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Fields - Fields CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.64 | 119 ratings

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3 stars 2010 saw a nice remaster of this disc from Esoteric including an account of keyboardist Graham Field's messy and sordid affairs with various record companies [for both Rare Bird and this project] during the turbulent period that was the early 1970s. No huge surprise that a quality prog band, even in 1971, would have to struggle just to stay afloat and as with so many of them, it's a miracle the album saw any daylight at all-- " circumstances like this records don't get released, they escape", recalls Field quoting an industry friend. Eventually he dropped the rock scene entirely, drummer Andy McCulloch hooked-up with Dave Greenslade and bassist/guitarist Alan Barry became a session man. But not before laying down a damn fine little set of prog that could be compared to peers Quatermass, Argent, Greenslade, Rooster now&then, maybe early ELP, with heavy duty organ-rich artrock, walls of sound and soulful performances from this mere trio.

The songs themselves are fine if forgettable, Graham Field finding no 'Sympathy' here and in need of a good producer to sharpen the material, clean up the sound and keep the focal point. However his keys are outstanding (at times even mimicking a synth) as on very good Bach-rocker 'A Friend of Mine'. Off-kilter radio/post-hippie claptrap 'While the Sun Still Shines' passes while hysterically cynical 'Not So Good' moans of cultural decay, leaving 'Three Minstrels' in its wake, funereal 'Slow Susan' tailed by tasty jam 'Over and Over Again' filled with Field's chops on organ and the tight backup of McCulloch/Barry. Gospels 'Feeling Free' & 'A Place to Lay My Head' are almost Joe Cocker-like in their evangelism, and 'The Eagle' finishes on a very prog note featuring a brief salute to Pachelbel and a slight suggestion of Genesis; an outstanding arrangement and the instrumental highlight of the LP. Really very nice, especially for these bunch of grunts.

Surely there are fumbles here; nasty, bitter hunks of offal; varietal cuts of questionable edibility. On top of that, only about half the stuff is really good. But if you like a nice slab of headcheese or blood sausage now&then, Graham Field's band were respectable heavy proggers in the most dangerous and unpredictable way. Which is of course the best way.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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