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AUDIENCE

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Audience picture
Audience biography
Listed under Folk Rock, AUDIENCE consisted of Howard Werth, vocals/guitar, Keith Gemmell, sax/clarinet/flute, Tony Connor, drums and myself on bass. We ran from 1969 to 1972 and, although featuring acoustic guitar, were not exactly folky. I think we were more usually classified as art rock. When band folded, Howard joined The DOORS as replacement for Jim Morrison then went solo, Keith joined STACKRIDGE and later The PASADENA ROOF ORCHESTRA and I joined The NASHVILLE TEENS, then Jonathan Kelly's OUTSIDE. Tony joined HOT CHOCOLATE, where he has been ever since. The band has recently reformed with only one personnel change - that of John Fisher on drums.

We produced albums as per your list. A recent addition is "Unchained", which is a best-of with two additional unreleased tracks. The most lauded album was "House on the Hill".

: : : Trevor Williams (AUDIENCE), ENGLAND : : :


AUDIENCE was a London-based group that recorded their first album in 69 and had their eponymous debut pulled from the stores a few months after its release, which makes the album a major collectible (Cd versions were also hard to come by until a recent reissue). They got signed by Tony Stratton-Smith of the Charisma label ( GENESIS , VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, THE NICE and a few others) but although not a purely progressive group , they bore a lot of characteristics of the masters. Among which , a profound (and somewhat derangesome) singer whose voice reminds you a bit of PETER HAMMILL, a great wind players able to switch to from flutes to saxes and oboe and a bassist (who wrote the acknowledgement written above ) that doubled on KBs but those remain discreet.

Three more albums were released under the Charisma label , and Friend's Friend's Friend is easily their best although the much-better known House On The Hill is equal in quality , both featuring tight frenetic and high-energy rock but also virtuosity and inventiveness. No real long epics , but plenty of space for all musicians to expand themselves and minor classic tracks like "Raid" , "Jackdaw" , "Priestess" and "House On The hill" can be called minor classic in their own right. Then , the band seemed to want to take things a step further by adding three extra musicians ( a KbB and two reed men) writing a concept album that was supposed to be their crowning achievement. Sadly the album was only partially succesful and the band folded almost immediately after due to internal friction. Only a compilatio...
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Buy AUDIENCE Music


House on the HillHouse on the Hill
Emi Import 2002
$5.88
$6.99 (used)
AudienceAudience
Esoteric 2015
$11.32
$19.70 (used)
Friend's Friend's FriendFriend's Friend's Friend
Esoteric 2015
$11.13
$19.70 (used)
Lunch: Remastered & Expanded EditionLunch: Remastered & Expanded Edition
Remastered
Esoteric 2015
$11.34
$19.70 (used)
House On The HillHouse On The Hill
Elektra
$9.01 (used)
Friends Friends Friend [VINYL]Friends Friends Friend [VINYL]
Klimt 2019
$18.88
$22.46 (used)
Alive & Screamin & Kickin & ShoutinAlive & Screamin & Kickin & Shoutin
Eclectic Discs 2005
$16.85
$11.98 (used)
I Got the WherewithalI Got the Wherewithal
Polygram Records 1998
$12.79
$3.31 (used)

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AUDIENCE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

AUDIENCE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 63 ratings
Audience [Aka: The First Album]
1969
3.71 | 77 ratings
Friend's Friend's Friend
1970
3.90 | 109 ratings
The House On The Hill
1971
2.77 | 48 ratings
Lunch
1972

AUDIENCE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.57 | 7 ratings
Alive&Kickin'&Screamin'&Shoutin'
2005

AUDIENCE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AUDIENCE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 6 ratings
You Can't Beat Them
1973

AUDIENCE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 2 ratings
Bella Donna Moonshine
1970
4.67 | 3 ratings
Indian Summer
1971
5.00 | 2 ratings
You're Not Smiling
1971

AUDIENCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Friend's Friend's Friend by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.71 | 77 ratings

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Friend's Friend's Friend
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars AUDIENCE were a four-piece, London-based Jazz-Rock outfit. This album "Friend's Friend's Friend" (1970) - released on the Prog-Rock Charisma label - was the second of four albums released between the years of 1969 and 1972. Their first album, the self-titled "Audience" (1969), failed to gain much recognition, so they did comparatively well to release four albums in total, considering how many other bands have quickly fallen by the wayside after releasing a debut album with poor album sales. Audience followed this particular album with "The House on the Hill" in 1971 and a final album "Lunch" in 1972. A bonus track was added to the original eight songs on the "Friend's Friend's Friend" album on the 1992 CD reissue. Let's join the Audience now and have a listen.

