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CZAR

Czar

Eclectic Prog


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Czar Czar album cover
3.33 | 65 ratings | 9 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tread Softly On My Dreams(6:37)
2. Cecelia (8:12)
3. Follow Me (3:19)
4. Dawning Of A New Day (6:11)
5. Beyond The Moon (3:44)
6. Today (3:23)
7. A Day In September (7:56)

Total Time: 39:22
Bonus tracks: CD counterfeit: Fingerprint (1995)
8. Oh Lord I'm Getting Heavy
9. Why Don't We Be A Rock 'N Roll Band



Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Del Gough / drums
- Bob Hodges / keyboards, vocals
- Paul Kendrick / bass, vocals
- Mick Ware / guitar, vocals

Releases information

LP Fontana 6309 009 / CD counterfeit: Fingerprint (1995) / CD Progressive Line, PL538, (2002)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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CzarCzar
Sunbeam Records 2007
Audio CD$10.90
$20.41 (used)
Czar by CZAR (2007-08-21)Czar by CZAR (2007-08-21)
Sunbeam Records
Audio CD$48.98

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CZAR Czar ratings distribution


3.33
(65 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
20%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (34%)
34%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

CZAR Czar reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another lost band that deserves more attention as their music can be categorized under progressive rock boundary. Well, I got this CD couple months ago altogether with another lost band ODIN, but got no chance to review their album yet. ODIN actually has been featured in this site long time ago but I just found CZAR last night. Thanks to Max and the Admin Group of Progarchives that have made it featured in this website!

CZAR music is I think a blend of Procol Harum, The Beatles and Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett era) or I would simply say it's a psychedelic prog rock. In terms of structure, their music is quite straight forward like typical rock music structure. Melody-wise there are some similarities with classic band at their generation (late sixties and seventies). The composition comprises the use of keyboard / mellotrons / organs that represent the tradition of early prog music. Even though the sonic quality is not top notch, but it's still quite OK with my ears. Even this kind of sound has its unique nuance to indicate the early prog era. Overall, CZAR music is accessible to most listeners. For those who followed the early inception of prog music in the rock music industry in the seventies, this is an excellent addition to any prog collection, I would say.

The band's line-up consist of : Del Gough (drums); Bob Hodges (piano, mellotron, organ, harpsicord, vocals) , Paul Kendrick (bass, vocals) and Mick Ware (guitar, vocals ). You may not be familiar with any musician in this band. Probably they are no longer a musician nowadays.

Let's have look in great detail .

"Tread Softly on My Dreams" opens the album with an intro part that is 99.99% similar (or I can say it "the same") with Procol Harum's "Homburg". Well, it's unclear to me which came first as I learned from my discussion with progheads that actually Procol Harum did not also make the melody by their own and this "Homburg" was heavily influenced (or probably "adopted") from a classical music. I do not know about it yet as I'm not an explorer of true classical music. But it only happens at the intro part and some repetition in the middle of this track. Overall this is a good track.

"Cecelia" flows in the vein of psychedelic with heavy use of organ throughout the tune. This organ has mainly characterized this song - or even all CZAR music is heavily characterized by the sound of organ. The music flows relatively flat and simple with some accentuation of nice and very seventies organ style. The stricture is simple, using duet voice line with some variations or harpsicord sound. The drummer Del Gough has made good contribution. The guitar solo is simple but really stunning especially combined with the rhythm section of this track. It's truly the "seventies music" man!! For those who like psychedelic, you might love this track. It's an excellent track. This track passes the test on duration of any prog tune that by rule of thumbs were defined as 7-8 minute. It's probably a wrong number but that's what happened in the seventies.

"Follow Me" (3:19) is an outfit that very close with the style of Pink Floyd "The Piper ." album. It's completely a psychedelic venture. You can smell an influence of The Beatles and Procol Harum here. This time guitar takes the lead in the rhythm section as well as short melody / solo in transitions or in the middle of the track. Organ is used lightly with soft sound at background or accentuation during transition pieces.

