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Greenslade Spyglass Guest album cover
3.34 | 155 ratings | 21 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spirit of the Dance (5:08)
2. Little Red Fry-Up (5:11)
3. Rainbow (4:20)
4. Siam Seesaw (4:43)
5. Joie de vivre (8:25)
6. Red Light (2:47)
7. Melancolic Race (4:15)
8. Theme for an Imaginary Western (3:51)

Total Time 38:40

Bonus CD from 2018 remaster:
- BBC Radio One "In Concert", BBC Paris Theatre, London - 7th November 1974 :
1. Joie De Vivre (10:03)
2. Bedside Manners Are Extra (5:55)
3. Sundance (13:55)
4. Red Light (3:08)
5. Spirit of the Dance (3:19)
- BBC Radio One Bob Harris Session - 6th November 1974 :
6. Melange (4:51)
7. Melancholic Race (8:36)
8. Red Light (2:43)

Total Time 52:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Greenslade / organ, Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, clavinet, ARP synth, glockenspiel, harmonium, tubular bells
- Dave Lawson / Fender Rhodes, clavinet, ARP synth, piano, soprano saxophone, gong, bells, vocals
- Tony Reeves / bass
- Andy McCulloch / drums & percussion

- Clem Clempson / guitar (2,4)
- Andy Roberts / acoustic guitar (4)
- Graham Smith / violin (5)
- Jeremy Ensor / field recording (3)
- Gregg Jackman / field recording (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Keith "Keef" MacMillan

LP Warner Bros. Records ‎- K 56055 (1974, UK)

CD Warner Bros. Records ‎- WPCP-4796 (1992, Japan)
CD Warner Bros. Records ‎- 7599-26867-2 (1996, UK)
2CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- PECLEC 22647 (2018, UK) Remastered by Ben Wiseman with bonus CD

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GREENSLADE Spyglass Guest ratings distribution

(155 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

GREENSLADE Spyglass Guest reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Hopes raised by Manners were quickly deceived as they fall back on boring double KB ( see Procol Harum or Supertramp for good 2 KB prog), Looking at the writing credits, Lawson seems again to help out but not collaborate. If they had a guitarist instead of a second KB , they would have collaborated more instead of "competing" (this not the word I really want to use as they are not blowing each other away but simply are redundant)
Review by loserboy
4 stars GREENSLADE's classic third album, "Spyglass Guest" uniquely features guitars with Andy Roberts and Dave "Clem" Clempson (another former COLOSSEUM bandmate) delivering some six-string action. I personally love the first 4 GREENSLADE albums and find each one different and in many ways unique. "Spyglass Guest" features the full arsenal of GREENSLADE's keyboards (organs, synths, Mellotron, Calvinet, Glockenspiel, Harmoniums and Tubular Bells) with Lawson's keys and vocals, McCulloch's drums and percussion and Tony Reeves last album (bass). Overall feel of the album is English prog rock in character with some great instrumental work.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Unlike many fellow reviewers, I don't think at all that "Spyglass Guest" is a major artistic turndown in Greenslade's career; while not being obviously as brilliant as its two preceding albums, it is full of good musical ideas, and the energy is still there, palpable and shining brightly. I can't deny that the level of energy has decreased a bit: the reason for that is that an important fracture was starting to show the cracks in the band's integrity - Greenslade and Lawson replaced their mutual complementation for a state of sheer rivalry, with each one of them barely contributing in the instrumentation for the pieces written by the other. But I can tell by the opening track 'Spirit of the Dance' that the essence of the band's musical personality remains untouched, and also that the rules of exquisiteness and melodic sensibility continue to trace and shape Greenslade's direction. Actually, I regard the sequence of tracks 1-5 as fantastic. After the effective, catchy opener, comes the first sung track titled 'Little Red Fry-Up', one more showcase for Lawson's precise keyboard skills and peculiar singing. The absence of Greenslade's performing input and the presence of a guest guitar soloist on this one reveal an increasing interest in the band for assuming a rockier direction for their jazz- oriented prog. as well as the aforementioned internal tension between both keyboardists. Then comes 'Rainbow', perhaps the eeriest piece ever in Greenslade's history: nowhere does Lawson get as ethereal as in this number. Its first section consists of a dialogue between grand piano and synth multi-layers, caught under a storming rain and shades of percussion and drums; then comes the second section, in which Lawson lays his soft electric piano lines while his voice resounds in both the lead and the backing chorale roles. A really inventive way to translate the transition from rain to rainbow into a musical context. 'Siam Seesaw' also includes a spirit of serenity in the main motif that opens up and closes down the track, in which the harpsichord, electric piano and acoustic guitar display an elegant dialogue; this Reeves-penned number is properly enhanced by a faster bluesy interlude. The album's tour-de- force 'Joie de Vivre' finds the band incorporating some folky sources into a symphonic context: Graham Smith's impeccable violin interventions sure help to build this particular element up. The following three numbers prove not to be able to keep up with the level of musical magic achieved by the preceding pieces. Had 'Red Light' been developed further, it wouldn't have been reduced to a nice Lawson effort to approach the Steely Dan thing. 'Melancholic Race' goes more places, but it doesn't match the splendour of the previous instrumentals, while the closure 'Theme for an Imaginary Western' (a cover of a Jack Bruce bluesy ballad) is simply OK, which means that the listener is left without an outstanding climax to leave them truly amazed. Overall rating: 3 ― - 4 stars.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars For me this band is a must for prog lovers. A classic in every way along with 2 albums from '73 and one from '75, the true and inovative period of Greenslade. Every one had to listen to this because they worth every spin. From This 4 classics from '70 this is my fav. This has more keys then previous two and the resoult is very good and smooth. The opening track is one of the best from them, and maybe from the '70, a very enjoyible track called Spirit of the dance. All in all a brilliant album from '70 in prog, where you can see the fullness of good musical ideas, and energy. For me the first 4 albums are on the pantheon of prog music. 4 stars
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Full of the joys of life

