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REFUGEE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Refugee picture
Refugee biography
Founded in London, UK in 1973 - Disbanded in 1974

What do you get if you take THE NICE and replace Keith Emerson for Patrick MORAZ ?

The answer is simple REFUGEE, an excellent Symphonic Prog band less pompous but IMHO with a technically better keyboardist.

The previous story is well known, Keith Emerson, the heart and sould of THE NICE left the band to form the first Prog supergroup ELP, so in that instant THE NICE ceased to exist. They managed to survive until 1973 with to inferior releases "Elegy" and "Autumn from Spring" which mainly consist of older material and reworks of older tracks including a ghost keyboardist who was already playing in another band.

But Lee Jackson and Brian Davidson wanted to revive the band, so they searched for another keyboardist who could replace Keith.and they found him. The Swiss born virtuoso Patrick Moraz left MAINHORSE so they recruited him and the result was incredibly solid.

Forget about the overblown keyboard sections of their early and the horrendous voice of Jackson (Who rarely sings), just listen Patrick performance. The band was never more mature, knowing what they wanted to achieve and what they had to do. They replaced the pyrotechnical excesses of Keith Emerson with the sober style of Patrick.

In 1974 they released their self titled debut and farewell album, a real gem, solid from start to end, instead of the hard aggressive Post Romantic and Modern Classical sound provided by Emerson, this album has a more versatile sound oriented towards the Baroque and Classic era.

But the fate of REFUGEE was sealed, Patrick Moraz was recruited by Yes to release the outstanding "Relayer" and they had to realize their history was over.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

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REFUGEE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.15 | 235 ratings
Refugee
1974

REFUGEE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 31 ratings
Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974
2007

REFUGEE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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REFUGEE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974 by REFUGEE album cover Live, 2007
3.54 | 31 ratings

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Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 358

As I said, when I reviewed their only and eponymous debut studio album, Refugee raised from the ashes of The Nice. In spite of their musical quality and notoriety, The Nice never sold many records and released only four studio albums during their brief lifespan. Keith Emerson became disenchanted with the group and left it to form a similar but more successful group Emerson, Lake & Palmer, with Greg Lake from King Crimson and Carl Palmer from Atomic Rooster.

When The Nice broke up after the departure of Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson and Brian Davison pursued individual and different musical directions for several years, until they discovered the Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz. Then, they recruited him to form a new band, a second coming of The Nice. Thus, was born Refugee which released only one studio album, their eponymous debut studio album 'Refugee', released in 1974. However, the life of the band was very brief because in the same year Moraz left Refugee to join Yes, replacing the departure of Rick Wakeman from that band.

However, a live album was also released, 'Live In Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974'. The story of the release of this album is very curious and interesting. Rescued from its obscurity, 'Live In Concert ' Newcastle City Hall 1974' was taken from an old cassette recording that was in the possession of the Refugee drummer, Brian Davison. During a conversation with him, writer Martyn Hanson, a habitual writer of notes and books about Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Nice and Refugee, asked if the drummer had any old live recordings from The Nice in his possession. Davison said no, but he also said that he had a Refugee old tape, which he proceeded to dig out of an old box. So, and despite its age, the recordings were in good conditions of preservation, and after being cleaned up a bit, it was able to be released.

So 'Live In Concert ' Newcastle City Hall 1974' was only released in 2007, thirty three years later of its recording sessions. The live show included on this album was recorded at the legendary Newcastle City Hall, in the year of 1974.

'Live In Concert ' Newcastle City Hall 1974' has eight tracks. The first track 'Outro ' Ritt Mickley' is a short live version of a song originally released on their studio album 'Refugee'. The fourth track 'Someday', the fifth track 'Papillon' and the seventh track 'Grand Canyon' are also tracks previously released on 'Refugee'. The second track 'One Left Handed Peter Pan' and the eighth track 'Refugee Jam', are two tracks that never were released on any studio album from them. They were slated for their second studio album, which was never made. The third track 'The Diamond Hard Blues Apples Of The Moon' is a live performance of a song originally composed by The Nice and that appears on their fourth studio album 'Elegy'. The sixth track 'She Belongs To Me' is a live performance of a song originally composed by Bob Dylan and released on Bob Dylan's fourth studio album, 'Bringing It All Back Home'.

