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Decameron Third Light album cover
3.45 | 17 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rock & Roll Away (3:40)
2. All the Best Wishes (5:20)
3. The Strawman (4:37)
4. Saturday (3:03)
5. Wide as the Tears (6:06)
6. Journey's End (4:43)
7. Road to the Sea (3:09)
8. Trapeze (4:55)
9. The Ungodly (4:12)
10. Morning Glory (5:36)

Total Time 45:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Bell / guitar, bass, percussion
- Dik Cadbury / bass, violin, viola, guitar
- Johnny Coppin / guitar, keyboards;
- Al Fenn / guitar, tiple, bass;
- Geoff March / cello, keyboards, psaltery


- John Mealing / organ
- John Halsey / drums
- Mike Winfield / cor Anglais

Releases information

LP Transatlantic 304
CD Universal 1074

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DECAMERON Third Light ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DECAMERON Third Light reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars By 1975, cracks were appearing in the English folk rock infrastructure. Very few of the most established bands were still producing material of the same quality as in their heyday, and others, like STRAWBS, had moved on to a more symphonic "bigger" sound and devoted themselves to cracking the American market. This left a creative void that was amply serviced by Decameron. While they never achieved even the modest commercial success afforded the earlier delegates, the little critical recognition that was accorded tends to be lavished on "Third Light", and quite rightly so.

This is Decameron's most unified work, a complete modern rock effort with galling diversity in harmony. The producer Tom Allom probably had something to do with this, as he had shown sensitivity in coaxing more panache out of Strawbs on their own mid 70s classics.

Of most interest to progressive fans are three cuts: "All the best Wishes" is a haunting tune beginning as a gentle ballad before wah wah pedals turn it up a half dozen notches, as it deals with a breakup in an almost mystical way. "Journey's End" is a mellotron saturated beauty with John Coppin's best vocal and weeping lead guitars weaving in and out. "The Ungodly" is probably the group's best known track thanks to its selection for British folk rock compilations. Again, from peaceful acoustic beginnings it becomes a much more dramatic proposition on the empty souls of politicians. John Mealing's organ playing and the arresting chorus are not easy to shake.

Elsewhere, the album offers fine and diverse pleasures, such as the wry and very English ode to "Saturday", in which co-writer Dik Cadbury utilizes a conversational tempo and the vocal harmonies capture the posturing of young people on their day off. The spirited nautical ballad "Road to the Sea" again benefits from Mealing's organ work, while "Trapeze" provides a glimpse of lovers on the high wire, one the flyer and one the catcher, and "Scarecrow" is disturbingly and compellingly dissonant.

If you have a penchant for melodic and peculiarly British Isles folk rock with tasteful progressive flourishes, you should find "Third Light" to be thoroughly illuminating. 4.5 stars.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Third album from this West Counties unit, but this could've been the fourth too. Apparently another album was recorded for Mooncrest Records (tentatively called Beyond The Light or Beyond The Days and actually being given a catalogue number) but never finished and released before the band had moved on the folk specialist label Transatlantic Record and this present album called Third Light. Apparently the label change didn't affect much the group as roughly half the tracks from this album were foreseen for the previous unreleased album.

Roughly speaking Third Light is a bit of a carbon copy of the mammoth Special, but it lacks the enthusiasm and seems to be content on passing like a second rate Dave Cousins or third rate Dylan as so evident on the opening track, Road To The Sea and the Tim Buckley reprise of Morning Glory(one of the earliest cover of this classic). In other places, some trad folk permeate songs like Saturday and Strawman.

Other tracks bear more personality like All The Best Wishes (sizzling guitar solo and outstanding bass and cool drumming, courtesy of guest Halsey) and when Decameron gets ambitious (such as in Wide As The Years), it often works quite well (as in Trapeze or Journey's End), sometimes they even get brilliant with The Ungodly. It's just too bad that those five multi-instrumentalists never allow themselves to really rip it up like they would if they'd written a few instrumental tracks. Never essential, but enjoyable nevertheless.

The band would go on to record their last album that same year (same label too) and would disband, apparently because most of them had other ways of living than succeed through music business. Indeed only Cadbury (Steve Hackett and Mike D'Abo) and Fenn (Magna Carta) pursued musical careers while Coppins was the only to release solo albums. The group still occasionally reforms to play the UK folk summer festivals.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars I'll not provide you so thorough background, own experiences "back then", or as truth opinion as these two Misters, who posted their reviews prior to mine. After all, who wanna argue with folk experts in folk area, right ?

What I can give you is my point of view, worse, but equally honest (you know the saying: "I mean it")and, as far as I know more enthusiastic (when reviewing, I do it with keen obsession).

