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Decameron Tomorrow's Pantomime album cover
3.13 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Deal (4:40)
2. Fallen Over (2:25)
3. Ask Me Tomorrow (5:14)
4. Dancing (3:07)
5. Tomorrow's Pantomime (4:39)
6. Single-Handed (4:00)
7. Crazy Seed (2:48)
8. The Shadows on the Stairs (6:23)
9. So This Is God's Country / Peace With Honour (8:50)

Total Time 42:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Bell / lead vocals, electric Guitar, congas
- John Coppin / lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, piano, electric piano, string synthesizer, Fender Rhodes, clavinet
- Dik Cadbury / lead vocal, electric, acoustic, and slide guitars, violin, maraccas, Vocals, saxophone
- Geoff March / string synthesizer, Hammond organ, violin, cello, saxophone, Vocals
- Bob Critchley / Drums
- Al Fenn / Bass

Releases information

LP Transatlantic TRA 325
CD Universal 1075

Buy DECAMERON Tomorrow's Pantomime Music

Third Light & Tomorrow's PantomimeThird Light & Tomorrow's Pantomime
Castle Essential 1997
$23.45 (used)
tomorrow's pantomime LPtomorrow's pantomime LP
$35.00 (used)
Third Light / Tomorrow's PantomimeThird Light / Tomorrow's Pantomime
Castle - Old Numbers 2000
$7.96 (used)

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DECAMERON Tomorrow's Pantomime ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DECAMERON Tomorrow's Pantomime reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars For the fourth and final album, Decameron strayed further from their folk roots than they had on "Third Light", but this is still very identifiable as folk rock. Coppin and Bell continue to write together and share vocal duties. Not as uneven as "Mammoth Special" and not as magnificent as "Third Light", "Tomorrow's Pantomime boasts enough highlights to make the group's imminent demise seem unfairly premature.

"The Deal" starts things off well, with a hard edged dramatic flair supported by fine fiddling and lead guitar. The beat is infectious without sounding too much like 1976, and "Fallen Over" flirts even more commercially with its catchy lyrics and chorus, handled with confident restraint. The same cannot be said for "Dancing", in which the group sadly succumbs, for a moment, to the fads of the day, while "Ask me Tomorrow" is a dull slow number only notable for a rare lead vocal performance by Dik Cadbury. The title cut is a wonder, with a similar flow to the "Deal", but with Dave Bell as singer and Geoff March excelling on sax and John Coppin on clavinet. The lyrics include a campy reference to the protagonist's presumably female friend who "comes off sleek and sultry, like a working man's Jean Harlow".

Two other fine tunes are the melodic "Crazy Seed" and the poignant "The Shadow on the Stairs", in which Decameron again views relationship woes, in this case divorce, from the politically incorrect male perspective. It's dodgy but handled even sympathizes with him after learning he got a suspended sentence for breaking down the door. The closing "epic" two-fer just don't rise to the heights hoped for as a closer to the band's career, in spite of some good moments especially in "So this is God's Country", but "Peace with Honour" seems like a weaker echo of "The Empty Space" from "Mammoth Special".

As an epilogue to the career of a band that deserved better, "Tomorrow's Pantomime" primarily shrugs its way off the stage to make way for the immediacy of the less melodically and lyrically deep punk movement, and bows out honourably with nary a sound.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars "Maid Marion is a lousy part when you'd rather be Ophelia"

Decameron is a rather obscure Folk Rock band from the 70's. Though hailing from the UK, Decameron had a more American sound than many of their British colleagues. Tomorrow's Pantomime was the band's fourth and last ever album and also the most mature and well- produced one. If this is in any sense progressive, their "progressiveness" lies in a certain eclecticism mixing influences from primarily British and American Folk Rock, Beatles-esque Pop and straightforward Rock & Roll with slight touches of Jazz and Funk. If I must name some similar bands I would say Barclay James Harvest in their least symphonic and most Folk rocking moments (remember Mill Boys?) and perhaps Strawbs (but not their most progressive material). One of the members of Decameron was Dik Cadbury who would later join Steve Hackett's band.

I own this album as part of a three-on-one-release called Parabola Road that holds three out of the band's four albums over two CDs. The other two albums featured are Third Light and Mammoth Special. Tomorrow's Pantomime is the one I have listened to the most. Though more mature than their earlier albums, the present album is somewhat uneven. Indeed, almost every second track is significantly less interesting compared to the rest; tracks one, three and five (The Deal, Ask Me Tomorrow and the title track) are, together with the album's last three tracks, the better songs, while tracks two, four and six (Fallen Over, Dancing and Single Handed) are rather out of place. The latter is a Rock 'N' Roll number that would have fitted perfectly on an Elton John album while Dancing is a rather dispensable Funk rocker.

The most progressive songs, and also among the best ones, are the last two: The Shadows On The Stairs and the two part So This Is God's Country/Peace With Honour. Here we get a little bit more substance and something more than conventional song structures.