About the live performance of the tracks all over the album, they're all great. Moraz's pseudo classical 'Papillon', stretched out considerably from the studio version, not only finds the keyboardist as fluid as Emerson but, with a great arsenal of many instruments and a more textural player as well. 'Grand Canyon Suite' is the highlight of this sixty five minute set, demonstrating exactly why Moraz would be such a perfect, albeit sadly short lived, fit for Yes. It's the kind of epic progressive rock that was de rigueur in the day, moving from complex pseudo classicism and propulsive rock grooves to majestic balladry, even referencing The Nice's classic 'Rondo '69' during Moraz's organ solo near the end of the eighteen minute piece. The group revisits also a couple of staples from The Nice and Dilan, 'She Belongs To Me' and the psychedelic 'Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon'. In both cases, Moraz's keyboards work is in every bit a par with Emerson's work, despite he has never achieved the level of popular acclaim of Keith. It's a curious thing that, while both continued working through so many years, even Moraz enjoyed a stint as keyboardist for The Moody Blues until 1990, neither of his latter works are considered significant when compared with his past works from the 70's.

Conclusion: We can see this album in two different perspectives, the quality of its release and the quality of its live performance. Relatively to the quality of its release, it isn't bad but it has some lower points. Its sound quality is poor and isn't very well balanced, particularly in relation to the vocals, especially because those who knows the band, knows that Jackson never was a great singer. Relatively to the quality of the live performance, it's superb and I even dare to say that for those who were lucky enough to see that live set, they were very happy, for sure. They certainly saw one of the greatest live performances in the 70's. So, despite the low quality of the recordings of the album, I can't give it less than 4 stars. Thi is a fantastic and a wonderful live performance, which means, that this is an essential album in any progressive rock collection. This live album and their eponymous debut studio album put Refugee as one of the best prog rock groups in the 70's. They also proved that they weren't inferior to The Nice and to Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Refugee by REFUGEE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 235 ratings

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Refugee
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 357

Refugee is a progressive rock band formed from the ashes of The Nice. The Nice was formed in 1960 by David O'List, Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson and Brian Davison. In 1970, Emerson frustrated with the lack of mainstream success left the group and with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer formed Emerson, Lake & Palmer. After the disband of The Nice, Jackson has formed Jackson Heights, but later he was again involved with Davison and then both invited the Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz to form a new trio, Refugee, in 1974. However, the lifetime of the band was very short because soon after the release of this album Moraz was invited to join Yes to replace Rick Wakeman, after Rick's departure from the group.

So, in many ways, Refugee resembles Emerson, Lake & Palmer as they are as pompous and classical influenced, which isn't really a huge surprise. But, at a technical level, Moraz soon reveals himself from the opening an effective conjurer to draw sounds from Moogs and other synthesizers. As for Jackson and Davison it's inevitable to hear how they have grown since the days of The Nice. They sound relentlessly powerful when it comes to making any of the long suites and reach apogees of electrifying intensity, not forgetting that both have the opportunity to diversify their contributions.

'Refugee' is the only studio album released by Refugee. When Moraz was asked to join Yes, later in the same year, that caused, of course, the breakup of Refugee. However, a live album was released in 2007, 'Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974', containing two songs from the earlier era of The Nice. This is also a very good live album, indeed.