We begin with "Nothing You Do", a rip-roaring, toe-tapping, Jazz-Rock number, designed to really lift the spirits up into the "progosphere". It's a bright and brassy song, with the horn section in full flow. One of the best features of the song is the uplifting vocal harmonising in the style of some of Uriah Heep's uproarious songs. The lead vocalist deserves a word of mention too, because on first hearing, his voice does sound somewhat nasal and high-pitched, but once you become accustomed to his nasal twang, then you may come to love it. Despite the uplifting nature of the music, the lyrics tell the sad story of a broken relationship:- "Nothing you do could make me feel towards you, What you obviously feel towards me, Nothing I hear from you is more than a mere excuse, Confirming my every fear." ..... It's a bittersweet ballad with attitude! Onwards now to Song No. 2 and "Belladonna Moonshine", another rumbunctious brassy number with a jaunty and jazzy rhythm. There's a quick-tempo honky tonk shuffle in the mid-section which really livens things up. It's insouciant, it's vibrant, and it's very pleasant too. Take a look at these playful lyrics:- "Jeremiah Cade though a singer by trade, He couldn't sing a note without the liquor he made, He could never make it big 'til the night he took a swig, From his homebrewed Belladonna Moonshine." ..... Who needs moonshine anyway, or any other alcoholic spirits, when you can have your spirits lifted by listening to this joyfully intoxicating piece of music. Next up comes "It Brings a Tear", a song more likely to bring tears of joy with its happy vibe. It's an impassioned power ballad, opening with a delightful flute solo and with the sound of those uplifting vocal harmonies in full flow again. It's a song full of radiant energy as warm and bright as a hot summer's day. If you could SEE this music, then it would be shining in full Technicolour brilliance! We've reached the halfway point now with "Raid", the longest song on the album at over 8 minutes long. This epic song opens with a relentless pounding and pulsating rhythm, followed by a sensational and sophisticated saxophone solo in the middle section. It's a tale of barbarous Vikings rampaging, pillaging and ..... Well, we won't go into that, but you can guess the rest.

Side Two open with "Right on Their Side", another sonorous and thunderous burst of British Jazz-Rock going full steam ahead. Song No. 6 is "Ebony Variations", an instrumental, classically-inspired number, as the song title implies. It's a jolly and joyous piece of music, where the saxophonist really gets to play his heart out and demonstrate his musical mettle in no uncertain terms. He's really having a blast here. On now to Song No. 7, and "Priestess", an impassioned and impressive 6-minute song featuring a gorgeous flute solo. Don't have nightmares though, because it's a dark satanic tale of nefarious goings-on in the middle of the night as these lyrics reveal:- "Bathed in moonlight, Devil worshippers chanting, Throughout the night, Music grew ever haunting. High on her throne, Satan seated beside her, Face cold as stone, Prince of Darkness to guide her." ..... Yes, it's that kind of a song, but try not to let that put you off, because this is great music! You may want to sleep with the lights on though after hearing it for the first time. And so, we come to the final song on the album dear friends with the title track, "Friend's Friend's Friend", a melodic and gently lilting saxophonic ballad which closes the album in salubrious and symphonious style.

This amazing band deserves to be heard by a much wider Audience. "Friend's Friend's Friend" is a bold and brassy rejuvenating album that's guaranteed to brighten up the dullest of days with its vibrant spirit and rollicking attitude. Audience represent one of the finest exponents of classic British Jazz-Rock. Tell all of your friends about this superb album, and tell your friend's friends too!

