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Lucifer's Friend

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Lucifer's Friend Banquet album cover
3.92 | 184 ratings | 17 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spanish Galleon (11:50)
2. Thus Spoke Oberon (6:44)
3. High Flying Lady-Goodbye (3:40)
4. Sorrow (11:36)
5. Dirty Old Town (4:46)

Total Time 38:36

Bonus track on 1975 LP & 2015 remaster:
6. Our World Is a Rock 'n' Roll Band (3:18)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Lawton / lead vocals
- Peter Hesslein / electric, acoustic & 12-string guitars, percussion, backing vocals
- Peter Hecht / organ, piano, Fender Rhodes, Moog, horn & string arrangements
- Dieter Horns / bass, backing vocals
- Herbert Bornhold / drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Herb Geller / alto & soprano (1) saxophones, flute (4)
- James Last Orchestra (members) / strings & horns
- Dave Brian / chorus vocals
- Elvira Herbert / chorus vocals
- Sheila McKinley / chorus vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Sebastian F.B. Dietrich (photo)

LP Vertigo ‎- 6360 618 (1974, Germany)
LP Passport Records - PPSD-98012 (1975, US) With a bonus track

CD Repertoire Records ‎- IMS 7017 (1994, Germany)
CD Repertoire Records ‎- REPUK 1274 (2015, Europe) Remastered with a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy LUCIFER'S FRIEND Banquet Music

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Banquet ratings distribution

(184 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Banquet reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The band has pushed towards prog nature in their music in this album. This album is truly prog. My longtime favorite song is "Sorrow" which has a strong melody and excellent songwriting. I like the way Lawton sings in this track combined with stunning lead guitar with jazzy organ sound. The orchestration as background enriches this track. The incorporation of brass / woodwind instruments in this track has made complex yet enjoyable music. One thing I need to emphasize is the transitions between music segments where different instrument takes the lead on solo (especially guitar and organ) has been created smoothly. The way brass section arranged is totally different with typical brass-based band like CHICAGO or BLOOD SWEAT and TEARS. Probably, the way brass section is arranged reminds me to CHASE.

This album has 5 tracks of which 3 of them were co-written by Lawton and Hesslein. One track is jointly written by Lawton, Hesslein and Horns. One track "Thus Spoke Oberon" is written by Bacardi / O'Brian Docker. The opening track "Spanish Galleon" is composed nicely. Listening to the intro of this track may create an impression of latin- rock music similar to SANTANA's. But when the organ sound enters, it sounds differently.

It's an excellent work by the band. I give FIVE STAR for these 3 tracks for great songwriting and composition: "Spanish Galleon", "Thus Spoke Oberon" and "Sorrow". Overall, I recommend you to have this album in your prog collection. It's a different kind of prog. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Carl floyd fan
5 stars Energetic jazz/rock which is very upbeat and moving. Everything about the albums blows me away and I am very glad I found it, so should you! Are there any weak points you may ask? Granted some 5 star albums have a weak point or two (making it a 4.75 in all honesty, but I round up) but there are no real weak points.
Review by b_olariu
5 stars What a stunning album is Banquet. A truly amazing symphonic album with a jazzy elements and a great brass section. Every track is quite enjoyble to me, but the forte ones are the opening piece Spanish galleon and Sorrow, the longest tracks from here. The incorporation of brass section combined with great keys and guitars and a solid voice of John Lawton made this album to be a masterpiece of the '70's, at least for me. Transitions between music segments where the instruments take the lead are very well done, specially the keys and guitars. After all this album has nothing to do with early works of Lucifer's Friend, witch are more rough, more hevy prog, than this one. Here the sound and the entire album, musicaly speaking is much mature and deserve to be included in top of the most amazing albums of the '70's. So a 5 stars for this great and never old album.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Thus spoke Lucifer's Friend

As I said in my review of the band's third album, the Metal purist's interest in Lucifer's Friend is (probably?) limited to the band's two first albums; the Heavy Metal of the self-titled debut and the equally heavy but at the same time very progressive Where The Groupies Killed The Blues. But the present album, though no longer describable as Metal, is nothing short of brilliant! The material here is every bit as strong as on those earlier great albums but it is very different in nature. This great Prog Rock album is filled to the brim with electric pianos, synthesizers, strings and, particularly, brass arrangements in addition to the usual Rock instruments! All the instruments are exceptionally well played and the vocals are simply outstanding. The British lead vocalist John Lawton was later recruited to join Uriah Heep, but the funny thing is that several of Lucifer's Friend's albums, including the present one, are much better and far more interesting than anything Uriah Heep ever did (with or without Lawton)!