And so Greenslade reach their third album just over a year after their first. The original line up is still intact, but guitarist Clem Clemson is brought in to help out on a couple of tracks. The first obvious change to catch the eye is the lack of a Roger Dean sleeve. Instead we have a rather prosaic image which is saved only by the Dean Greenslade logo.

The opening instrumental "Spirit of the dance" is surprisingly upbeat, a bit like one of Keith Emerson's Aaron Copeland interpretations. The usual disappointingly functional vocals appear for the first time on "Little red Fry-up". Any fears of this being another "Alan's psychedelic breakfast" are quickly dispelled, although the lyrics are similarly trite. The track is significantly improved by Clemson's fine guitar work though. The latter part of side one of the LP is more downbeat, "Rainbow" being reflective twaddle, and "Siam seesaw" a cod oriental instrumental once again saved by a Clemson solo.

The second side features the 8Â― minute "Joie de vivre", by far the most interesting track on the album. This classically influenced (Pachabel's "Canon" seems to be a clear source of inspiration) roller-coaster features many changes of mood and sound, greatly enhanced by some violin by Graham Smith and church organ recordings. Even the vocals here are passable. Sadly things take a sharp dip thereafter, as the band rapidly run out of ideas to the extent that they revert to a cover version for the final track. This interpretation of Jack Bruce's "Theme from an imaginary western" is insipid, especially when compared to Mountain's momentous version of that song.

Although there is a general sharpness and greater emphasis on the rock elements on "Spyglass guest" than there was on the preceding albums, there remains a lack of quality to the song-writing. "Joie de vivre" is one of Greenslade's finest pieces, but it is adrift here in a sea of mediocrity.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Little green fry-up

Spyglass Guest was the band's third album, and remains my personal Greenslade favourite. In my opinion, it is every bit as good as the previous two. But, just like those two, it falls short of being more than merely good overall. It starts out fantastically with the great Spirit Of The Dance, my favourite Greenslade number. It is an up-tempo, keyboard-driven extravaganza in a style similar to that of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I simply love it and often listen to it several times in a row. With the second track things already take a turn for the worse, however. Little Red Fry-Up is a quirky, vocal number that reminds me a bit of Gentle Giant (though, not the best of that innovative band). It is not awful by any means, but also not the best even though it does feature an electric guitar solo which adds an appealing diversity to the otherwise so strongly keyboard-dominated sound of Greenslade.

Next up is Rainbow, a slow, "hazy" vocal number that reminds me somewhat of the style of Camel's similarly titled Rainbow's End or maybe also Tell Me. I like it, but I don't get too excited by it. This is then then followed by another strong piece in Siam Seesaw, an mellow instrumental featuring tasteful acoustic guitars by guest Andy Roberts as well as some electric guitar by Clem Clemson. Again, the presence of guitars is a very nice surprise.