 Audience [Aka: The First Album] by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.60 | 63 ratings

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Audience [Aka: The First Album]
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Somewhat more straight-ahead and simple than the more baroque and polished stylings of Friends' Friends' Friend or House On the Hill (an early version of the title track from which appears here), the debut album by Audience is still a confident bit of first-wave progressive rock that puts Keith Gemmell's saxophone and Howard Werth's idiosyncratic vocals and evocative lyrics at the heart of the Audience sound. If you've already taken in the superior followups, it still has plenty to offer, whereas if you are new to Audience it's a reasonable enough introduction to their sound, even if it isn't necessarily the absolute best one.
 The House On The Hill by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.90 | 109 ratings

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The House On The Hill
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I bought the American LP on Elektra was a bit miffed to see that "Eye to Eye" wasn't on it. Also I noticed "Indian Summer" in its place, plus one song off Friend's Friend's Friend, "It Brings a Tear". Turns out "Indian Summer" was a single the band put out around this time and became a minor hit, but as usual in the UK that song never made it on LP, but did in the States, at the expense of a truly great song. At first I didn't like the album, I think it was a lot to do with Howard Werth's voice. I have since found the original UK LP on the pink scroll Charisma label, so I can get "Eye to Eye". To me, this music sounded strangely like if Van Morrison was backed up by Van der Graaf Generator, if Van Morrison had artsy ambitions, that is (since Van Morrison's music is anything but art rock, never mind prog, and his music is very much R&B based, it's no wonder he's a darling to rock critics everywhere). "Jackdaw" is without a doubt one of the great high points of the album, I especially dig those extended jazzy jams. "You're Not Smiling" I couldn't stand, and even to this day I still have trouble with it. "I Had a Dream" bears more than a passing resemblance to Moondance-era Van Morrison, the band even managed to create that "And It Stoned Me" vibe in the song, I can't help but think of that Morrison song upon hearing "I Had a Dream". "Raviole" is a largely instrumental orchestral piece with nice acoustic guitar playing. "Eye to Eye" is an incredible piece with more than a passing resemblance to Jethro Tull. They do perhaps one of the most interesting take on the blues standard "I Put a Spell on You" (Screamin' Jay Hawkins') giving it a wonderful jazzy bent to it, complete with flute. Seems everyone from the Crazy World of Arthur Brown to the very mainstream Creedence Clearwater Revival wanted to take on this song, but nothing like how Audience did it. The title track is amazing! I really dig the lyrics, it sounds like how kids may feel of some creepy house on the hill and how they want to avoid it, so the song really has an ominous vibe. Also there's some great proggy passages to go with it, especially the nice flute.

It's one of those album I didn't care for at first, and while I still don't care for "You're Not Smiling", the album really grew on me. Wonderful stuff that I can highly recommend.

 Lunch by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.77 | 48 ratings

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Lunch
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by TerryDactyl

3 stars I don't always do what my records tell me to do. Let's get this straight, I might be crazy but I'm not THAT crazy. Yet, there was this one day when I was standing by the door whilst listening to this album, because, frankly the first track on it is more or less a command to do just that, so I decided to play along to see what would happen. Well, what happened was...exactly...nothing. But, another time I was standing by the door and listening to this album and I saw an incredibly beautiful sunset, sky all pink and purple and yellow and orange, fluffy stringy clouds hanging over the mountains, all marshmallowy and then there was the moon lording over the whole thing and I felt truly blessed that I had, in fact, stood by the door because this record told me to. That story has absolutely nothing to do with the record and what it sounds like and if I think others would enjoy it, or even more importantly, if I enjoy it. Well, here's the answer to those most important questions of all....

I enjoy the bejeezus out of this album. No, it is not nearly as good as "House on the Hill" and it probably isn't as good as the first two either, but it's a decent album, still light years beyond alot of other things and at least darn interesting.

See, the problem I have with Audience, that no one ever points out on here or anywhere as far as I can tell, is that this band is not strictly speaking "normal." Well, what do I mean by that? First of all whatever form of this music is, what it was when it came out, to my ears this sounds like a grunge band, think Soundgarden or Mother Love Bone specifically, and that it's very pop and seventies instead of dank and nineties, but the gist of the music is very similar. Which is kind of weird to think since Audience weren't exactly an electric guitar band. I guess this isn't exactly a problem, just one of those other things, like doing what my records tell me, that make me feel a little touched, ya know? THEY DO SOUND VERY GRUNGE! I promise it's not a delusion!

Also, they sound less grunge on this album than on "House on the Hill" which is roughly 3.1415926 times better than this album. Still a good record though, a spin every couple months should be enough to charm the pants off a camel and the toes off a sloth. Works good with substances should also be another disclaimer (raises glass of kool-aid and tokes on a hookah filled with a non tobacco herbal mixture of basil, oregano, sage, and ((sigh)) hair...) Honestly close to a 3.5.