So, 'Refugee' is the self-titled studio album of Refugee and was released in 1974. The album has five tracks. The first track 'Papillon' was written by Moraz and represents a great opener for the album. It's an instrumental track, which reminds us strongly Emerson, which sounds very pompous and that shows to us an amazing skilfully keyboardist, who is massively influenced by the classical and the jazz music. This is a fantastic track to open this excellent album. The second track 'Someday' was written by Moraz and Jackson and is a completely different type of track when compared with the previous one. It's a track in the style of a ballad, very melodic and where we can feel present the both elements mentioned on the previous track, the classical and the jazz. The track has a main distinctive characteristic, the voice of Jackson. Personally, I don't dislike his strong vocals on this track. However, if you don't like that, don't worry because it only happens in here. The third track 'Grand Canyon' is divided into five movements: 'The Source', 'Theme For The Canyon', 'The Journey', 'Rapids' and 'The Mighty Colorado'. The music was written by Moraz and the lyrics were written by Jackson. This is the first great epic on the album and is, without any doubt, one of the two best tracks on it, and is my favourite too. This is a track full of different musical passages and rhythms and is one of the songs that come closest to the traditional sound of The Nice and of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Moraz has here a fantastic and tremendous keyboard work and where we can see clearly his incredible capacity as a keyboardist and as a music composer, too. The fourth track 'Ritt Mickley' was written by Moraz. This is another instrumental track. It's a kind of a funky piece of music with classical influences. However, this is a very well structured, complex and fast song, which is in general dominated by several keyboard instruments played by Moraz. That massive combination of several keyboards gives to us a delightful and melodic musical work. The fifth track 'Credo' is also divided, but in this case into eight movements: 'Prelude', 'I Belive, Pt. 1', 'Credo Theme', 'Credo Toccata & Song (The Lost Cause)', 'Agitato', 'I Believe, Pt. 2', 'Variation' and 'Main Theme & Finale'. The music was written by Moraz and the lyrics were written by Jackson. This is the other great epic on the album and it's also the second best track mentioned by me, previously. As happened with 'Grand Canyon' this is a lengthy and very complex track, much elaborated and extremely varied, with full of different musical passages and intricate rhythms that sometimes reminds me The Nice. But, I think Moraz plays in a different way from Emerson, and here we can clearly see that Refugee created their own style. It's a great closing for the album.

Conclusion: 'Refugee' is one of the greatest albums released in the 70's. It's not inferior to the best musical works of The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It's a very creative musical work, full of wonderful keyboards, which driven the symphonic progressive rock in all its pompous and glory. It leaves us a bitter taste in the mouth by not having the opportunity of seeing the group rejoined after the departure of Moraz of Yes. 'Refugee' also proves that Moraz is one of the best progressive keyboardists ever and deserves to be better known and see recognized his great talent as a performer and as composer. It's an album that explains the reason why he was invited by Yes to substitute Wakeman. This album is a great postcard of his musical contribution to the progressive rock world. But it's incomplete without 'Relayer' and 'Story Of I'. In my humble opinion, these three albums are his legacy to the progressive rock music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Refugee by REFUGEE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 235 ratings

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Refugee
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by Agnenrecords

5 stars Sometime in late 1973 a small Xeroxed poster appeared in Kelly's record store in Barrow-in-Furness advertising an upcoming gig at Lancaster University. This was for Refugee, featuring the former rhythm section of The Nice, Lee Jackson on bass and Brian Davison on drums, with the then unknown keyboard player Patrick Moraz. I was only 14 and didn't manage to go but my older brother went with a couple of his school friends and came home with a tale of an amazing concert (and of missing the last train home and wandering around Lancaster looking for somewhere to spend the night.) It was fairly obvious that the band would attract Nice comparisons (I believe this was part of the wording in the advert for the concert) but even if Nice connections were used to lure potential fans, the old material aired at the gig (Diamond Hard Blue Apples of the Moon, She Belongs to Me and Rondo) was supplementary to the new Refugee compositions.

The one and only Refugee studio album was released by Charisma on April 19th 1974 and this was acquired for '2 from a short-lived record store in Barrow indoor market that fronted onto Duke Street. I bought a second-hand copy to fill an important gap in my record collection when I moved to London the late 70s, but the inner sleeve on my LP was missing the lyrics and other pertinent information present on my brother's original. It's incredible to think that it took until 2006 before it was committed to CD (Voiceprint IDVP002CD), carefully remastered by Moraz and his former band mate from Mainhorse, Jean Ristori; this is why I'd class Refugee as a forgotten classic.