"Dawning of a New Day" starts off with simple guitar fills with organ at background. It's a ballad song with nice acoustic and electric guitars. Melody is relatively nice and it flows with the voice line, accentuated by the electric guitar work. When organ solo enters the scene it really reminds me to the seventies where the sound of Procol Harum was very popular. Solo guitar performed is very simple but it's enjoyable especially when it is combined with a mellotron sound at the background.

"Beyond the Moon" is another simple structure psychedelic tune in the vein of PF "The Piper .". It seems like I'm now enjoying Syd Barrett creation through this track. If you enjoy "The Piper" you will love this track!

"Today" is a mellow track that in a way reminds me to "A Whiter Shades of Pale" at its intro part. The vocal line sings in high register notes and reminds me to Babe Ruth or Pavlov's Dog singers. It's a nice track with guitar plays as rhythm combined with organ.

"A Day in September" is relatively a long track with more prog venture. It starts off with a combination of bassline and organ followed with guitar fills. The music turns into faster tempo with organ sound in crescendo followed by duet vocal line. The track really turns into prog when it enters approx min 3:40 where the organ brings the music into an interlude that demonstrates guitar solo. I really enjoy this interlude. Sometimes, I can smell the sound of The Doors in this track as well.

The original seven tracks made up into 39 minutes duration; and to fill the CD leftover there are two bonus tracks included in the CD package.

"Oh Lord I'm Getting Heavy" is a blues based pop tune with some brass section involved. Organ still plays important role as main rhythm section. "Why Don't We Be a Rock 'n Roll Band" is probably representing the band's yell to be a successful rock band. It's composed in a pop rock vein. It has a good interlude with great guitar solo. The repetition of title lyrics in this tune has made me feel boring. The sonic quality of these two bonus tracks are not good.

Overall Recommendation

For those of you who really want to explore "what was there" in the beginning saga of progressive music, this CD could be your excellent addition to any prog. But overall to give this CD with 4 stars is I think risking me for being "too naïve". Well, comparing what was available in the market during the time this album was released (where King Crimson had released "In The Court .." a year before), I would give a 2 ½ stars rating. [Oh by the way, the CD package is poor, so do not expect that it has great design!] Keep on progging!

Yours progressively,

GW - Indonesia.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Many bands had a moment in the sun, a period, album, popular song or even just a few passages notable to fans. Some of these innovations may even have been imitated by other, greater musicians in their rise to the top. Flattering but of little consolation to the struggling group, ignored by the very people in charge of promoting them, a band destined to be forgotten until decades later when their painfully rare LP is proclaimed to be 'collectible'. All of these things are true of Czar, a perfectly innocent and capable heavy art band that released this one and only seven-cut record in 1970. That is not to say they would have flourished otherwise. The band was very good, but not great. The fact is that with organ-grinder Bob Hodges liberal use of mellotron, Derrick Gough's tough drumming, Mick Ware's soulful and slightly off guitar and the iron-heavy bass of Paul Kendrick, what you got was an excellent try at progressive rock during a free-minded but difficult time to be a professional musician. Consequently it is a perfect if ignorable slice of what was happening during that exciting period in English underground rock.

Things start promisingly with a neat 'tron phrase from Hodges for 'Tread Softly On My Dreams' and a decent vocal arrangement from the band though the song begins to lose air quickly. Things brighten for the Eastern flavored 'Cecilia' with more mellotron, organ and harpsichord. Slight tells of King Crimson but really more of a Who-minded energy here, with a weakness for the skirl of a Hammond and ragged acid blues. 'Follow Me' maintains the energy, though just as they seem perched to explode with something great they pull back, tack-on something formulaic and add flat vocals to what could have been quite nice, and the sleepy 'Dawning of a New Day' doesn't help. What must have been fairly modern-sounding 'Beyond the Moon' is an interesting bit, the eerily John Lennon-like 'Today' turns into one of the best cuts on the record and had hit potential, and they saved the best for last on 'A Day in September' with faint Nice-isms and a fun arrangement.