Folk-rock-country, that's their third album. Better than previous and again, not sure about prog elements (I didn't get prog folk definition so much yet, so don't blame me), but I know that it's a good one. Of course, there are little elements that differs it from mere singer- songwriter, like more-complex music structure, sound layers etc, but lie it would be if I say that I understand it. Great vocals. And the best track is probably The Ungodly

4(+), because of ... um what ? Note the lack of strongest catchy piece here.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Rock 'N' Roll away... from Prog

I own this album as part of a three-on-one-release called Parabola Road that holds three out Decameron's four albums over two CDs. The present album is somewhat annoyingly split over the two discs and not halfway through as it would be if it was to correspond to the original vinyl sides, but between track seven and track eight. But, if you want to hear the whole album in one go you can just rip it to your computer like I did. The other two albums featured on Parabola Road are Mammoth Special and Tomorrow's Pantomime (and there are also some bonus tracks that I have not yet heard). I suppose that this double CD release is now the best way to get these three albums. But, while I don't mind buying these several-on-one releases, I always prefer to rate the individual albums as they were originally released.

Decameron was a rather obscure Folk Rock band from the 70's and Third Light is, not surprisingly, the third album of theirs to see the light of day. The music found here is a mix of Folk Rock, Beatles-esque Pop and straightforward Rock & Roll with only slight progressive touches. I would put them in the same category as Al Stewart or Lindisfarne rather than Strawbs or Jethro Tull, though a couple of songs like The Ungodly and All The Best Wishes approach the style of Strawbs a bit. Though hailing from the UK, Decameron had a more American sound than many of their British Folk Rock colleagues drawing inspiration from both the likes of Crosby Stills Nash & Young and Fairport Convention.

Third Light is a pleasant album with 10 songs ranging from three to six minutes in length. The sound is based on acoustic, electric and steel guitars, bass and vocals with drums, violin and some discrete keyboards. This is a rather conventional Folk Rock line up and Decameron offers no real surprises. The quality of the songs is rather evenly spread over the album and there are not many standouts in either direction. However, The Ungodly stands out as the best and most progressive song and Rock 'N' Roll Away as the worst and least progressive one.

The music of Decameron is not bad but by no means essential, not even from a Folk Rock perspective and even less so from a Prog Folk perspective. Still, this is a worthy addition to a collection of someone with a taste for the Folk Rock of both sides of the Atlantic.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars 'Third Light' was Decameron's third of four studio releases and probably their most consistent effort, in that there are no real duds or filler here although there aren't really any standout tracks either. As with their prior two releases the lineup includes some guest appearances, in this case former If (and future Strawbs) keyboardist John Mealing, Patto percussionist John Halsey (the band never did have a full-time drummer as near as I can tell), and English horn player Mike Winfield on a few tracks, most notably "Saturday".

Like I said there are no real standout tracks here, although the building tempo and guitar/ strings interplay of "All the Best Wishes" and the winding and folksy "The Ungodly" serve to showcase that blend of rock and folk temperaments that most likely appealed to their modest fanbase at the time.

The opening "Rock and Roll Away" is more of a pub-rocker and akin to the sort of journeyman touring musician tale as the opening title track to their sophomore release.

Perhaps the oddest tune on the album is the heavily string-infused acoustic number "The Strawman" whose meaning I can't quite figure out but which sounds as if it was inspired more by stage music than either rock or folk. "Journey's End" is a bit like this as well with plenty of string swells and Winfield's laconic horn swirling around Mealing's electric piano and what I believe is Coppin's high tenor vocals. A nice piece that might have made a better closer than "The Ungodly", but who am I to say really.

"Wide as the Years" is the longest and arguably the most progressive track on the album, although with this band that really isn't saying much. The piano and strings again set the tone, with a winding vocal passage that deftly spins a musical yarn while managing to avoid and sort of chorus or traditional song structure. The ending of this song in particular is quite lovely without veering into sappy territory, and I can imagine would have made for a nice encore piece in concert.

Toward the end of the album "Road to the Sea" and "Trapeze" are geared a bit more toward a soft-rock sound that the band would pursue more fully on their final studio release 'Tomorrow's Pantomime' just a year later. Unfortunately that would also be the band's final album as they disbanded shortly after releasing it.

For me the first and last Decameron albums are their best, the first for its true folksy mood and influences, and the latter for the quality of musicianship as well as one of my favorite album covers ever. This one doesn't quite rise to that level, but given that all the tracks (except possibly "The Strawman") are solidly decent, I have to say the effort rates three of five stars and is mildly recommended but mostly to those who have heard any of the other albums and are still interested in the band. The album has never been released on CD as far as I know, but has been issued as part of CD packages, one combined with 'Tomorrow's Pantomime' on Castle Records and again along with 'Say Hello to the Band' and 'Tomorrow's Pantomime' as part of the 'Parabola Road' collection. Either one will do if you are interested, although 'Parabola Road' is probably the easier one to find. Worth enjoying if you come across it.


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