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Warm Dust - And It Came To Pass CD (album) cover


Warm Dust


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.50 | 37 ratings

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3 stars Around the turn of 1969/70, the renowned Catacombs club in Wolverhampton, succeeded in attracting, in successive weeks, Free, Caravan, East of Eden and Quintessence, with Yes and Warm Dust not long after. A hugely impressive array of rock/prog bands, with, the obvious diversity of the music aside, each performance freshly memorable in its own way to my then-youthful mind: Free's Simon Kirke delivering a hugely energetic, rock-solid and sweat-laden peformance on drums; Caravan's four-man line-up being augmented by flute courtesy of a pre-recorded backing tape; East of Eden's Dave Arbus ending up playing one of his double-sax solos on the fire escape outside the building; Maha Dev fixing a broken guitar string during Quintessence's magical set-opener, Ganga Mai; Yes appearing so late in the evening that there was only time for me to hear three songs before I had to dash for the last bus....aah! memories are made of this. And then came Warm Dust.....

In my view, WD - ( did they come from Burnley?) - more than held their own amongst their illustrious counterparts and I wholly agree that they fully deserve a place in the prog rock archives. "And it came to pass" is a genuine curate's egg of an album - and the glaring misspelling of the words "turbulence" and "losing" in the titles of two of the tracks is distinctly amateurish - but it was most definitely "progressive". I, for one, have not heard anything quite like the title track before or since (although the format is not dissimilar to "A day in the life" off Sgt Pepper), and I still regularly play it on my car cassette thirty five years after its release. To me, that speaks volumes. There are a couple of blues-based numbers that I never really liked, but "Turbulence" and "Achromasia" are wonderful vehicles for some genuinely soulful sax playing by John Surgey and Alan Soloman, working perfectly in harmony, and Dave Pepper and Terry Comer both play in a beautifully understated way throughout. (I seem to recall that Dave was involved in a serious car accident shortly after the LP was released, which may explain his absence from the subsequent LP's - apologies if I have got this wrong.) Paul Carrack, of course, needs no further introduction, but, here, he plays organ in a masterly and swirlingly evocative way. Which brings us to Dransfield Walker. Hell's bells, what a powerful voice this man had!! A bit too heavy and strident at times, maybe, but he certainly gets the band's overriding anti-war message across in a distinctly unforgettable way. "Wash my eyes", is to my mind, the stand out track - coming in at over 14 minutes it gives each band member the chance to show their paces around a compellingly haunting and recurring jazz/rock theme, and it's simply stunning.

Of the band's subsequent releases, there is, sadly (and with one very notable exception), little to say. They don't add anything to the diversity of tracks on the debut release and I would advise you not to search out either. However, the notable exception is the Blind Boy suite off the eponymous third LP. Coming in at 18 minutes, this is one of the greatest prog tracks ever produced - a diverse amalgam of styles and rhythms, fantastic woodwind segments underpinned by urgent, restless, swelling bass/organ/drums. Plus Mr Walker's vocal gymnastics. Not a lead guitar within 50 miles - and not in the least bit missed, either. An altogether wondrous track that knocked the spots of everything else on the LP, indeed, everything else they ever recorded . The recommendation is to get hold of this track, tape it straight after "And it came to pass", get in the car and head east on the M62. The journey from Lancashire to Leeds will simply fly by. With any luck, you might not even notice Halifax. That's testimony enough to just how good these two tracks are in tandem.

As regards a score for the debut LP, not everyone's cup of tea, by any means, and somewhat inconsistent, but a very well-merited three stars (bordering on four) for genuine originality and technical accomplishment. And some excellent tunes, too. Thank you, Warm Dust, for the memories.

tbstars | 3/5 |


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