After this part finishes, it gives way to a groovy instrumental that stops abruptly before the next part (which may or may not be What's Come To Be).

Say Goodbye To Love is played on the acoustic guitar, and accompanied by the mellotron. The lyrics are simply sublime. This is a very beautiful song.

The next three minutes are very experimental and proggy, before we reach the final part of the suite, Prepare To Meet Thy Maker. This is a hymn-like song with wonderful vocals and simple yet beautiful lyrics. The last 2:45 of this track are instrumental, but with wordless vocals. The outro to this song, and indeed this suite, is very symphonic, and is simply perfect. Whilst The Dream on the last album had more recurring themes, Super Nova does just as well without them. This suite is a rich, beautiful and moving piece of progressive rock.

Side 2 opens with C.B.S., so called as it reminded mellotron player Martin Kitcat of some artists under contract to the Columbia Broadcasting System. The structure of this song is a classic in terms of prog rock: two shortish vocal sections seperated by a meaty showcase instrumental, much like a thick musical sandwich. Other songs in this format include Firth of Fifth and By-Tor And The Snow Dog. The instrumental is extremely good, with other instruments soloing on top of the repetitive bass riff. It's easy to criticise this song for being too repetitive but I don't feel it detracts the song that much. The highlight is the technical guitar solo.

If the King Crimson influence wasn't obvious by this point, What's Come To Be will surely make it clear. This song, with it's deep mellotron sound, is incredibly similar to Epitaph on KC's debut. The clue that this song was once part of the suite on Side 1 is the inclusion of the word 'Supernova' in the third verse. The lyrics are quite apocalyptic, and the outro is quite spectacular and powerful until it fades out. This would have been a good inclusion into the suite if they'd found a way to make the songs flow together.

Blue Skies and Alibis is perhaps the weakest track on the record. The breaks between verses are quite long and repetitive, although the proper instrumental is actually quite good. The verses themselves sound nothing like the rest of the song and feel a little out of place at times.

Hold Me Down is a return to form for the band. This is more of a straightforward rock tune, although the instrumental betrays the groups progressiveness. I have to admit I really like the chorus to this song, and the verses are good too. The instrumental is obviously the highlight, and at one point the band play with time signatures extremely successfully. It's hard not to enjoy this playful track.

The individual songs on 'This is... Gracious!!' are more concise than those on 'Gracious!' but they are still as fun and enjoyable. It seems that the band put more effort into writing proper songs rather than being experimental on this record, but I think the two records are equal in quality. Gracious are one of my favourite underground prog groups, and their second album deserves nothing less than 5 stars for being so enjoyable.

Review by stefro
4 stars Although only existing for a brief while during the progressive rock boom of the early 1970s, British outfit Gracious managed to produce two lengthy albums worth of complex symphonic art-rock, with 1971's 'This Is...Gracious!!' following on from the group's debut '!' of a year earlier. Whilst '!' was issued on the now legendary Vertigo imprint(them of the famous 'swirl' logo), the relative commercial failure of the album saw this sequel-of-sorts released by Phillips. Both labels, however, proved pretty indifferent to Gracious' singular sound, with the lack of promotion and support echoed in both albums poor sales figures. Thirty-odd years down the line, however, and the group's reputation has been happily restored, this second, superior album in now recognised for what it really is, namely an excellent slice of adventurous progressive rock from a group who really did deserve better. Whilst '!' featured some wonderful moments, as an album it was overlong and unfocused, the music too often interrupted by strange, anarchic, avant-garde interludes, spoken word sections and touches of weird humour. Thankfully, 'This Is...Gracious!!' is much more about the actual music. This is reflected in both the epic, twenty-four minute long opener 'Super Nova', which segues effortlessly from moments of serene instrumental calm to blistering segments of pacey, intricate guitar-and-mellotron-drenched rock, and the album's stand-out piece 'C.B.S'(Don't ask; I don't know what it stands for). 'C.B.S' is a marvellous track, a piece underpinned by an insanely catchy rhythm and imbued with charging organ runs and blistering guitar work which make a mockery out of the seven minute running time; if only it were longer. The rest of the album unfortunately fails to scale the peaks reached on the first half, yet there is still plenty that should please fans of classic-era progressive rock, especially in the imaginative playing of guitarist Alan Cowderoy and the almost soulful vocals of Paul Davis. Imagine King Crimson with a sense of humour, and you kind of get the sonic picture. Whilst both Gracious albums are highly recommended, this second - and final - release from this sadly-ignored five-piece is well worth investigating.
Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Having seen little success with their debut album GRACIOUS managed to record enough material before calling it quits after their second album THIS IS GRACIOUS was released due to no publicity and no support from the record label. This album sees the band change their style by toning down the wild and unpredictability of their genre changes and develops a more epic approach.

The jewel of the album is the first side-long epic "Super Nova" which starts out with some really cool spaced-out sound effects dishing out the best progressive electronic of the day and then begins to really rock out with a Floydian guitar riff that reminds me of the Syd Barrett years. Act two delivers a good drum beat with pleasantly interacting guitars and keyboards and the anthem to the "Blood Red Sun" begins and ushers in acoustic guitar passages and the ever changing flow of the four chapters continues for 25 minutes.

The rest of the album is more hard rock oriented with shorter times and slightly less progressive and probably intended to get a single or two for any possible radio airplay which never materialized. "C.B.S." has a good organ and guitar run with latin percussion and actually has a Yes kind of feel at times. "Blue Skies And Alibis" sounds a bit like Steely Dan. "Hold Me Down" sounds like Free.

I have a mixed reaction towards this album. The band clearly learned how to focus their attention on writing more cohesive pieces of music creating a slightly more commercial feel to the whole thing. The songs are better constructed and are a little more memorable but the unbridled live wire approach of the first album was one of the attributes that I really like about this group. Overall I like the maturity of the album but miss the diversity. In the end this is a decent second outing for this lesser known early symphonic prog band that employs a pop vocal technique which adds a slight contrast to the sophistication of the music. Recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Goodness GRACIOUS me! What have we here!? "This is...Gracious!!", the second album from the British Prog-Rock band Gracious! - complete with exclamation marks!! Their first album, self-titled "Gracious!" (1970), passed by virtually unnoticed at the time of its release, but the band remained unda ... (read more)

Report this review (#2288401) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Thursday, December 19, 2019 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Strangely, This is ...Gracious!!, Gracious' sophomore and final album of the seventies until partially reuniting in nineties, leaves me even colder than their scattershot debut album. At least with their first album Gracious!, you never knew what direction the band was going to veer off to. Not ... (read more)

Report this review (#1696672) | Posted by SteveG | Saturday, February 25, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After their debut album it was the turn of their second. "Super Nova" (3.75 out of 5.00) This song consists of four tracks, all of wich are differentiable each other. The Introduction is "Arrival of the traveller" which gives a good atmosphere of mystery, "Blood Red Sun" is the first sung track ... (read more)

Report this review (#805371) | Posted by raul_siberian | Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Strangely this band had been out of my attention for a long time and today I had the chance to hear their two albums. What to say, while not exactly fantastic, it is quite interesting indeed. Very diverse, at times somewhat lacking direction, but with some very beautiful moments, like the move ... (read more)

Report this review (#444037) | Posted by Thandrus | Saturday, May 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I prefer their first album, however this is another gem! The first track is a 20-minute suite with obscure themes, good guitar solos, great vocal armonies, heavy prog riffs and also relaxed moments filled with mellotron. The other tracks are also very good, a bit different from the previous album. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#18649) | Posted by | Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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