Tomorrow's Pantomime is a rather good and partly enjoyable, but somewhat uneven, album. Not bad at all, but by no means essential. Recommended particularly to those with tastes in the Folk Rock direction without too strong criteria of "progressiveness".

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars I don't know much about Decameron's history but they do have the distinction of releasing one of my favorite album covers of all time with 'Tomorrow's Pantomime'. Not sure exactly sure what is so appealing about a sad mime wearing an absurdly large space helmet, but every time I see this cover it gives me a smile.

And while I get the impression this was a fairly unexceptional pub-rock band they are nonetheless very good musicians, and the fellows distinguished themselves with some particularly good poetic songwriting at a time when too many in mainstream rock circles were coasting behind vapid verse and a claim that only the instrumental music "mattered". Right, and inflection matters when one speaks but not the words that are actually spoken. The album opens strong with "The Deal", a straight-ahead rocker that stands apart thanks to clear, strong vocals and well-played rhythm guitar right from the onset. Midway through an electric violin is introduced and will reoccur throughout the album to provide a melancholy lilt to the frequently sobering lyrics. The violinist here reminds me quite a bit of Greg Bloch (String Cheese, PFM) on the 'It's a Beautiful Day... Today" album during David LaFlamme's temporary exile from that band.

The band reveals their road warrior roots with the obligatory young-lad-with-dream-turns- jaded-rock-star on "Fallen Over", delivered to a simple, toe-tapping beat and almost certainly designed for the concert stage but certainly not high art in most senses of the word.

One of a handful of relationship songs on the album, "Ask me Tomorrow" offers a solemn and somewhat cynical view of the world and the future from a young man to his lover, again with poignant violin delivery:

"you ask if I will love you till forever - come over to the window and tell me what you see; I see bowed heads and solemn faces, lies and hiding places... That's your forever, crawling on its hands and knees."

The album's range (so to speak) also extends to what sounds an awful lot like pre-disco and the appropriately-titled "Dancing" complete with fat bass, twangy guitar riffs and a driving beat framed with a chorus of male backing singers. Not quite the Bee Gees, but this one wouldn't be all that out-of-place on a cutout bin 70s disco collection.

The title track houses the best lyrical line on the album with the clever observation "Maid Marian is a lousy part when you'd rather be Ophelia". There's a lengthy tradition of pantomime in southern England that somewhat bridges theater, old-fashioned music halls and even modern pop/rock (check out the history of glam sometime). I won't pretend to understand all that historical implications here, but I'm sure Brits of that stripe will appreciate many sentiments in this narration of a mildly voyeuristic relationship.

Seems like most every album has something that is either overtly or at least suspected filler. "Single-Handed" fits that description here. It's a decent enough tune but given the strong lyrics, tasty guitar and emotive violin elsewhere on the album it just fails to stand out much. Reminds me a bit of several other seventies b-listers including Home, Bad Company, latter Wishbone Ash and Help Yourself.

Less common, but certainly not unheard of are world-weary prodigal son songs including Kansas' "Carry on Wayward Son", certainly the most famous of these but definitely not the only one. "Crazy Seed" seems to be a similar reflective tale of a hard-living world traveler reflecting back. Musically the band is quite tight here, with violin and piano both strong and dominant while the percussion takes a back seat and the chorus of almost angelic backing vocals provide a lush depth that transcends most of the rest of the album.

Someone in the band was either going through an ugly divorce at the time of this recording, or knew someone who was, or lived through one as a youth. The experience yielded "Shadows of the Stairs", the somber lament of a relationship gone sour and the resultant strife of child visitation arrangements, property division and bitter accusations. Musically I like the varied tempos and emotive instrumentation, but lyrically this is a song about pain and a part of life that's just never funny or ever even fun.

The grandest effort on the album is also one of the most confusing, or at least slightly cryptic. "So This is God's Country" is a ranging composition that's part folk tale, part flag- waving patriotic anthem and maybe just a bit of drunken dirge. What's confusing is the song starts off as some sort of English self-loathing exercise set to a catchy guitar riff and rocking percussion, but eventually morphs midway into an American (U.S.) jingoistic ramble about being a world power and conquering evil in two world wars and setting up shop as a stalwart capitalistic guardian to the world ("peace with honor, screams the dollar"). I can't tell if this is meant to be sincere or sarcastic, but given the time frame it seems likely the band meant no disrespect (this song sung today might come off quite differently I'm sad to say).

Decameron put out two or three additional studio albums before disappearing before the decade even ran out, largely without a trace. I wouldn't raise the band up as a lost treasure, but they were certainly better players than many other long-forgotten b-listers of the seventies, and their lyrics definitely show the group was willing to put some pride and effort into what they released even if the result is slightly uneven. A solid three stars though (out of five) and recommended to folk rock and progressive crossover fans, as well those enamored with modern English folk.


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