 Audience [Aka: The First Album] by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.60 | 63 ratings

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Audience [Aka: The First Album]
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Led by the idiosyncratic Howard Werth, Audience were one of those uncanny groups who were just so difficult to categorize, a prog-rock outfit in the same way that David Bowie was a pop star(the point being that yes, Bowie was a pop star, but he was also so much more; the same can be said of Audience). This was a truly singular outfit from a forward thinking era chock full of singular outfits, but even then somehow Audience stood out. Issued by Polydor in the summer of 1969, the group's self-titled debut exuded a far reaching sweep of musicsl styles, taking in everything from folk and blues to rock, jazz and psychedelic pop. It was't big seller, but it has become something of a cult favourite over the years as the group' reputation has steadily grown, original vinyl copies now worth a small fortune on the collector's circuit. Audience would issue four albums overall, with their debut followed by 1970's 'Friend's Friend's Friend', the following year's 'House On The Hill', and final album 'Lunch' from 1972, though it is this self- titled debut that is arguably the strongest. Ironically, 'Audience' is probably the group's least progressive effort, Werth and his line-up of Keith Gemmell(sax, flute), Tony Connor(percussion) and Trevor Williams(bass)instead favouring a kund of acoustic-electric hybrid sound, and much more more interested in spinning their mixture of good time folk, chamber pop and classical influences rather than engaging in extended solo's and complex musical arrangements. This makes for a highly-eclectic listen, and despite a couple of lightweight cuts - 'River boat Queen' simply doesn't work; then there's the naff and silly 'Harlequin' - one can only sit back and admire the breadth and scope of Werth' ambition. Highlights include the glorious bass-heavy twang of 'If Heaven Was An Island', a rocky, chest-puffing anthem Audience-style, the raucous folk-blues of 'Maiden's Cry' and, as a suitable closer, 'House On The Hill', a sparsely melodic slow-burner that would inspire the group's next album. Witty, rambunctious, brilliantly-played and full of character, this is the perfect introduction to the sounds of the late-sixties most inventive groups. It may not be to everyone's tastes, but that's what makes it so damn good. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2014
 The House On The Hill by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.90 | 109 ratings

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The House On The Hill
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In the vein of acts like Traffic and Gnidrolog, Audience combines the natural feeling of styles of folk and blues and the more musically engaging styles of jazz and classical. It's prog rock in a non-traditional stance, and that's what makes HOUSE ON THE HILL as exciting as other proggier albums.

Think of Audience as Gnidrolog's rhythm section (that good) with Van der Graaf Generator's woodwinds and a unique lead singer with a distinctive voice and plays strictly acoustic guitars. The delicacy of the acoustic guitars mixed in with the thrust of everything makes a near perfect sound balance that few can match. Maybe that explains the relative obscurity of Audience; the sound, while great, was hard to categorise, and that seems to have made it difficult for Audience to achieve even cult status.

On this particular album, the North Americans again get the better bargain much like on MOONTAN. Sure, Europe got the snappy ''Eye to Eye'', a great song in its own right and better than ''It Brings a Tear'', but the order on the NA release is better. I know there isn't much of a difference, but ''Indian Summer'' does not sound like a track that should close the record; it opens the record on the NA release, much more suitably too. The slow moving yet epic ''Jackdaw'' doesn't sound like an opener to me. I know I'm being nitpicky, but still?

HOUSE ON THE HILL can thrust power when it needs to; the title track is a perfect fusion of blues, rock and folk with an extended jam session at the right spot. The saxophone solo with two echoes is quite imaginative, and it's a few years before Mr. Freddie tried that when singing about prophets. There are also calmer, quieter bits as offsets. The beautiful rendition of Screamin' Jay's ''I Put a Spell on You'' is a slice of freshness to a normally sinister piece (it still kind of sounds that way), and classical buffs will enjoy the interceding orchestra on ''Raviole''.

There are times when HOUSE ON THE HILL compromises the two dynamic levels. ''You're Not Smiling'' executes this near flawlessly. The softness of the verses crescendoing into that haunting vocal/sax line is pure music euphoria.

It's hard to rate an album like HOUSE ON THE HILL on a prog site, but it belongs here and it's one of the better albums of this genre. The country-fied ''Nancy'' is the only blemish I could find (either version, it's on both), and even then, Howard Werth's vocal delivery saves the song. Highly recommended.

