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THE PARLOUR BAND

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The Parlour Band biography
THE PARLOUR BAND were a Progressive Melodic/Hard Rock band from the Channel Island of Jersey. They signed to the Decca progressive imprint label, Deram and recorded their debut album 'Is A Friend?' in 1972.

Later the band changed their name and musical style towards a more American 'AOR' Rock sound and became A BAND CALLED 'O', which they later shortened to THE O BAND.

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THE PARLOUR BAND discography


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4.00 | 21 ratings
Is A Friend ?
1972

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THE PARLOUR BAND Reviews


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 Is A Friend ? by PARLOUR BAND, THE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 21 ratings

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Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars THE PARLOUR BAND have the unusual distinction of being from the Channel Island of Jersey near the French coast, which technically makes them a British band, even though they're not from Great Britain or the United Kingdom. The Parlour Band had a brief lunchtime in the spotlight with just one rare album to their name: "Is a Friend?" (1972), but they weren't about to hang up their instruments just yet, because they changed their name firstly to "A Band Called O", and then again to "The O Band" after moving to Leicester in the English Midlands. They recorded four more albums there in the mid-1970's, before the band finally went their separate ways in 1977.

These Jersey boys really know how to Rock!! The album opens in barnstorming style with the rip-roaring Jazz-Rock number "Forgotten Dreams". There's no chance of sleeping through this song though. It's a Hammond organ driven blast from the past (with shades of Brian Auger) that barrels along relentlessly for nearly three incredible minutes. The peaceful island of Bergerac and Beaujolais and Jersey cows will never be the same again. Onto Song No. 2 now and we're about to meet the "Pretty Haired Girl", a bright and bubbly Pop concoction about a girl who's sweet and nice, which sounds as warm and refreshing as a glass of pink champagne on ice. You can take comfort in the next lovely song too because it's "Springs' Sweet Comfort", a dreamy psychedelic flowers-in-your-hair number that's just as gently laid-back as the song title implies. You can almost smell the aromatic incense wafting over you in a purple haze of smoke. This song's as psychedelic as an explosion at a paint factory. After that dreamy song, it's time now to wake up and smell the coffee for "Early Morning Eyes", a lively jingly-jangly guitar number that's very reminiscent of the high- flying Byrds, and very good it is too. You can Turn Turn Turn and shake your Tambourine along to this danceable early morning wake-up call, or if you're not feeling that energetic, you can simply tap your feet along to the beat. It's all aboard the train now for "Follow Me", another catchy upbeat song to close out Side One, where the singer repeatedly urges us all to follow him around the mountain, until he finally runs out of steam.

And now we arrive at the big production number and the highlight of the album so far: "Evening". This gorgeous song features heavenly harmonies to die for, dynamic power chords and soaring vocals backed up by the tremendous sound of the Hammond organ. In fact, it's everything you could wish for in the best of Prog-Rock and had the potential to be a huge hit, if only... Sadly, the song was never released as a single, so it wasn't even a hit in Jersey, never mind the rest of the world. Anyway, don't be sad, because as Evening draws to a close it's time for some midnight romance with "Don't Be Sad". It's a gently lilting Folk refrain, so just lie back and relax and let this beautifully-crafted mellow ballad carry you away on a sea of blissful sweet dreams. This very impressive album continues with "Little Goldie", a warm- hearted song that sounds as sweet as honey and features some simply sublime guitar vibes. The penultimate song is an uplifting salute "To Happiness", when you're already halfway to happiness if you're lucky enough to have this wonderful long-lost album in your treasured prog collection. And finally, "Home" is where the prog is for an epic 3- piece suite to close the album. This sweeping seven-and-a-half minute long masterpiece is very reminiscent of The Beatles and makes a suitably fitting tribute to a marvellous album.

The Parlour Band's superb one-off album Is A Friend that deserves a warm welcome in any Prog-Rock fan's home.

 Is A Friend ? by PARLOUR BAND, THE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 21 ratings

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Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Somewhat of a `one-and-done' act, The Parlour Band hailed from the Channel Island of Jersey between England and France, and they were fortunate enough to have their 1972 debut `Is a Friend?' released on the Decca progressive label imprint Deram. While you'd be hard-pressed to consider them a fully-fledged `prog rock' band (although they could boast cool-points for supporting Canterbury prog notables like Caravan and Khan on tour in their time), and nor would you probably consider their sole album a true classic, their colourful and lively arrangements offered plenty of variety, with the group performing a highly melodic kind of adventurous soft rock music. The focus was mostly on tightly written and crisply performed vocal-driven tunes, all wrapped in silken group harmonies.