The eight and a half minute Joie de vivre is often considered the centrepiece of Spyglass Guest, and it is a good one, but personally I think that the live versions that I've heard of this song are better than this studio version. There is however one very appealing feature of this studio version and that is the presence of violin, played by guest Graham Smith. The violin passages remind slightly of the sound of Kansas. Red Light starts again like the slower, laid back Rainbow, but then morphs into something more similar to the funky Little Red Fry-Up. Melancholic Race evolves into a jazzy number. Finally, the album ends with a cover version of Theme For An Imaginary Western, a rather lame ending for an otherwise good album.

I have always liked to imagine what it would have been like had they taken the best tracks from the first four albums and made one album out of that. Then I'm sure they would have made one excellent album instead of four merely good ones as is actually the case now. As it stands, Spyglass Guest is recommended in addition to Bedside Manners Are Extra, the self-titled debut, and the follow-up Time And Tide.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This band never reached the heights of the musical scene and when you listen to this album, you just know why.

There are some fine musical moments though, of which the opening and instrumental ''Spirit Of The Dance'' is one of my favourite from this offering. Very much ELP oriented, the dual keys are working remarkably. But I have always liked such a key orgy, so.

The jazzy and Gentle Giant oriented ''Little Red Fry Up'' is another story. Unless you are a deep lover of this band (which is not my case), there are little chances that you will succumb to the charm.

The only great track is the wonderful ''Joie De Vivre''. So well titled! It is a very optimistic and joyful song. Great keyboards, wonderful harmony, good violin, emotional and passionate all the way through: it got it all. It is probably my favourite ''Greenslade'' song ever. A sublime musical moment really. If ever you are somewhat depressed like I am tonight, just have a listen to this positive piece of music.

But I'm afraid that it is the only one of its kind on this work. One third ranges from very good to excellent. For sentimental reasons, I am quite moved with their cover of ''Mountain''. This brings me back to my early teens and the fabulous Woodstock event which changed my (musical) life. FYI, this track was featured on what is know as ''Woodstock II'' although the recorded track was not played at the festival.

This album is average IMO, but I can't go over two stars for it.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Since Greenslade has become the fad "du jour" with a few posts recently, I wandered down to my prog cave, scanning to find the "G" section and dusted off my Greenslade CDs. While not considered to be in the same league as the giants, Dave Greenslade has made his mark with Colosseum and with his own outfit, back in those heady days when prog ruled the waves. Those early albums had a lot going for it besides the spectacular Roger Dean artwork, it also had one of the finest rhythm sections ever, with the nimble and vastly underrated Tony Reeves on bass and the famous Andy MacCulloch, forever remembered as the drum maestro on KC's Lizard. There were also some downers, Dave Lawson being a deft second keyboardist but his vocals are difficult to withstand at times, a tad neurotic and often overblown. The production is grainy at best and has a veiled charm that may not appeal to the technical fans. I chose "Spyglass Guest" as the target of my scribbling, a swirling adventure that is launched by the spirited instrumental hors d'oeuvre "Spirit of the Dance" , a fine example of the dual keyboard attack and that resounding Reeves bass way up-front propelling the rhythm ever so eloquently. The whimsical and "oh-so-british" "Little Red Fry-Up" has a jangly overtone with screwy synthesizer whirls and some uncanny vocals that have a little of King Crimson's "Cat Food". Clem Clempson makes a funky guitar intervention that adds so much zip to the proceedings, proving once again that the fret board is such an imposing instrument in rock music. Expectedly, "Rainbow" provides a starkly more somber feel with oddly dissonant swells from the keys, massive MacCulloch drum rolls that plunge suddenly into a placid electric piano pool of sound with nursery rhyme-like dreamy Lawson vocals that are actually decent, though again his vocal timbre requires some polite indulgence. "Siam Seesam" has an acoustic guitar intro courtesy of guest Andy Roberts, more fine piano interventions that parallel and weave well with the lovely melody, synths pinging in the background. Reeves kneads some lovely sounds from his 4 string mistress and Clempson hops on board with another "funky" electric incursion. This is a resoundingly appealing track that has more than just meat and potatoes. "Joie de Vivre" is the epic 8 minute + track and one of Greenslade's more accomplished tracks, the colossal church organ initially beckoning the theme, sultry electric piano phrasings, a main synthesizer and violin melody that is immediate and refreshing, this piece recalls Trace's Rick van der Linden's keyboard style and has an uninspired Lawson vocal that has its admitted "particularities", mellotron sweeping ahead of the echoing solos, Greenslade's organ displaying multiple tone changes. Graham Smith's violin makes another imaginative escapade that gives this piece some added lift. "Red Light" is a thankfully brief Lawson ditty with silly lyrics that try to emulate the Beatles, a pedantic delivery that often plagued the period (the term "filler" made its unfortunate introduction to our musical vocabulary). "Melancholic Race" as the title implies, a robust mixed-bag adventure that has its merits as well as its drawbacks, some of the keyboard runs are amusing, others annoying as if the band was running out of ideas. Then, when least expected, appears a sibilant synthesizer solo that is amazing, the bass pounding relentlessly, a jazzy piano flourish, some Middle Eastern motif on the violin and a final organ coup de grace. Head scratching time! The final track is a Jack Bruce of Cream fame composition with a visceral Lawson vocal that illustrates the glaring weakness with this band. As usual with this peculiar lot, the playing is top-notch while the composition, the lyrics and the singing are often patchy and at times paltry. Ultimately, this disc proves again that Greenslade could have been so much better than it was. 3.5 Clavinet Colosseums
Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars I was never really a big fan of Greenslade, even if some of my friends were at the time. Still, nobody would call these englishman an essential or groundbreaking band in any time. The reason I decided to write a review about this album, besides the fact that I owned the old vynil copy, is because it does contain Greensladeīs best song ever, the wonderful Joie de vivre. It is a superb song, with great keyboards, fantastic melodies and a beautiful violin solo by Graham Smith. It is by far not the best track here but the greatest thing Greenslade ever wrote or played.