 The House On The Hill by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.90 | 109 ratings

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The House On The Hill
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is a wondeful little gem that should be re-discovered, probably the most important effort by Audience.

The band doesn't use any keyboards' sound. The structure of music is based on guitars (acoustic mainly) and, above all, a SUPERB gruff saxophone (and clarinet) playing that reminds the typical VAN DER GRAAF mood, as it's evident up to the powerful opening number "Jackdaw". The album sounds eclectic, folky, baroque, periodically turning into avant-garde and jazz.

Some reviewers have linkened "I Had A Dream" to Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heavens Door" which was written - from what I know - in 1972 or 1973, quite some time after Audience's track (so to say how far Audience's influence spread). Other highlights are "Raviolé" (beautiful folk and classical arrangements) and the pleasant "Indian Summer" (nice flute).

The title track is simply stunning with those alternatings between crispy vocals and mad saxes, with slow interludes, flute, drums' solo, excellent bass playing.

This record was certainly written and composed during the golden hours of the early seventies: highly recommended.

 Audience [Aka: The First Album] by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.60 | 63 ratings

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Audience [Aka: The First Album]
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by 1967/ 1976

4 stars Audience is the 1969 debut album by British art rock band Audience. It was deleted shortly after its release and is now collectable in its original vinyl version. I've the CD version made by Akarma.

The debut of Audience does not contain real Progressive. In fact it is composed of 12 songs, all more or less progressive, but plain and simple. I like this kind of music, since it is not easy POP but neither Rock, stopping half way between POP and Rock. The addition of flute, tenor sax and clarinet plus a good Blues song is is the feature that I like to listen in this type of music. Audience, than, is not a band that plays covers as Affinity (for examples) and that is to build a personal and non-trivial. Defect, rather obviously, is that although magic and feeling are still intact, we understand that music is from 1969, because even with breaths of Prog Blues and Beat, although not very obvious.

But if you love early prog and try something really mature in early Prog you can not find yourself in your hands this CD.

 Friend's Friend's Friend by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.71 | 77 ratings

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Friend's Friend's Friend
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars At first hearing I didn't like the sound of this band at all. The album opens with rocking songs somewhere between folk and blues-rock; the sound is a bit messy and the vocalist sounds like a bad, less expressive version of BEGGARS OPERA vocals. Acoustic guitar and banjo can be heard a lot, keyboards almost missing. But further down the album I started to get the idea of this little known band in the Charisma label. Their ace in the sleeve is the sax/ woodwind player Keith Gemmell, who has a wide spectrum in handling his instruments. Well, the vocals may also be a trademark but I personally don't like them much. Howard Werth uses some mannerism that makes comparisons to VDGG's Peter Hammill and FAMILY's Roger Chapman, but with notably poorer results, I think. Also Lindisfarne is mentioned here. Indeed, AUDIENCE really sounds like a Charisma band!

Album's highlight is the 8-minute 'Raid' where saxes show their magic, and on the whole the album is better in the latter half. At times the music comes close to the more jazzy/ meditative/ impressionistic moments of VDGG with its wailing saxes or woodwinds, and that's when I like it the best. Another good song is the effectively dramatic 'Priestess'; the lyrics repeat "priestess... murderess..." However there are some rather poor compositions, and none that could be considered excellent, especially from prog's point of view. The only instrumental 'Ebony Variations' remains quite boring. Maybe their following album House On The Hill (from which I've heard one track) is better, even though some think this one is their best. But being an album from the year 1970, definitely not one to ignore completely.

 The House On The Hill by AUDIENCE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.90 | 109 ratings

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The House On The Hill
Audience Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A fantastic little album which uses the flute, clarinet and sax stylings of Keith Gemmell to great effect, fans of early prog should not be put off by the fact Audience don't use keyboards - this has a big, lush sound worthy of any of the band's competitors like Rare Bird or Van der Graaf Generator - though with a bit more jazz influence than either. Howard Werth's vocals are powerful and haunting, and work especially well on the accusatory Jackdaw and the eerie title track. The album isn't perfect - I thought Eye to Eye was a bit underbaked (and, indeed, early US editions of the album left it off in favour of a track from the previous album) - but otherwise it's a great little gem from the early prog era, one which I'm surprised hasn't achieved more attention.
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