The fact that this band was based in Germany (though John Lawton was British) could make you believe that this is Krautrock. Nothing could be further from the truth. This has a British Symphonic Prog sound to it.

As implied, Banquet is quite different from Lucifer's Friend's earlier albums. This is less heavy and more jazzy (though not at all in a Jazz-Rock/Fusion way ? this is still very much a Rock album. The electric guitars are more concerned with solos than riffs here. Lucifer's Friend were never content to stay within one musical style, but always preferred to move on to new territories with each subsequent album. This is one great album, severely underrated and definitely an excellent addition. The only song that might not be too interesting is the short High-Flying Lady Goodbye.

Very highly recommended!

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The sparkling write-ups this album often gets baffle me I'm afraid, and the goat-sacrificing image these guys have is even less apparent, at least in the music. Though sometimes heavy and sporadically prog, it offers surprisingly little heavy progressive rock. I must be missing something. Yes, that must be it.

At least that was my first impression. As it turns out, this group's fourth release is not that bad. In fact it's pretty damn cookin'. Opener and revealingly-titled 'Our World is a Rock 'n Roll Band' is just fine; well-recorded and arranged with bright horns and lush strings, the band swinging tightly with a rave-up sensibility tempered by commercial sophistication, the center melting apart with Peter Hecht's Fender piano, John Lawton's solid vocals, Dieter Horns's pulsing bass and a snappy drum break from Herbert Bornhold. Eleven-minute 'Spanish Galleon' is similar but with higher energy and cinematics, numerous changes and undoubtedly qualifies as progressive rock. The huge 'Thus Spoke Oberon' is Hair-like musical theater filled with enormous energy that pours through, and 'High Flying Lady Goodbye' loses us a bit with sugary vocals but is revived by robust 12-minute 'Sorrow', a popping horn arrangement in the manner of Blood,Sweat & Tears and maybe unintentional flashes of mid-period U.F.O.

A different kind of Prog that puts emphasis on the soul, contemporary beats, cheesy orchestration and clashing styles of the mid 1970s, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Fourth album from this German band with an? English vocalist (and not one of the least). The problem with this band is that their great debut was never confirmed. From a four stars rating they dropped to two in my books with their "Rock'n'Roll Singer" stuff. And I can tell you that this "Banquet" is no feast at all. At least I feel so.

The long opening song ("Spanish Galleon") holds some good (but so damned short) guitar moments la Carlos but it paves the way for the whole. Namely: a brass section that I can't stand. But these instruments were never too much a passion of mine (and never will).

Where did the great and heavy rock from this band go to? Not on this album, that's for sure! If you thought that the weak opening song was a mistake, it was not. Unfortunately: the awful "Thus Spoke Oberon" is a perfect confirmation of this feeling. A short guitar solo (soon covered by these stupid brasses) is the only good moment. Some thirty seconds out of almost seven minutes. Big deal!

It was quite a disappointment to listen to this work but as I have said, the creativity / originality declined seriously after their debut. A good option would have been to call it quit after such a great piece of music; as many, many Italian bands did. But they decided to go through. Unfortunately.

The bottom low and almost ridiculous "High flying Lady ? Goodbye" only highlights this feeling. How is it possible to release such a song? Just bear in mind that the band was categorized in the heavy prog style? We are far, very far away from the genre with this "Banquet" album.

Don't expect the second long song from this offering to save the bill. "Sorrow" is just another soft jazzy number with little appeal as far as I am concerned. Excellent vocals (but this can be experienced throughout the album) are really the only positive point.

This has NOTHING to do with heavy prog. Two stars is my maximum rating. Below average music it is. No prog and little rock. What else???