Unfortunatly I bought the album after hearing that song, hoping the rest of it would be of the the same caliber. Not that SpyglassGuest is bad. It does have good moments like the opener instrumental Spirit Of the Dance. But the quality of the music in general is quite uneven with good and bad moments (like the very whimisical Little Red Fry-up, probably the worst thing they have ever done). And nothing is even close to Joie De Vivre. Like so many bands at the time, Greenslade had fantastic musicians: I really think that their rhythm section (Tony Reeves and Andrew McCulloch) is one of the best in prog. But great musicians donīt always mean great songwriters. And thatīs the groupīs weakest point. So it is no surprise they had sparkles of greatness here and there, but were unable to deliver a real strong work that would eventualy take them to the first league. And small wonder they did not last long either.

Conclusion: nice record, with some good moments (and a brilliant one, as I mentioned), but with some weak parts too. The instrumental bits are the best, with real nice array of analog keyboards. If you like keyboard driven bands, you should give it a try. 2,5 stars.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The healthy followup to Bedside Manners (the band's decent but rough and underworked sophomore release), Spyglass Guest restores some of the inspiration shown on the debut from '73 with a better realized and organized sound successfully mixing Bach-tinctured quotes and art-pop eccentricities. There is also something distinctly weird about this record, like some misshaped musical review performed by a group of psychiatric patients on a day's leave, adding some hearty flavor and character to an album easily frowned upon by those who would hold it up against the pedigrees of bigger acts.

'Spirit of the Dance' is charming fugue-rock, a tuplet of 3's led by David Greenslade's organ and the light support of Andrew McCulloch's hi-hat, doubled in the next measure by Clavinet and further layered with the ARP & Fender piano. ELP's presence is comfortably felt like that of an old friend but this quartet always seemed more interested in playing, and this jazzier sensibility is heard on 'Little Red Fry-Up', a thoroughly odd bit with flashes of everyone from Steely Dan to Flash. It transitions smoothly to 'Rainbow' with Dave Lawson's childlike taunts over a creepy visit from Mary Poppins, delicacies of 'Siam Seesaw' featuring Andy Roberts' lovely acoustic guitar phrase, and 8-minute 'Joie de Vivre'; a brilliant construct of abnormal modalities and contrametric divisions, a poetic lyric stringing things together. Shades of early Becker & Fagen are again heard on 'Red Light', 'Melancholic Race's confused mix of dance and symphonic, and lackluster 'Theme for an Imaginary Western'.

