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Billy Budd View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Starcastle
    Posted: September 15 2009 at 00:47
I just got this old beat up album called Starcastle (1976).  Starcastle was from Saint Louis.  They sound a bit like Yes, but they are unique in their own way.  They are fantastic musicians.  Their first album sounds a bit like progressive jazz and progressive rocks.  It is a pity that they never became really famous.  They probably just didn't have the ability to come up with a universal hit.  I heard they played with Journey, Foreigner, and a number of other groups.  One member joined Georgia Satellite.  All in all they were a unique group with great musicianship. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 01:00
They are here on the archives: http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=321
 
I also found an old beat up copy, out of all the albums I bought on the way to Nearfest, its the only one that was too warped to keep.. Liked what I did hear though (the warp only effected the first track on each side..)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 04:15
I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 04:43
Originally posted by paulwalker71

I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc
I never really thought of Starcastle especially their first three albums or Kansas in general to be pomp rock ..  maybe I`m mistaken Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 06:20
I've known of the band for many years and had fond enough memories to get their first one on CD.  I know at least for the first one they were very much Yes "clones".

Edited by Slartibartfast - September 15 2009 at 09:17
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 06:33
Originally posted by Yorkie X

Originally posted by paulwalker71

I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc
I never really thought of Starcastle especially their first three albums or Kansas in general to be pomp rock ..  maybe I`m mistaken Smile

Agreed. They're not really.

They're Prog rock....a fdew letters diference.Wink
Coldness doth get away with the badness.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 07:17
Originally posted by paulwalker71

I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc


I hate to say it, but if you think Kansas belongs in the same category as Styx, Boston, and Foreigner, you don't know Kansas.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 09:17
Originally posted by Epignosis

Originally posted by paulwalker71

I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc


I hate to say it, but if you think Kansas belongs in the same category as Styx, Boston, and Foreigner, you don't know Kansas.

Yeah, only on the level of popularity in the '70's.  But then it's the duty of those who know better to educate those who don't.


Edited by Slartibartfast - September 15 2009 at 10:41
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 10:03
Originally posted by Slartibartfast

Originally posted by Epignosis

Originally posted by paulwalker71

I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc


I hate to say it, but if you think Kansas belongs in the same category as Styx, Boston, and Foreigner, you don't know Kansas.

Yeah, only on the level of popularity in the '70's.  But then it's the duty of those who know better to educate those who don't.



Well, I'm no expert on Kansas although I do realise that they were significantly more prog than the likes of Styx and Boston

The fact is though that Geoff Barton (writing in the latest Classic Rock presents Prog) and Malcolm Done quoted in the same issue, do lump Kansas in the pomp category, along with Styx, Starcastle, Angel and Magnum. In fact the article states the two albums 'essential' to pomp rock were The Grand Illusion and Leftoverture.

Of course, there's no reason simply to believe what they say - they might be completely wrong. I'm just pointing out that it wasn't simply my own personal view (based as it is on faded memory of albums I've barely listened to for 30 years)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 10:06
You're right.....I remeber Classic Rock saying that.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 10:07
Originally posted by paulwalker71

Originally posted by Slartibartfast

Originally posted by Epignosis

Originally posted by paulwalker71

I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc


I hate to say it, but if you think Kansas belongs in the same category as Styx, Boston, and Foreigner, you don't know Kansas.

Yeah, only on the level of popularity in the '70's.  But then it's the duty of those who know better to educate those who don't.



Well, I'm no expert on Kansas although I do realise that they were significantly more prog than the likes of Styx and Boston

The fact is though that Geoff Barton (writing in the latest Classic Rock presents Prog) and Malcolm Done quoted in the same issue, do lump Kansas in the pomp category, along with Styx, Starcastle, Angel and Magnum. In fact the article states the two albums 'essential' to pomp rock were The Grand Illusion and Leftoverture.

Of course, there's no reason simply to believe what they say - they might be completely wrong. I'm just pointing out that it wasn't simply my own personal view (based as it is on faded memory of albums I've barely listened to for 30 years)


They are. 

Listen to "Magnum Opus" (on Leftoverture) and tell me that's anywhere near Styx.

Any of their first five albums would show their compositional genius (listen to "Song for America"), which is here on the site for free.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 10:15
Originally posted by Epignosis


They are. 
Listen to "Magnum Opus" (on Leftoverture) and tell me that's anywhere near Styx.
Any of their first five albums would show their compositional genius (listen to "Song for America"), which is here on the site for free.



Hey, don't shoot the messenger Smile

I'm off to put some Kansas onto my LastFM queue.....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 10:16
Originally posted by Epignosis

Originally posted by paulwalker71

Originally posted by Slartibartfast

Originally posted by Epignosis

Originally posted by paulwalker71

I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc


I hate to say it, but if you think Kansas belongs in the same category as Styx, Boston, and Foreigner, you don't know Kansas.

Yeah, only on the level of popularity in the '70's.  But then it's the duty of those who know better to educate those who don't.



Well, I'm no expert on Kansas although I do realise that they were significantly more prog than the likes of Styx and Boston

The fact is though that Geoff Barton (writing in the latest Classic Rock presents Prog) and Malcolm Done quoted in the same issue, do lump Kansas in the pomp category, along with Styx, Starcastle, Angel and Magnum. In fact the article states the two albums 'essential' to pomp rock were The Grand Illusion and Leftoverture.