At the time of its release, Refugee gained some highly positive critical attention. The keyboard-led trio formula may have been borrowed from The Nice but the music, almost exclusively written by Moraz, was a very different prospect. This was much more symphonic in style and scale and on the two long-form compositions on the album the structure and instrumentation was far more in keeping with the style that would become synonymous with The Enid. Patrick Moraz's earlier song writing, highlighted on the Mainhorse album from 1971 (re-released in 2006 on CD by Voiceprint IDVP001CD) is much more proto-progressive, more blues-based with a narrower sonic palette. Though Moraz had worked with Jackson in the post-Nice, pre-Refugee Jackson Heights, it may have been the chemistry between the members of the new band that allowed Moraz to express himself in this symphonic prog style, where the music was quite unlike either The Nice or Mainhorse.

Despite the large number of keyboard tracks on Refugee the sound, even on the original vinyl release with potential compression problems from sides of 26 minutes and 24 minutes long, was clear and well balanced. Lee Jackson's vocals were also much improved since his Nice days. Patrick Moraz simply transposed keys to fit with Jackson's vocal range, with astonishing results. From the deeply personal Someday and sections of Credo to the more straightforward narrative of Grand Canyon Suite (which appears on the vinyl version as Canyon Suite), the vocal delivery is laden with a befitting emotion that is always well-controlled and in-tune. The production brings out the bass much more than on Nice albums and Brian Davison's drumming seems better suited to the Refugee compositions. In The Nice, Jackson and Davison were always in the background, simply providing a driving rhythm for Emerson to solo over; in Refugee, despite Moraz playing the lead, the band seems more egalitarian, with a shared input and output. There were some sonic innovations, too. Moraz erected a set of slinkies (the coiled spring child's toy) on a metal clothes frame with a set of contact mics which he played with a feather duster; he also used an Alpine horn (being from Switzerland) on Grand Canyon Suite.

The suit that Jackson is wearing on the cover photo of the album was also his choice of outfit for the Lancaster gig, and there is YouTube live footage of Jackson in these clothes. According to my brother, Jackson also pranced around stage with a butterfly net during Papillon. After their demise, there were rumours of unreleased material and in due course, when Martyn Hanson was researching his book Hang on to a Dream - The Story of The Nice, he asked Brian Davison if he had any Nice bootlegs. The answer was no, but he did have a mixing desk recording of Refugee from Newcastle City Hall, prior to the release of the studio album. This was eventually released on CD by Voiceprint in 2007 (VP421CD) and does indeed contain some previously unrecorded material, destined for a never-to-appear second studio album, entitled One Left Handed Peter Pan. Musically, this is more in the vein of existing Refugee material (and a vehicle for a Brian Davison drum solo) but lyrically it is reminiscent of Jackson's Nice days, relating a tale of Jackson's experience in the music industry.

I was reluctantly drawn into easy audio portability and bought myself a Sony Walkman mp3 player, but I found the files ripped from my 2006 Refugee CD rather annoying because the two multi-part suites appear as separate tracks on the CD, producing intrusive pauses when played back on my Walkman. As a solution for when I'm physically separated from my vinyl, I've pasted the subsections together using NCH WavePad software and removed the gaps to recreate the original album experience. The short-lived nature of the band (their first gig being in December 1973 and their last in August 1974) meant that though they had released a mature prog album that has to be regarded as one of the genre's best, they were destined to be forgotten. Moraz went on to further success with Yes and the Moody Blues but Jackson gave up a front-line musician's life for some considerable time afterwards and Davison, after a short spell in Gong, did likewise.