Spyglass is most assuredly stuck in its time and Lawson's squeaky vocals may annoy, but when properly considered and digested - Mr. Greenslade's careful compositional approach, keen attention to detail and the easily missed tightness of this outfit - it is a much better offering than recognized and is packed with brave if quiet musical discoveries that must be looked into to be appreciated. An ensemble that doesn't always go for the throat, and who ask for your engagement while you bear with them.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you look at this as an album, you would agree with me. And now I'm telling you why ...

This band was one of the names that colored my teenage life as their albums always sounded different than any other bands in the seventies. Yes, this was not one of the ones that I particularly talked with my friends whom most of them much more familiar with more popular names like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Bad Company or Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, ELP. Only few friends of mine - or in fact no one - was aware about this band. By that time I was only familiar with one album that I always spun the cassette: 'Time and Tide' album which I like the song called 'Newsworth' that became my longtime favorite at that time.

NOW, when I am looking at the reality that I have not reviewed this legendary (at least for me, personally!) album I was quite shocked knowing that most reviewers have different views about this album that made the overall mark of 3.21 by the time I am writing this. Not bad and it's OK, at least it's not something less than three stars. Next thing is how should I start reviewing this album? First off, my personal mission is really to twist those who aready put the less than 4 stars rating for this album and the following explains why you should mark this album as a four-star one.

First, when you listen to this album, do not expect to find which of the 8 tracks offered here are excellent tracks. Why? If you find good or excellent track, meaning that you have set your mind into what so called song-orientated mentality. No harm with that but ... you miss the opportunity to look at this album into a helicopter view where actually what these gentlemen offered was something that must be looked at its entirety like a concept album - how the music flows overall from start to end and how each passage of music is delivered to cater with transition from one mood / style to another or from one track to another. Push yourself into this condition and look at the whole 8 tracks form as one single track like you enjoy Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick or A Passion Play. Having done so, I am sure it would change your mind from nitty-gritty things looking at the album so narrowly. Well, I am not sure - and I really don't care - whether or not this is a concept album - as it's totally irrelevant. You can make your concept album by setting your mind into looking at this album in its entirety. For me personally, this is so captivating especially looking at the ways instruments are played here combining the unique keyboard sounds, unique vocal line and jaw dropping drumwork. (This is gonna be another descriptive explanation I am gonna make it for you in the following paragraph...).

Second, please pay particular attention on every single piece of instrument as you enjoy the music flows from one track to another - or in fact from one segment to another in particular track. Have you observed something unique? You bet! You've just found that the keyboard sounds are terrific and they are all unique that you could hardly fine had been played by other musicians! It does not matter who actually played the keyboard - it's Dave Greenslade or Dave Lawson as both of them sound wonderful throughout the album. What else? Vocal! Yes.... smart guess!!! Look at how the vocal quality is really unique especially when it's combined beautifully with keyboard work like you can find at track 5 Joie de Vivre. Oh man .. I really love this kind of sound! It's terrific! What else did you find? The drumming man ....!!! Look at how inventive and dynamic the drumwork performed by Andrew McCulloch! Well, I am sure that if Andrew still continued his existence in music business he would be one of the best progrock drummers in the same or similar style like Bill Bruford. He played also with King Crimson (Lizard), Manfred Mann's Earth Band and other bands. He was a very talented drummer prog music had ever had. Unfortunately he stopped his existence to music business and became a Yacht Master. You can also find very nice violin work throughout this album.

I do not find anything bad from this album and that's why I think this one is worth an excellent rating or 4 stars. In terms of songs, there is last track that was quite well popular in my country at that time and the time when we had classic rock radio M97 sometime in 2000, i.e the last track:Theme for an Imaginary Western (3:51). Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars What a charming little band Greenslade were! Not exactly the coolest of prog bands (Ha, as if there has even been such a thing!), there's a slightly daggy appeal to Greenslade and their mostly upbeat, infectious and proudly melodic duel keyboard player dominated music. Very easy to listen to and enjoy, full of colourful and joyful instrumental runs and quirky vocal numbers, their third album, 1974's `Spyglass Guest', is not quite as successful as the previous albums, but there's still plenty of undemanding and tastefully played adventurous rock music to discover. Perhaps the song-writing on the vocal pieces isn't as strong or catchy this time around, but the instrumental passages and overall great playing makes it another worthy addition to their run of very decent albums from their vintage 70's peak period.

