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Ramses La Leyla album cover
3.83 | 59 ratings | 8 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1
1. Devil Inside (4:45)
2. La Leyla (7:25)
3. Garden (5:03)
Side 2
4. War (6:25)
5. Someone Like You (8:13)
6. American Dream (5:00)

Total Time: 36:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Hans D. Klinkhammer / bass
- Norbert Langhorst / guitars
- Winfried Langhorst / keyboards, vocals
- Herbert Natho / vocals
- Reinhard Schröter / drums, percussion

Releases information

LP Sky records-SKY 002-Germany 1976 / LP Annuit Coeptis Music AC-1002

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RAMSES La Leyla ratings distribution

(59 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

RAMSES La Leyla reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
4 stars Another German prog rock band from the mid to late '70s, this is their debut album. Basically another band in the ELOY, GROBSCHNITT, NOVALIS vein, and like those bands (save NOVALIS), RAMSES sung in English. Anyway, the music is pretty decent prog rock with some great spacy keyboards (synthesizers, Mellotron, Solina string synth) and great guitar work. Without a doubt, my favorite cuts here are "Devil Inside", the title track, and "American Dream". The title track features some totally mindblowing Mellotron work (the tron set to choir on that part) that lasts just too damn short in the middle part. But strangely this album did have an American release. In Germany, the album was released on the then-new Sky label (which I heard signed bands the Brain label rejected). Here in the United States, it was released on a crap label called Annuit Coeptis (a label that apparently went bust so fast that they gave away the remaining inventory for free - in fact some copies of LPs on this label, RAMSES included, had the word "Free" written in pinholes). Also the American LP replaces the song "War" with "Noise". Basically it's "War" but with the lyrics changed, this time with an environmental theme to it (they probably did that because the Vietnam War was still too fresh in American minds in 1976), and with the background sounds changed to the sounds of jets flying overhead. Regardless, this is one of the more aggressive numbers on the album, with great, early '70s Hammond organ, almost in the DEEP PURPLE or ATOMIC ROOSTER vein. There are a couple of songs that just don't work, like "Someone Like You", which is simply repetitive. "Garden" is also repetitive, but works better, so it's not so bad. "La Leyla" falls short of being a classic of German prog, but still worth having.
Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars In the late Seventies I discovered a record-shop in my hometown The Hague selling German progressive rock. So I started to spent al my money on LP's from GROBSCHNITT, TRIUMVIRAT, NOVALIS, JANE, ELOY and HOELDERLIN. One of my all time favourites is the album "La Leyla" (1976) from RAMSES, this is their best effort from the three records they released. Don't expect elaborate or inventive compositions or amazing solo work, this music is based upon sensitive electric guitar play and a variety of 'classic' keyboards like Hammond organ, Mellotron, the string-ensemble and 'vintage synthesizers'. Enjoy the soaring and sumptuous climates, the beautiful interplay between guitar and keyboards and the warm English vocals with that typical, a bit charming German accent. The lyrics are drenched into the Seventies, from love to war (anti-Vietnam). If you are, like me, a 'vintage-keyboard aficionado", don't miss this one. Wunderbar!
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This is another one of my old vinyl collection.

At the time of release, I was rather eager to discover what was called in Belgium (and maybe in other countries as well) "Eurock". In those remote days, there was a fanzine in Belgium called "More" co-founded by Piero (one of the best-known rock critics over here). I remember that they once published an overview of the Eurock production and that's how I discovered a review of this album. And there I go on my way to Metrophone (the best record store in Brussels - Belgium? -at that time to find special releases at a discount price).

I have listened to this album an awful lot of times. It features extremely melodic songs with lush keyboards and aerial vocals. Fully symphonic even is a song like "Devil Inside" sounds more aggressive.

The next two songs of this album are my favourites ones. They are such a great condensed version of the music I like (well part of the music I like, actually). Sweet and peaceful vocals (almost good ones, which is to be mentioned for a mid-seventies German band), strong keys domination and a performant bass and drum play plus a very special guitar sound. Extremely personal. Actually I have never heard such a sound so far.

The first side of this album is really great. The second one will be a bit weaker but really it would have been difficult to do better. But don't expect complex and excentric music of course.

Ramses just displays simple structured music although "War" sounds like a protest song (mostly against the Vietnam war). It sounds much harder as well. Heavy keys a la Hensley (Uriah Heep FYI). Some synthetic "war" sounds (a la Butterfield Blues Band " during "Love March" at Woodstock) are featured during a savage instrumental break. The end of the song is fully optimistic since the war has turned into peace. Maybe a bit childish, unfortunately.

