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PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Public Foot The Roman biography
An obscure and long forgotten progressive rock band from the UK, PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN nevertheless were popular enough to released one self titled album in 1973 in both the UK and USA. (Sovereign Records in the UK, Capitol in the USA). In addition they were often seen playing at colleges and were featured on the more outward looking radio shows of the time.

The band did have some line up changes but the best known was Dag Small (keyboards and vocals), the enigmatically named Ward (bass guitar), Sean Byrne (vocals and guitar), Greg Knowles (guitar) and Jamie Lane (drums and vocals). The group eventually transormed itself into THE MOVIES who developed PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN's art rock tendenacies and were almost on the verge of a breakthrough when Punk Rock changed the musical climate and killed any chances of success.

An interesting Footnote (pardon the pun) to Progressive Rock's history.

: : : Dave Preston, ENGLAND : : :

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3.60 | 16 ratings
Public Foot The Roman
1973

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PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN Reviews


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 Public Foot The Roman by PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.60 | 16 ratings

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Public Foot The Roman
Public Foot The Roman Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Sole album from this formation although their self-titled album bore a striking Hipgnosis artwork that could evoke Close encounter a few years before hand. This Cambridge combo derived their amusing name from road panels, much like a Canterbury band did that same year. A double guitar prog quintet where the vocals played a major role, and three member sang lead, while all of them contributed to choirs, PFTR had a fairly

Apart the atrocious radio-friendly opening track Land Owner (XXXX), , PFTR is still often sounding like those early 70?s UK proto-prog bands (not in PA?s definition or PR) and a prototype of future AOR that would overflow the airwaves later in the decade. Indeed the much superior When You Lay It Down is more in the organ driven hard prog mould (with a bit of Yes Album tinge) meeting Argus-like Wishbone Ash. While not quite as bad as the opener, King For A Day sounds like third rate Lynyrd (that country feel) meeting Wishbone, while the 6-mins Judas Return takes on a Yes turn, simply because the band takes its time to show more than basic song schemas.

The flipside is filled with more of the same (bat of course the opener) and the Yes and WA influences abound but are never overbearing either, because PFTR has its own sound as well. The organ-driven Don?t Bite The Hand is great moment of interplay, once past the fairly conventional song format. The following on My Mind might just be the catchiest track on the album, starting on acoustic arpeggios and remaining acoustic over triple vocal harmonies (Cressida?s better moments are also on my mind here). All is left is the 8-mins+ Decline And Fall, the Yesser track of the album and again plenty of time to mingle strings, keys and skins.

The band (half the band, actually) would then commit a strange suicide by getting rid of their original name and changing to a stupid one: the movies. They would go on to record a few albums under that moniker until the early 80?s, but I?ve never of the group or their albums. But getting back to PFTR, their album is certainly not anything essential or groundbreaking, but they stood in the pack of tens of dozens of valid bands that deserved more attention, but there was only so much space in the early 70?s sunlight. In other words if Wishbone ash had done Argus with keyboards and proggier and lesser D&D lyrics, it could?ve sounded like this

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 Public Foot The Roman by PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.60 | 16 ratings

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Public Foot The Roman
Public Foot The Roman Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by ktaitto

5 stars I got this album by accident in the late 70's from my friend.He had found it in a locker room and gave it to me because he was not a friend of progressive music.Well, I loved it very much.Today I think this is the best record I've ever heard.Why?Great songs,great singing and playing.And I never get tired of it.It gets better and better the more I listen to it.I hope somebody would release a cd out of this.

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 Public Foot The Roman by PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.60 | 16 ratings

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Public Foot The Roman
Public Foot The Roman Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by bristolstc

3 stars A little hard to review this one. They play with conviction, and the Wishbone Ash like twin guitar leads definitely catch the ear and are pleasant enough, but the end result is perhaps worthy of 3 and a half stars, but definitely not a great record. Nothing is bad here though, and if you like Pink Floyd and slight references to early Yes this is a pretty good attempt at spacey mainstream rock by good musicians who don't quite know how to write really great songs. And this is the dillema. Had the songs and lyrics been better on this album it would be a classic not just of the era, but of 70s prog tinged rock period. The problem is that the songs sound unfinished and the lyrics are not very good or intelligent, often too gloomy and derivative (especially of Floyd). Another set back is pleasant, but not great vocals. The harmonies are nice at times, a little grating at others because they start to sound like The Grateful Dead if they were Cambridge graduates instead of stoned hippies! The lead singer does a decent job, but hardly has a great voice. Even with these set backs, you can enjoy this album every once in awhile, but it isn't a knockout. Looking at the sleeve and intriguing titles you expect a prog classic, but instead you get a reasonably good rock album with some spacey progressive leanings. Theres's some great passages mixed in with the ones that take the easy way out, particularly the beginning and close of the album ("Land Owner" and "Decline And Fall"), but in between are some songs that don't quite work as well as they should. There is nothing bad here, and even though the singer isn't great he isn't bad very much of the time either. Perhaps if they'd been around longer or been able to devote more time to this album it would have been a minor classic. With a release both in the States and England perhaps things were expected to happen for Public Foot The Roman, but they didn't take off. If you can come across this for not too much money it's an enjoyable album and if you like Pink Floyd as I do some of it may be very enjoyable. I am not going to say this is a great record or a classic, but it's not bad at all either.

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 Public Foot The Roman by PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.60 | 16 ratings

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Public Foot The Roman
Public Foot The Roman Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Slightly obscure proto-prog band from Cambridge. There's little here to distinguish them from dozens of other similarly-intentioned acts from 1974, just another rock band with somewhat proggish leanings and a prominent organ player, but they do execute the style rather well.

"Decline and fall" and "Judas returns" are the tunes of greatest interest for prog listeners. Both are extended numbers with many changes, and strong organ work from Dag Small. Vocals by Sean Byrne are typically strong and melodic, and also very English. Some of the other tunes-like "When you lay it down" and "Don't bite the hand"-have slight proggish touches and "One (On my mind)" has a nice folkish feel, but for the most part this is straight, early 70's mainstream rock.

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 Public Foot The Roman by PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.60 | 16 ratings

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Public Foot The Roman
Public Foot The Roman Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by camellos13

4 stars Actually these guys just recorded one lp much to my dismay......Every song is just better than the previous one...well crafted vocal harmonies with nice guitar and keyboard riffs...I bought their Movies lps later on, but they never acchieved the PF the Roman sound...buy the lp if you find it...its just that good!!! p.s. dont think it has been released on cd yet....

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 Public Foot The Roman by PUBLIC FOOT THE ROMAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.60 | 16 ratings

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Public Foot The Roman
Public Foot The Roman Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by elsmallo

5 stars There is one good song and only that is good at the end. Nonetheless i an going to give it 5 stars because my dad was in it (dag small) and he was ultra cool. no seriously on the album sleeve there is a photo of him with cricket jumper, jacket and long long hair, actually the cover sleeve alone is worth 5 stars for its collection of vintage 1970's style, all looking like throwbacks to the neanderthal age. Actually 'Judas returns' is a cool song, but they are let down a little by the lead singer- if he had been good they would have been a good band as they were all very good individually. anyway now they have a review courtesy of me. Splendid.

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