Opening instrumental `Spirit of the Dance' couldn't be more appropriately titled, because the energetic synth duellings full of movement of Dave Greenslade and Dave Lawson couldn't be more dance-like! A cute keyboard jig with playful Moog spirals, light Mellotron flecks (pretty sure the 'Tron is actually singing in the final minute too!) and glistening electric piano with Andrew Mculloch's urgent snappy drumming, it's almost like a more peppy version of those rollicking Genesis and P.F.M numbers in parts. Odd jazz/fusion groover `Little Red Fry-Up' is almost comical with a variety of loopy vocals with lightly naughty grooves worked through slinking bass, tinkling electric piano and bluesy electric guitar wailing. The slightly melancholic `Rainbow' is full of mystery, eerie electronic drones, ambient synths and creeping electric piano with sighing group harmonies. `Siam Seesaw' might have one of the loveliest and most romantic melodies on any Greenslade album, drowsy acoustic guitar and dazzling harpsichord weaving blissfully together with humming bass and dreamy electric piano.

The almost nine minute symphonic piece `Joie de Vivre' turns out to be quite a jaunty tune, with many frequently whimsical moments driven by stirring violin and joyous keyboard soloing that wouldn't have sounded out of place on any of the mid 70's Caravan albums. `Red Light' is a brief somewhat silly vocal/electric piano piece that appears to be about a prostitute or an obsession with a cheater partner - maybe both! `Melancholic Race' doesn't really develop too well, jumping around from nice sweeping Mellotron fanfare, strolling electric piano walkabouts and outright jazz/fusion rupturing bass explosions. It's a whole mess of ideas, but a glorious and addictive tasty mess all the same! The album closes on a fairly plodding yet smooth cover of Jack Bruce's `Theme For An Imaginary Western', let down by a scratchy endless Lawson vocal that pushes the friendship, but at least Tony Reeves' lovely murmuring bass lifts it slightly higher.

Greenslade remind me of a band like Fruupp in that they released a run of quality albums in their vintage prime and got out before the rot of too much commercial pressure and the changing musical taste of the public led them to making really sub-standard albums. `Spyglass Guest' may not be the most challenging or important prog album, but there's still so much to enjoy about it, performed by a first-rate bunch of musicians, and it probably works best as a pleasing background listen.

Three stars.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars It must be said that I fully understand the sometime dislike and difficulty some people have with the music of Greenslade. I have been there myself. My reltionship with the band have been a long, sometimes ardous, journey. At 21 I got myself "Bedside manners are extra" and failed utterly at understanding what I heard. So, I put the band on hold for a period of five years before buying "Greenslade", the debut. I fell in love with "Feathered friends" but cared less for the remainder of the album. Yet again Greenslade was put on hold and kept outside in the waiting room expecting to be called back in again. This never happened. The re-visitation was always postponed and seemed almost to be an unlikely event. However, after a couple of years something changed. They got called back in for a rendez-vous and chat, this time about their third album "Spyglass guest". Did we click? I dare say we did. Big time. There are those openings in time and space where everything just seems to fall into place. With "Spyglass guest" this window was flung open and yes, there was love in the air. After that I came to love also the first two albums without any reservations.

Greenslade was always a very fullbodied group, soundwise. For the two first albums they had skipped the position as guitarist and instead gone for the straight keyboard approach but on "Spyglass guest" they (at least partially) filled the spot for the six string. Clem Clemson entered and the sound was enlarged, rather than enriched. (Seeing they already filled the soundscape to the max, as I have already stated, just by using keyboards.)

The album is very warm and inviting. Lush and majestic keyboards, gorgeous vocal harmonies and interesting ideas makes this album a very enjoyable experience. It goes through so many genres and nods to musical fancies one stands amazed. The music of Greenslade was always playful and "Spirit of the dance", the opener, is just that. A very playful, almost classical, piece that sets the mode and tone of the album. It is a lovely piece that gallops away and shifts direction and pace through it's five minute duration. The follow up, "Little red fry-up", is a nod to jazz-rock and is quintessentially british in every sense. "Rainbow" is a lovely little thing starting with the presence of thunderous rain and ominous keyboards but is soon transformed into a beautiful ballad-y sort of song. Wonderful vocal harmonies! Brilliant. "Siam seesaw" sees Greenslade rock out a bit and it is a number high in energy and works so well as contrast to "Rainbow" and the next and longest track, "Joie de vivre". This 8 minutes and 30 seconds long opus is the best piece on the album and is quite extraordinary. My only complaint is that the opening chords reminds me a bit too much of "Stand by me", made famous by (among others) the soulsinger Ben E. King. But that is soon over and done with, when a very british sounding melody enters with the whole band adding texture and layers of wonderful music. Just lean back and enjoy. This is masterclass and brilliance in a nutshell. "Red light" is a jazzy, very groovy piece that is followed by "Melancholic race". The latter is a brilliant example of exquisite jazz rock that goes from smooth and soothing to high energy excursions. The last piece is the least interesting and in my opinion the only track that feels out of place. I love "Theme from an imaginary western" but it had and has been done better by others, ironically enough by Colosseum. It's not bad but it's not great either. It's okay and I thank God it comes last, to avoid it crashing the party and disrupting the enormous flow of the album.