The foot-tapping `Forgotten Dreams' is a punchy opening rocker brimming with tasty Hammond organ, but even with countrified guitar licks and sighing harmonies worked in, it's a shame the band doesn't try to stretch it past barely two and a half minutes. The first real signs of magic emerge on the sun-kissed pop perfection of `Pretty Haired Girl', the band grateful that `she makes us stoned...', and it effortlessly drifts into the bluesy, spacey wisps of drowsy ballad `Springs' Sweet Comfort'. The jangling guitars of the catchy `Early Morning Eyes' are met with snarling flare-ups, shimmering electric piano droplets and breathy vocals, although the near-five minute `Follow Me' wears a little thin and could have seriously shortened an over- buoyant and gratingly joyful near-gospel-like second half!

The flip-side's `Evening' is certainly one of the more ambitious pieces here - backwards effects, sweetly murmuring bass, rattling drums and swooning Queen-like harmonies weave between a reprising symphonic theme powered by organ and piano, but banal lyrics like `I can make a lover hit the ceiling' let it down a little (dig that snaking outro, though)! Placid acoustic guitars and sparkling electric piano float through hopeful ballad `Don't Be Sad', the Argent-like `Little Goldie' is richly romantic, and `To Happiness' could almost be a gentler Uriah Heep outtake. The near-eight minute closer `Home' sees the band play their strongest prog hand, but while the three-part suite doesn't offer numerous instrumental passages or wild soloing, it does have the group deliver all manner of exquisite harmonies that remind of the Beatles, Supertramp, and even the Beach Boys.

After this debut, the band would change their name to A Band Called O, then simply The O Band, and turn to something closer to a more straight-forward, American-modelled AOR sound. As for their sole Parlour Band legacy, while not every track on `Is A Friend?' is a memorable killer, and the album has a professional polish that might leave some wishing for a few more rougher edges, it still remains a tight collection of cool tunes performed well, and if describing it as undemanding or a perfect background listen doesn't sound like a negative, then there's tons to enjoy here.

Three stars.

 Is A Friend ? by PARLOUR BAND, THE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 21 ratings

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Review by bristolstc

5 stars How far I go back with loving this album should tell you something about it. Nearly 30 years old I am, and I became addicted to this record's sweeping beauty when I was only 17. I own an original copy that I lucked into a few weeks ago in my collectiion, but I've owned it in as an original, CD, and reissue before and only for one year was I ever without it, the worst time of my life. Forming in the Channel Islands was something very unusual, I mean, how many bands can you think of from there? The group were the combined talents of vocalist/ keyboard player/songwriter Peter Filleul (pronouned Fill You- a French name), and a local Jersey band who played hard rock. Combining Filleul's love of Beatle esque lush melodies and the band's love of American West coast hard edged rock, they were both a psychedelic pastoral pop band and a heavy progressive group, something very unusual, but something that was going on in the British Isles at the time. This album I have had mixed reactions from people about. I rave about it, and some love it as well or can't understand it. My own opinion is all that matters to me, but I really do think this is about the best melodic album there is along with the shamefully ignored Deep Feeling, Fickle Pickle, and Dog That Bit People (sadly, I only own a CD of this one). Every song is masterful, filled with great melodies, rich soaring flowing textures of great guitars and keyboards, and the vocals especially harmonies are really great. My favourite tracks here if asked to choose a few highlights are the short yet complex rocking opener "Forgotten Dreams," the proto Queen epic within a short time length darkness of "Evening' (sung by Pix), and the highly original and remarakable closing suite "Home." Every track though is outstanding. Very laid back, but actually rocking out at the same time as well. This is a subtle and complex album, it may take you a few listenings to fully appreciate it and it must be said in all honesty that people who don't like pop overtones to their symphonic prog will not like this, but if you have an open mind you really need to find this album and treasure it. Everyone in the band is an outstanding musician, particularly the twin guitars of Pix (full name Jonathan Pickford- I knew him once) and Craig Anders. Mark Ashley Anders is also a great bass player, and Filleul's solid down to earth approach to the keyboards is a refreshing diversion from all the pompous bashing that was going on then. One of the best things about Is A Friend? is that it not only is a brilliant album in itself, but will open up a world of great music to you if you like it. I would say that this album was also a once-in-a-lifetime thing for the band, with Filleul who wrote every track pushed in the background the group became The O Band- an extremely inferior and even at times downright irritating attempt to imitate the American bands of the the era such as Little Feat and The Dead or even perhaps Quicksilver. While there is a strong US influence to some of The Parlour Band, it is never painful and never contrived. Had the group gone back to their day jobs after this album we'd be left with a one album masterpiece legacy. This album is one of my all time favourites and a magical experience. It is among the best ever.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Dean for the last updates

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