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars Prog Rock: The Musical

Ever wondered how that would turn out? Maybe BANQUET isn't the best representation of a ''prog musical'', but I hear a lot of theatre music that sounds so campy it works. Listen to ''Our World Is a Rock and Roll Band'' and try not to imagine ''Chicago'' (the musical, although the band might also come to mind). I also see the high octane dance number in ''High Flying Lady-Goodbye'' and the cheeky finale in ''Dirty Old Town''. Then again, I've performed in numerous community theatre productions so I have that kind of bias.

But with three campy musical numbers, are we still dealing with prog rock? To an extent. ''Thus Spoke Oberon'' is the big prog track both in sound and development. The beautiful piano and orchestra parts bring the pomp while the faster paced middle section most closely depicts the Lucifer's Friend of old; one that can let a mean guitar solo go.

There's also two longer numbers that are more jazz fusion with a good Broadway vibe to them. You can easily dance to the vocal sections, yet there's plenty of space for the musicians and brass orchestra to breathe. Bassist Dieter Horns makes great use of the space; listen to some of the licks in ''Spanish Galleon''. And I have not once mentioned how powerful and dominating the vocals of John Lawton are. Rarely matched in the rock world, Lawton is a terribly underrated vocalist that brings life to the whole album.

It's a ton more enjoyable if you get a mental picture of a Broadway show while you spin BANQUET. Lucifer's Friend as a band came from a heavier rock sound earlier in their career, but they seem to have stripped most of it away for BANQUET. Not head-banging but toe-tapping, and certainly one of the most unique prog rock experiences. I have to restrain the rating though, because the showtune-y sound many of the numbers have might be off putting to many prog fans.

Review by Warthur
3 stars It seems that in the process of making Banquet Lucifer's Friend must have been listening to a lot of early Santana, because opening track Spanish Galleon - one of the album's two major centrepieces - sounds uncannily like Santana's Latin-infused jazzy psychedelic rock. Although Lucifer's Friend are mainly known as trailblazers for metal, this album really isn't that heavy, but it's still a grand showcase for Peter Hesslein's guitar skills and in general offers an interesting listen which expands and builds on the sort of musical territory Santana had opened up on their first four or so albums. Not essential, but not one to overlook by any means.
Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Artwork, yes. The principle idea behind the cover would be or should be to point out the direction of the music housed within. At least one might argue that the artwork ought to do just that. If you don't know anything about Lucifer's Friend you are truly forgiven for thinking that these leatherclad (apparently) metalheads on the cover must be the birthgivers to some of the most hardhitting heavy metal of the day. And not only that, they may well be participants in some occult order, practicing witchcraft and summoning the Devil at their will. If you listen or have listened to the first album by the group you might guess according to your knowledge that the heavy metal line of music is exactly what the guys play but you are mistaken. Not sadly mistaken but mistaken nevertheless.

Heavy prog was the bands genre on the first two albums. Then they changed direction. Progressive they remained but in another way. This, their fourth, is not very much hard rock but is instead one of the most accomplished jazzrock albums I have heard, and I've actually listened quite alot to that genre. The fact that pure hardrock is almost entirely missing from the album does not mean it is any less powerful. The songs on this album are extremely energetic and just as majestic, muscular and forceful as any hardrock album from the day. To me this is the most focused of all Lucifer's Friend albums I have heard. It's like everything came to them in a haze of divine inspiration. Each and every instrument is something to marvel at and follow. Just listen to the bass player, for instance. He works his way up and down that neck like there's no tomorrow. And you mustn't forget the utterly brilliant vocalist John Lawton. Man, what a voice.

Out of the five tracks on this album three are five star songs in my book. "Spanish galleon" with it's pirate themed imagery, "Thus spoke Oberon" and "Sorrow" are mindblowing examples of jazzrock and rank (according to me) alongside the supposedly greatest in the genre. I do not think it's possible to make greater jazzrock than this, actually. Out of the two remaining tracks one is merely okay and the other one great. "High-flying lady goodbye" (2 stars) is somewhat in the Status Quo vein and the closing "Dirty old town" (4) is a ballad-y but energetic song. Quite a good way to end an album of such sparkling and powerful music.