I could argue that this album is flawless and I could have held that position come rain or snow, had it not been for "Theme for an imaginary western". It seems out of place. Apparently the band had other material, penned by members of the group, ready for recording but as it all played out they went for this cover song, funnily the only cover the band recorded. But, enough of that. "Spyglass guest" is a wonderful, very british sounding, playful, joyful, adventurous, exciting, fun, highly accomplished, creative, complex, accessible and loving album. One of my favorites, actually, and just as good as the previous efforts. If this sounds thrilling, do treat yourself to a great sitting that lasts a mere 39 minutes but that is a sitting that will keep you amused and leave you with a smile on your face.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Greenslade kept their early sound going on Spyless Guest, perhaps upping the Genesis influence up a tad but otherwise more or less remaining true to the approach of their first two albums. The end result is charming enough if you're fond of this flavour of prog - as I am - but at the same time it's not the sort of thing which will astonish or astound seasoned prog listeners who've already heard a lot of this sort of thing.

Their next release, Time and Tide, would show a mild stylistic shift, and whilst that had a bit of a mixed reception, on balance that was probably a sound move, because four albums in this approach would be stretching it - and for some listeners, three may already be pushing it a bit.

Latest members reviews

3 stars It's okay. There is a good mix of singing and instrumentals although pretty much every song is to short on here. The singing has backup a lot of the times and is less loud then on previous albums. If you disliked lawsons vocals on other albums this one might acclimate one to his voice as it i ... (read more)

Report this review (#2580383) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album is almost tolerable but its so far away from being an outstanding record. "Spirit of the Dance" (2.25 out of 5.00) The album opens with this instrumental track. Nothing out of this world; A tolerable one, well played and moderately enjoyable. "Little red Fry-up" (1.75 out of 5.00) ... (read more)

Report this review (#805194) | Posted by raul_siberian | Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars OK, I will not go into describing each song or something like that, I just want to put on words what I experiment every time I hear this album: its just AMAZING!!! A little bit of background: I know very little about Colosseum, have not heard much, but I'm not too much into brass in my prog rock ... (read more)

Report this review (#171181) | Posted by songo | Friday, May 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Greenslades third is a quite jazzy effort, it sometimes reminds me of Steely Dan for some reason. (Altough I barely remember how they sounded.) Especially the songs written by Dave Lawson applies to this. I ususally don't like the sound of Rhodes/Fender pianos but here the two Daves (Greenslad ... (read more)

Report this review (#104152) | Posted by Frasse | Friday, December 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think this album gets an unfair rap: it is patchy, with Greenslade and Lawson starting to drift apart, but contains several classic moments in the band's canon: Joie de Vivre is an excellent mid-length prog epic with (perhaps unusually for Greenslade) some good vocal themes, and Theme for an ... (read more)

Report this review (#59405) | Posted by porteri | Wednesday, December 7, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The third work of GREENSLADE released in 1974 "Spyglass Guest". Dave Greenslade aims at a classical, pastoral music. On the other hand, the work of Dave Lawson overflows a peculiar pop sense. It is easy to listen to the performance overall. The charm of attractive and the ensemble retreated a ... (read more)

Report this review (#57089) | Posted by braindamage | Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My favourite album from this band created from keyboard player Dave Greenslade agree with bass player Tony Reeves both from Colosseum. Greenslade decided to give his band a very keyboard orientated sound so that decided to join Dave Lawson and get along without a guitar player, but, compaired to ... (read more)

Report this review (#56132) | Posted by magog | Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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