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Dancer - Tales of the Riverbank CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.19 | 24 ratings

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2 stars Dancer came from Isle of Wight, UK and were formed in early-70's by three friends, bassist Mike Cuffe, guitarist/singer Mike Jolliffe and guitarist/flutist Gerry Cahill.They rehearsed regularly and for free in bassist's Tim Marshall cellar, where they met keyboardist Anthony Minghella.He immediately became a stable member of Dancer with drummer Paul Athey joining a bit after.Dancer played live 6-8 times per week and came in notice of Black Sabbath's manager Wilf Pine, who booked a session for the band at the Olympic Studios in London.The problem was they had only 2 and a half songs ready for recording and little time in front of them.They manage to get there with a sum of seven pieces and the session was produced by Groundhog's guitarist Tony McPhee.This material was never released on time and was picked up three decades later by Kissing Spell, which released it as ''Tales of the riverbank'' in 2001.

The album was named after the long title-track of these sessions, which was also Dancer's most ambitious piece.A soft Progressive Rock composition with definite psychedelic and folky touches, exploring the style of KING CRIMSON and JETHRO TULL and swirling between orchestral lines and more lyrical textures with alternating acoustic and electric guitars, smooth Mellotron showering and mellow flute themes with a bucolic edge.A decent piece of somewhat eclectic musicianship with efficient songwriting.The rest of the material though is far from adventurous, typical example of British Psychedelic Pop/Rock.The proggy vibes are more or less gone, instead you will deal with accesible and poppy tracks, where the Mellotron, Moog synth and piano segments are there, but the overall atmosphere is closer to early PINK FLOYD and THE BEATLES.Some cuts tend closer to Folk Rock with constant use of acoustic textures and smooth singing, others are more rich bit still unoriginal and flat in the process with mediocre songwriting, propably affected by the limited time the band had to record some decent amount of material.The exception may be ''Morning'', which still retains the artistic experiments of the group, featuring some diverse keyboard washes on Mellotron, organ, clavinet and harsichord, surrounded by vibraphones and containg a good electric guitar solo at the end.

A 15-min. version of Soft Machine's ''Why am I so short?'', with McPhee playing the Mellotron, was also recorded during the same sessions, but never included in the album.Dancer seem to have disbanded shortly after the sessions at Olympic Studios and this was possibly the reason the material never saw the light of day.Anthony Minghella went on to become a film producer (he sadly passed away in 2008), while Athey and Cuffe formed the Jazz/Funk act Big Swifty.

Average psych-tinged Progressive Folk Rock with a couple of nice tracks, but also strong poppy influences, which moreover sound quite dated.Recommended mainly to collectors of obcure Prog/Art Rock from the 70's...2.5 stars.

apps79 | 2/5 |


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