Quite interesting, and of historical merit. The 2007 reissue has eight bonus tracks of variable interest [two cuts from the single and six demos] and a good booklet with photos.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars CZAR came upon the Progressive scene fairly early releasing their sole album in 1970. For many this is somewhat of a minor mellotron classic as we get plenty of it on 5 of the 7 tracks.The album cover is ridiculous, just saying. I really enjoyed the opening two songs and the final tune but was left somewat disappointed with the remaining tracks.

"Tread Softly On My Dreams" has a nice heavy intro with mellotron. It settles some when the vocals arrive.The guitar starts to solo after 1 1/2 minutes and later after 4 1/2 minutes. The organ comes to the fore early on "Cecelia" and check out the mellotron.Vocals a minute in. We get a BEATLES flavour around 3 minutes then it's heavy again. Guitar after 4 1/2 minutes rips it up then the vocals return.The guitar is back again late.

The focus is on the vocals on "Follow Me" but this is fairly intense until the chorus comes in each time. Some good guitar late. "Dawning Of A New Day" is a song I can't get into.They slow it down here and vocals arrive a minute in.The guitar is the focus late. "Beyond The Moon" doesn't do much for me either. I'm reminded of THE BEATLES here too. "Today" is a ballad-like track. Not a fan. It does get better 2 minutes in as it gets fuller. "A Day In September" sounds great early as the organ floats in and it builds.Vocals before 2 minutes. Catchy stuff. A mid paced rhythm with guitar sounds excellent here especially when the vocals stop.

A good album that mellotron fans should enjoy.

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Originally known as Tuesday's Children, this British outfit belong to the one-shot club of progressive groups who made just a single album before vanishing into the deep dark hole of rock 'n' roll obscurity. Happily, however, Czar's self-titled debut is a real treat. Fans of heavy(ish) prog, organ-baked psychedelia and colourful early-seventies rock should no doubt warm to the album's seven powerful tracks, the combination of singer Paul Kendrick's cod-operatic vocals, Mick Ware's crunchy riffs and Bob Hodges meaty organ(!) not unlike an acid- dipped jam between early Deep Purple and fellow one-off heavy proggers Aardvark. The album starts strongly with the catchy histrionics of 'Tread Softly On My Dreams', one of those pieces that sounds like it should be a lot more famous than it actually is, whilst Hodges thickly-layered organs coat the slow-burning 'A Day In September' with an almost Pink Floyd-style ambience. Elsewhere, 'Today' fires up a nice mixture of mystical blues and lysergic pop melodies, whilst the excellent 'Dawning Of A New Day' features some scintillating guitar shredding from Ware. As we all know, the oft-used tag 'lost classic' is banded about all too readily in these post-CD, 21st century reissue days, and half the time the album's were 'lost' for a reason. 'Czar', however, deserves it's readmission into the musical arena after thirty-odd years of obscurity and comes highly recommended. Ballsy, energetic and highly enjoyable hard-edged prog, its a pity that Czar didn't get the breaks they needed first time around. A real pity.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Czar were kind of an obscure band, released their self titled album in 1970 and soon broke up. Listed here under eclectic prog is definitely a mistake, they belong better in the heavy prog section. The band's sound is a heavy mix between guitars and mellotron, but actually nothing special in both departments, although the guitar has it's moments with some good solos. rhythm section doesn't shine too much and is pretty usual. Vocals seems to be the one element they put an extra effort in, and are done ok with some backing vocals too. It seems they drew their influences from bands like The Beatles and The Moody Blues regarding the vocals, but the music reminds me more of Beggars Opera or some Deep Purple at times. The songs are not bad but are quite simple, following a clear line and does not evolve too much, except for some moments the band is not trying to be progressive. Potential is definitely there but it was not fully fulfilled. As many times as i listened to this, the music just never seem to grab me, and left me mainly unimpressed.