Sorry to say Lucifer's Friend really never hit these heights again. This was and is their greatest moment. And what a statement it is! I have loved this album for the last 20 odd years and it feels as vibrant and engaging now as it did back then. If you like jazzrock (Chicago, If, Blood Sweat and Tears, Colosseum and so on...) I bet you will find things on this album to cherish. If you bought this album thinking it would be filled to the brim of heavy metal, don't be too disappointed. Listen to it with an open mind and I'll bet you just might reconsider.

Had it not been for "High-flying lady goodbye" I just might have considered giving this album five stars but as it stands I'll give it four. Still, a marvellous album by a sometime marvellous band.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. "Banquet" the fourth album by LUCIFER'S FRIEND is another change in musical direction to more of a proggy, at times jazzy, definitely lighter brand of music. Even John Lawton's vocals are softer and they sound so much better on those first two albums. I notice a lot of Prog fans rate this very high and to be honest I think the compositions are the best of their careers which has me torn because I do enjoy this album but I also find there's stuff that bothers me. They brought in a guest sax/flute player along with the James Last orchestra and extra singers.

I much prefer the more stripped down version of this band and all of that attitude that came with it on those first two albums. Even the opening section of the almost 12 minute "Spanish Galleon" bugs me, not because I don't like it but it sounds just like SANTANA so not very original of course. Also after the SANATANA vibe leaves we get blasting horns that is one of my pet peeves, it just sounds lame. The song does get better after this and it's quite adventerous.

I'm not big on the poppy chorus on "Thus Spoke Oberon" but it's pretty good overall. We get a short and catchy track called "High Flying Lady-Goodbye" with some blasting horns and lots of energy. The over 11 minute "Sorrow" is my least favourite for a number of reasons. The horns, the orchestral sounds, ballad-like vocals earlier but as usual there's something I enjoy like the opening drumming and the electric piano. The closer "Dirty Old Town" is okay but rather forgettable.

Hard to believe this is the same band that did their 1972 debut and the followup "Where The Groupies Killed The Blues" the following year. Still this is impressive and most rate it high.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Heavy prog? More like light jazz: 6/10 What do you think that would be the world's reaction if BLACK SABBATH, on their fourth album, decided to swap their sonority to jazz fusion? In short terms, this is what happened here. Heavy & doom metal (too) forerunners LUCIFER'S FRIEND took no time to ... (read more)

Report this review (#1745596) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Sunday, July 23, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If there ever was an album where big-band brass met the symphonic mastery of progressive rock while still retaining a hard-rock candy surface, "Banquet" was probably it. This is the sound of a band that has finally struck a balance between what it wants to do and what it aspires to reach, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#219697) | Posted by Anteater | Wednesday, June 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Having been hit for six by Deep Purple's In Rock at the tender age of 15 and thereby shaking off the classic music shackles I had been brought up with, I was always on the lookout for something having the same vibe. This album fit the bill, not in terms of structure, there are only rudimentar ... (read more)

Report this review (#168602) | Posted by npjnpj | Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Banquet by Lucifer's Friend is a diamond in the rough. I first heard "Thus Spoke Oberon" on the radio and went out to buy the album. Wow. It blew me away in 1975. I played it for my tennis teammates, and they dug it while playing whiffle ball on the lawn. "Spanish Galleon" with all its intrica ... (read more)

Report this review (#94473) | Posted by jeff mangelsdor | Saturday, October 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Banquet" is Lucifer's Friends progressive masterpiece. It has none of the heavy guitar and organ riffs of their debut album. Instead this album i filled with strings, electric piano and moog-syntheziser. It also has a much more laid back sound compared to the dark and haunting sound of the tw ... (read more)

Report this review (#39326) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars ThIS ALBUM is very touchy.The voice and the feeling of the entire album is a must. In the discography of Lucifer's friend,this is the best .Nothing is like this album.I have a lot of cd's in my collection but this album stay my favorite ... (read more)

Report this review (#28931) | Posted by | Tuesday, October 19, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With "BANQUET" LUCIFER'S FRIEND fourth offering,the band no doubt succeeded in captivating anyone with bold,daring listening tastes...The writing is just as intricate{as with their preivious three efforts}but with the added string and horn arrangements a whole new conciousness was achieved by ... (read more)

Report this review (#28930) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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