"Someone Like You" is probably one of the most symphonic of the whole. A spacey intro and a sublime guitar play when the song really starts. Some might find this a bit too much melancholic but I just love it. There is of course a good dosis of nostalgia in my words. But that's the way it is.

The closing number is more rocking. It reminds me furiously "The Knife" during the first part. Keys, drumming : very similar. This album is such a great trip back to the mid seventies (my youth) ! Still, it does not sound too old fashioned (well, maybe just a bit to be honest). I has been re-released in the form of a double CD in one package that includes Ramses's second album as well. I can only recommend it to you if you like gorgeous symphonic music. This album was sold at 20,000 copies.

I have not the faintest idea why this band falls under "Art Rock". Another PA mystery I guess.

Four stars.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Ramses' debut album borrows a great deal from classic early 1970s groups like IRON BUTTERFLY, DEEP PURPLE and URIAH HEEP in their liberal use of organ and hard rock and bluesy styles, but this is tempered with a German symphonic influence a la ELOY, so the result is pretty high on the listenability index, even if the lyrics are generally low on the poetic index.

Because this sounds older than it is, I am not surprised to hear anti-war sentiments in "War". But the song simply lacks an original approach and its "hook" is unconvincing. The best tracks here are the longest ones, the title cut and "Someone Like You" for their more developed song structure and space for expansion on guitar as well as keys. An additional plus is that the English vocals are very competent, though the audibility of the lyrics was perhaps ill conceived given their rudimentary nature. But even musically, little on this album has much "wow" factor, as well played as it generally is.

If you enjoy organ dominated small p progressive rock, this one is worth picking up. Just be prepared for its decidedly retro sound, even for 1976.

Review by ozzy_tom
5 stars It's really strange that this band isn't as famous as other giants of 70' progressive rock. I suppose their biggest problem was lack of "momentum". In 1976 progressive rock music started to significantly lose it's popularity in favor of punk rock, disco and other horrible creatures of late 70' music scene... If "Ramses" started his career few years earlier, now they would be equally famous as other German prog bands like Eloy or Jane and maybe even as popular as Yes or Genesis...who knows?

Anyway let's start the review of their debut - and IMHO - their best record ever. Lots of people unjustified compare them to early British art rock bands which based their music solely on Hammond organ sound. As far as I really love this early 70' British staff, I have to assure you that "Ramses" doesn't sound like them at all. Their music is much different, they offer richer sound with very good analog synths/mellotron arrangements and very important guitar presence (very similar to Frank Bornemann from "Eloy", lots of atmospheric leads and solos without even small sign of show-off).

1."Devil Inside" - very good opener. Very beautiful melodies played by guitarist in a bit sleepy mood are swimming in interesting synthesizer flights and soft mellotron waves. The vocal parts are also very good and atmospheric. No signs of typical "German" accent. I'd never guess that it's German band at all!

2."La Leyla" - this song begin with fantastic, 3 minutes guitar soloing (sounds like 2 electric guitars in the same time) based on rich keyboards (organ & Solina string ensemble) background. In fact keyboards aren't so much "background" in this fragment, it's more like crazy race or even battle between two instrumentalists! Splendid beginning. After 3 minutes music slows down, some flute tunes are presented (mellotron?) and Herbert Natho starts to sing in a very "moody", somehow "romantic" way with slightly falsetto choir in the background. In the second part of this composition Winfried Langhorst shows as also very good, melancholic Hammond organ solo.

3."Garden" - without any long intros (like in previous songs) "Garden" begin straight-to-the- point from Natho's vocal lines. This melancholic mid-tempo ballad which tell as a story about somebody's dream is really good and "catchy" (in a good sense of this word of course!). Your head will surely wave along with Langhorst's melodic synths. In the middle of the song another soft organ solo.

4."War" - the fastest, most dynamic composition with epic feeling (but in fact only 6:30 minutes long). Really memorable organ-guitar riff in the beginning doesn't leave any doubts that it will be very special moment of this album. I like the parts when music almost completely stops and vocalist sing his anti-war (but not in this he hippy-preaching style which I can't stand at all...) lyrics with only bass and drums sleepy background, than suddenly music starts again with all of its power. Refrain "War, everywhere, everywhere look around me" sing on the crunching Hammond's and guitar's riff can really make good impression on every rock lover. I also adore middle part of guitar/organ staccato (bridge? solos?) with very loud noises of exploding bombs and gun shots. Goose bumps!

