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Sahara - Subject Esq. CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.55 | 39 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The origins of this band hailing from Munich reach back to the year of 1965 when four school friends joined together and named their quartet after an English lesson "The King and the Subject" playing some cover versions of beat staple hits. During the following years they've shown as well ambitions to compose own material and opened for blues legend John Mayall in 1969. It took a couple of years more until 1972 that they released their debut under the name Subject Esq. here in review containing six tracks which are stylistically still rooted much in the late 60's blending psychedelic pop with influences of jazz rock. For their 40th stage anniversary they had a reunion concert of their Sahara 1975-line-up in 2006 here in their home town which I missed unfortunately. But I've got the chance for watching them live again just yesterday and I've got to say their performance presenting a great compilation of the best from all their three albums was absolutely impressing.

The album starts off very lively with "Alone" in a progressive jazz rock vein with excellent sax and Hammond play and continues in a quite up-beat pace with catchy vocal lines in the psychedelic sounding "Giantania" having a nice section with soaring flute in between. "What is Love" then is initially a more pop-ish sounding song in late sixties' style but has great sax and later on a nice percussive section. The all-instrumental "5:13" presents brilliantly played jazz rock on Hammond, guitar, bass, drums and sax alternating with flute. The long-track "Mammon" is certainly the highlight of this disk and offers a very versatile mix of jazz rock and psychedelic with vocal lines reminiscent of US west-coast bands and brass rock bring Blood, Sweat & Tears into one's mind. Sections with mouth organ are alternating with others dominated by sax or flute here, this track was especially on stage a big fun to listen to. Last song "Durance Is Waiting" starts quite different in a Byrds-like manner but soon shifts more into Prog territory with excellent organ/guitar interplay. The two live tracks added on the CD re-issue as bonus had been recorded in 1971 under quite semi-professional conditions and should be considered more a historical document since the sound quality is really low. The version of "Giantania" they played there sounds much different from the final one.

As a summary I can say that this one had been a quite solid and remarkable debut of this band that would present even things on the two following albums released in a slightly changed line-up and under the name Sahara. Though probably not to be considered an essential one it might still be an interesting additional purchase for anyone who owns already their others or for fans of early 70's progressive.

hdfisch | 3/5 |


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