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Ramases - Space Hymns CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.97 | 50 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Ramases was a weird character, married to his Selket wife, that was substantially older than most rock acts of the very early 70's, being in his early 30's, but they'd been busy trying with two previous unsuccessful singles that also appeared on label compilations,. But since then, they had dropped from the radar until the Vertigo label signed both him and his equally strange wife Selket. The ended up writing and recording their first Lp in a studio owned by four young musicians that would one day (mid-70's) become the pop icons of 10CC. So the future geniuses helped out the weird couple and produced a fairly strange but endearing hippy album that was graced with one of Roger Dean's most astonishing artworks ever, as the gatefold sleeve unfolded in six to display this church tower transformed into a rocket. It was released under the Swirl Vertigo label in mid-71. As the texts on the inner sleeve indicates, we're dealing with some heavily idealistic songs that link up in a general spacey peace & love spiritual mumbo-jumbo concept.

Emerging out cosmic noises, the fantastic Life Child has first an acoustic guitar strumming then joined by a thrilling electric guitar, soon leading the song proper into a great catchy pop/rock tune that the 10CC gang would've loved to write it themselves. Equally brilliant pop is the Oh Mister (it will be used as a B-side of a single), but the album has also a hippy-folk heart as shown by the almost sing-along Whole World, but it's a tiny bit embarrassing. Another thrilling but weird one is the catchy but quirky Quasar One track, which was originally one of their early two singles misheard and mistyped from Crazy One, with these amazing almost vocodized vocals. Maybe a tad overlong, but excellent stuff anyway. A bit more nerve-wracking is the thankfully-short You're The Only One, especially the intro and outro.

The flipside opens on the spacey Earth-People, where the couple plays their mostly-unaccompanied folk ditty, certainly not devoid of charms. Ramases picks up a sitar and sings a semi-grotesque Indian-sounding Molecular Delusions, which tends to overstay its welcome. Thankfully the superbly catchy Balloon is another one of those pop tunes that the 10CC members would've loved to write, especially the fantastic "Don't burst your bubble, or you're in trouble" chorus line. Outstanding stuff, and mega-prog as well and it was issued as a single. The other single had that Jesus Come Back track, which is one of those almost-ridiculous hippy religious chants, but it is well in line with the hippy-folk of the times and the melody is nice enough to forgive that flaw. Closing on the completely psychedelic and spacey Journey On The Inside, almost a journey in Krautrock's electronica ala early Kraftwerk or Kluster. Excellent stuff, but I wouldn't have chosen it to close the album and ending it with a pataphysical consideration.

Bonus tracks included two singles that accompanied the album, although only soul-ish sing-along Muddy Water is unheard on the Lp, So it's not like they're bringing much added value to the original album, even if it's a gas to relisten to Balloon and Mister once more, even if different mixes. No doubt that the four future 10CC geniuses learned a great deal about songwriting when participating in the prog-folk pop album, but no doubt that they brought a lot to Ramases as well, and that Space Hymns wouldn't be so great if they'd not taken part of it. Definitely worth the discovery, despite its hippy folk esoteric mumbo-jumbo.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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