The album opens up with two of their best songs which are also their progiest. 'Tread softly on my dreams' and 'cecelia' are quite good and shows the band is capable of writing some interesting songs and can produce a powerful sound. The first has a progy riff and some good vocals, the guitar has a good solo, sounds very hard rocking 70's stuff, i love it. The second has a wicked start really terrific with some great keys and more powerful guitar, may be the best cut out of this album. The rest of the album is pretty uninspired and sometimes boring, it seems they lost their punch in places they should have used it, the melodies are not so good which leaves the songs to be nothing more than some plane 70's rock songs, even the last 8 minute song which was supposed to be another prog song, contains nothing special inside. I found out i enjoy their music mainly when the guitar by Mick Ware is soloing which seems to lift the song a little bit., but this is hardly enough.

It is a real shame this album turned to be a flop, since i did enjoy the first couple of songs, the rest of the album has some nice moments but nothing that i was impressed by. For you who likes heavy prog there are far better albums in this genre. Another thing is the front cover, horrible to say the least. My rating is 2.5 rounded down to 2 stars, again the songs are not bad, but i don't like them and have no desire to listen to this again. I'm sure some of you would like this better than me, the potential is there.

Review by ALotOfBottle
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A multitude of underground acts from the UK recorded their debut albums (in plenty of cases their only albums) at the turn of the 70's only to break-up soon after. After many decades, thanks to the undeniable power of the internet, we have learned to rediscover, recognize and appreciate many of these bands. Gracious, Cressida, Gnidrolog, Arcadium - this is just a microscopic fraction of such groups. Among them was Czar. Originally called Tuesday's Children, they played alongside Pink Floyd, King Crimson and The Moody Blues. Eventually, they recorded only one self-titled album before disappearing from the music scene.

Czar's sound is strongly shaped by many of their contemporaries (especially, the previously mentioned bands they supported). Heavily rooted in blues rock, the group uses heavy rhythms as canvas for building up more progressive material, in vein of Procol Harum or The Moody Blues. Almost of the songs sound very familiar, without falling into a category of rock cliches. The most essential ingredients to Czar's sound are a Mellotron, which is uniquely used in a heavy rock scenario, a distorted guitar, which has many solo parts throughout this work, clean, polyphonic harmony vocals and exceptionally heavy drumming.

"Tread Softly On My Dreams", the opening track is, in my book, the most representative of the band. I feel like the rest of the tracks, with an exception of "Cecilia" and "A Day In September", are rather dull, repetative and uninteresting. There are some enjoyable moments, of course, but it seems like not much emphasis has been put on the technical and compositional aspects. That's a shame, because Czar did have quite a distinct and interesting sound.

Overall, the only album that a British heavy prog act Czar left behind is an interesting effort and deserves more attention. However, I feel like this record a bit lacking in places. Who knows, maybe if Czar had more time and a bigger budget, these flaws wouldn't be so visible. What I know is, that this record will make a great addition to a collection of every heavy progressive rock or proto-prog fan. Three stars!

Latest members reviews

4 stars For anyone who is interested Mike Ware lead guitar with Czar was also in legendary bands such as Tuesday's Children in the sixties along with Phil Cordell (Springwater, Dan the Banjo Man) and after Czar kind of split he joined a later version of Consortium (ex West Coast Consortium), he also r ... (read more)

Report this review (#84817) | Posted by progrocks | Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars One of many groups from the very start of psychedelic and progressive era that soon disappeared after releasing one album under its name, thus becoming a collectors item. Interesting music, mostly based on rock, which I would not call progressive, but styled (so called art rock). First listeni ... (read more)

Report this review (#81548) | Posted by cedo | Tuesday, June 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is one of the most legendary and expensive (nearly 1000 dollars) of the early British progressive albums and in terms of musical quality this is also about the best that it ever gets. An absolute masterpiece! The group were a quartet of Mick Ware, Del Gough, Bob Hodges, and Paul Ken ... (read more)

Report this review (#38976) | Posted by | Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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