Of course, there's no reason simply to believe what they say - they might be completely wrong. I'm just pointing out that it wasn't simply my own personal view (based as it is on faded memory of albums I've barely listened to for 30 years)


They are. 

Listen to "Magnum Opus" (on Leftoverture) and tell me that's anywhere near Styx.

Any of their first five albums would show their compositional genius (listen to "Song for America"), which is here on the site for free.

He's not saying he agrees. Neither do I. When I read it I was stunned.
Coldness doth get away with the badness.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 10:18
Originally posted by Snow Dog

Originally posted by Epignosis

Originally posted by paulwalker71

Originally posted by Slartibartfast

Originally posted by Epignosis

Originally posted by paulwalker71

I always thought of them as being in that wave of what Geoff Barton called 'pomp rock'

Along with Styx, Boston, Foreigner, Kansas etc


I hate to say it, but if you think Kansas belongs in the same category as Styx, Boston, and Foreigner, you don't know Kansas.

Yeah, only on the level of popularity in the '70's.  But then it's the duty of those who know better to educate those who don't.



Well, I'm no expert on Kansas although I do realise that they were significantly more prog than the likes of Styx and Boston

The fact is though that Geoff Barton (writing in the latest Classic Rock presents Prog) and Malcolm Done quoted in the same issue, do lump Kansas in the pomp category, along with Styx, Starcastle, Angel and Magnum. In fact the article states the two albums 'essential' to pomp rock were The Grand Illusion and Leftoverture.

Of course, there's no reason simply to believe what they say - they might be completely wrong. I'm just pointing out that it wasn't simply my own personal view (based as it is on faded memory of albums I've barely listened to for 30 years)


They are. 

Listen to "Magnum Opus" (on Leftoverture) and tell me that's anywhere near Styx.

Any of their first five albums would show their compositional genius (listen to "Song for America"), which is here on the site for free.

He's not saying he agrees. Neither do I. When I read it I was stunned.


I know.  Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2009 at 10:41
I have more than a feeling that Boston really doesn't qualify as prog. LOL

Hey Marianne, don't walk away aaa eh. Tongue


Edited by Slartibartfast - September 15 2009 at 10:42
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 29 2009 at 08:30

I didn't mind Starcastle, although they did wear their Yes influence somewhat noticeably, so what? They had the talent to incorporate that and to do something original with it and they released three worthwhile albums in which they showed that they could also bring something to the party that was their own. They broke up and went on their separate ways at a point in their career when it was probably a wise thing to do, perhaps even a little too late, as they couldn't really bring it anymore. Sadly their bass player died a few years ago shortly after making a new Starcastle album (Song of Times), which is a decent album by the way, the title track is especially Anderson-esque, in a nice way.

 
But in any event, I think anyone interested in prog history would find much to like about the albums Starcastle, Fountains of Light, and Citadel. Any Rickenbacker bass players will like these albums, and there is some good guitar work throughout. You can get them all on CD for good used prices, check Amazon, it would be worth it at around $5 per album.


Edited by Pangaea - September 29 2009 at 08:33
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2009 at 01:56
I personally prefer Citadel, where the band transitions to a slightly poppier format.  Fountains of Light is proggier and would probably be preferred by most people here.  They were decent musicians, but the only one who had chops that impressed me was the keyboardist.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2010 at 17:36
I have, and love, the debut self-titled Starcastle album on cd. This record works wonders for me. but i find the later ones to be watered down, and pale by comparison. The first album has a special atmosphere that is very mid-seventies, and is an underrated recording. Love it!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2010 at 21:54
Fountains of Light is a BEAUTIFUL piece of soaring progressive rock. The songs flow into each other and form what actually sounds like one continuous suite-like song.   I don't consider Starcastle to be in the same category as Styx or Kansas, although I hear their album Reel to Reel was pretty commercial and had nothing in common with their first few albums.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2010 at 23:04
Starcastle was a product of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and I was fortunate to know the band back then (1973-77).  Their first LP release was huge in the area, and Starcastle were ever-present in the campus bars and backing up many acts as you have mentioned.

They could play anything!  Initially, they didn't have enough original material for an entire show, so they did a lot of cover tunes and did a fantastic job with a very diverse set-list!!   Rolling Stones, Elton John, whatever, they had a very eclectic set-list!  

The band were friendly guys, they used to meet with fans during breaks...I was chums with keyboardist Herb Schildt, who did a very credible Keith Emerson on his Hammond B-3!   

Bassist Gary Strater was a dead-ringer for Chris Squire, right down to the Rick bass/plectrum technique, clothes, contra-tenor vocals and musical style!  Sadly, Gary passed on in 2004 from pancreatic cancer.

The band recently had a brief flurry of attention and attempted to reform, even recording with Oliver Wakeman and Annie Haslam...I considered auditioning for the bassist's chair but opted out due to the distance involved.   As I suspected, they were not able to generate the critical mass to sustain the effort. However, they all pretty much hang out in downstate Illinois as always.

Alas, they were an excellent band, and I'd characterize them as highly influenced by Yes rather than trying to copy/rip Yes off.   My own favorite Starcastle tune might be "To The Fire Wind," enjoy!!  
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