5."Someone Like You" - the longest song of this record starts from very atmospheric synths and flute sounds which remind me mid 70' Eloy's music. Then electric guitar enters and together with organ waves leads very pretty, melancholic, yet a bit depressing song about somebody who's "too old" for love ("Better Leave me alone You're much too young for someone like me"). Sounds melodramatic and corny? Not when it's played by Ramses! I really dig this mostly slow-tempo track with it's sad lyrics, melancholic voice and almost crying "aaaaa" choir (a bit in the vain of Uriah Heep. And it's the only moment I can think about UH when I listen to this band. Really). As always middle part with beautiful synthesized string, mellotron sampled flute and atmospheric guitar is great.

6."American Dream" - this one seems to be the weakest track. However it also has it's moment. Pretty organ intro and outro, some Solina strings waves sounds good as always. The only problem is that vocal part isn't so interesting as in the previous tracks and it can sometimes drag a little.

To summarize I can say it's a real classic and probably the best German prog-rock album from the second part of seventies. I recommend it especially to symphonic rock lovers who listen to Yes and Genesis but aren't afraid of well arranged but not so long songs. For young progheads which grew on technical prog-metal this album maybe has to slow & melancholic pace to interested, them but I hope they will also find this record intriguing. Full blown, highly melodic symphonic prog rock full of good guitar and vintage keyboards sounds! It can deserves only 5 starts. Not less.

P.S. Their next album "Eternity Rise" is also very good and worth checking. Only melodies aren't so infectious this time.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Par.

After being a famous King of Egypt, an international preservative company, Ramses is also an obscure progressive band that is not ashamed of ripping off Nursery Cryme, Journey to the Center of the Eye and Moonmadness. Have your attorney ready!

The main problem is not the music: it goes from okay to good. Good flutes, very good Nektar guitar and Hackett solos, good variety of vintage synths.

The main problem is the lyrics. What?!? You heard me, I don't know who wrote this prose, but it's not higher than redneck poetry. Priceless lines like: 'You're much too young for me, babe...', 'Walking in a garden with only plastic dreams...', 'Don't listen to the devil inside, and you'll do what's good and people will be good to you..'. You just can't find this stuff anymore.

Apart from the large amount of laughter the lyrics can cause, it's still average music and could please the collector.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hannover-based Kraut Rock band, originally named Ramses II and found in 1972 by Hans-Jürgen Lammers (drums), Peter Klages (guitar), Bernd Probst (keyboards), Hans-Dieter Klinkhammer (bass) and Herbert Natho (vocals).The early years were characterized by several line-up changes, relulting to style's inconsistency, until brothers Norbert Langhorst (guitars) and Winfried Langhorst (keyboards, vocals) entered the picture in 1973.They were followed the next year by drummer Reinhard Schröter, who replaced former member Claus Arve.Along with Arve gone was also founding guitarist Peter Klages.Ramses were discovered by Günter Körber of the legendary Brain label, who signed the group to his independent label Sky.The debut of the band ''La Leyla'' was recorded at Conny Plank's Tonstudio in September/October 1975, produced by Jane's Klaus Hess and finally released in 1976.

Ramses re-invented the ELOY sound of the 1973-75 period, creating a grandiose, heavy-sounding and attacking Heavy/Kraut Rock mixed with some delicate symphonic textures with loads of keyboard workouts.Their style, while very far from being original, was remendously atmospheric and emphatic, characterized by strong and powerful grooves of a hypnotic approach full of organs and deep bass lines, along with ELOY's spacey textures with soaring synthesizers, laid-back guitars and mellow singing lines, while a pair of pieces are highlighted by the use of Mellotron flutes.The decent length of the tracks allowed the band to mix these styles with intelligence, but their music contained also lots of Symphonic Rock vibes, a bit like CAMEL's melodic material, although much more energetic.All tracks contain plenty of breaks and shifting moods, ranging from heavy organ/guitar passages to smooth and dreamy interludes of an instrumental variety.A couple of tracks even contain British-styled proggy influences, especially on the more harmonic moments, akin to CRESSIDA or FANTASY.

Very good debut indeed and definitely a must-have for all die-hard of the classic ELOY sound.Powerful, groovy but also demanding Progressive/Kraut Rock of great quality.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I have been reading reviews here for months and figured it was time I contribute, and can think of know better album to start with than Ramses' La Leyla. Everyone has one of those special albums. This is that album for me. I picked it up in a cut out bin in the early eighties. At that time th ... (read more)

Report this review (#65618) | Posted by zx2781 | Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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