A forgotten masterpiece that's one of my top five albums of all time. Five stars

 Refugee by REFUGEE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 235 ratings

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Refugee
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars REFUGEE were a short-lived Symphonic Prog threesome from London. You could be forgiven for thinking Phil Collins was a member of Refugee, because the man in the middle on their one and only self-titled album cover from 1974 bears a striking resemblance to the Genesis drummer. There's no mistaking Swiss keyboard player Patrick Moraz on the right of the album cover though. He was brought in as a last-minute replacement for Keith Emerson, who was otherwise engaged with the Prog- Rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer at the time. The other two members of Refugee besides Patrick Moraz were both ex-members of The Nice:- Lee Jackson on bass, electric cello, electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar and lead vocals, and Brian Davison on drums and percussion, where "percussion" meant virtually anything the versatile drummer could lay his hands on, including tympani, various gongs, Tibetan temple bells, African drums, kabassa (whatever that is!?) and broken glass! Patrick Moraz wasn't exactly slacking in the keyboards department either with this very impressive array of keyboard instruments at his disposal:- Mini- moog, AKS synthesiser, piano, electric piano, clavinet, organ, pipe organ, marimbaphone, alpine horn, electronic slinky, mellotron, and occasional vocals too! Patrick Moraz would of course go on to be a member of YES and a "days of future passed" member of The Moody Blues. Who could forget the famous music trial of the century!? The sole Refugee album was recorded in 1974 at ART Studios in Geneva in Patrick Moraz' native Switzerland, so he would have felt right at home there, whereas the two English members of the band, Lee Jackson and Brian Davison were temporary "refugees".

The title of the imperious 5-minute-long opening number "Papillon" can have several meanings:- Either a black butterfly; a symbolic breaking free of societal restraints and restrictions; or even a toy breed of dog with large butterfly-like ears! One thing's for sure though, the "Papillon" on this album is no delicate butterfly. No, this is an aggressive and impressive Pictures at an Exhibition-style display of powerful keyboard prog in the best tradition of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. There's no shortage of classically-inspired, lightning-speed keyboard runs to be heard from Patrick Moraz in this tremendous instrumental album opener, which also features a storming salvo of machine-gun-like drumming from Brian Davison. Yes, it looks like we could be in for quite a treat here with this gloriously pompous one-off album of unashamedly exhibitionistic Symphonic Prog. On the second song "Someday", We get to hear the emotionally-wrought (and some might say "over-blown") vocals of Lee Jackson for the first time, which also features another incredible keyboard performance from Patrick Moraz before he went on to join YES for their "Relayer" album in late 1974. "Someday" is one of those grand magisterial prog epics that gathers in pace and intensity as it progresses, so it could be described as the true definition of Progressive Rock. If "Papillon" represented a symbolic breaking-free, then "Someday" continues the theme of liberation with the powerful message contained within these lyrics:- "Someday, I'll go away, Pack my bag, Get on a plane, I'll fly up through my cloud, I'll smash right through, Right into the sun." ..... This is the kind of powerfully uplifting feel-good prog that'll leave you flying high on a wave of joyous and exhilarating emotion. If you haven't quite reached seventh prog heaven yet, then the third piece of music might help get you there, because next up is the awesome 17-minute-long, "Grand Canyon" suite, the first of two epic suites on the album. This magnificent five-part magnum opus is every bit as grandiose and spectacular as the song title implies. Be prepared to be stunned by this brilliant landscape of dazzling musical colours. The outstanding "Grand Canyon" suite represents the musical equivalent of the real Grand Canyon bathed in rich golden colours at sunset.

The title of the Side Two opener "Ritt Mickley" is a humorous reference to the strong Swiss accent of Patrick Moraz when he pronounces "rhythmically". It's another 6-minute-long demonstration of ELP-style keyboard prog at it's absolute best, so you can expect another dazzling display of keyboard histrionics from Mr Moraz & Co. The final piece of music on the album is the second of the two epic suites. It's a thunderous 18-minute-long masterpiece titled "Credo". The majestic music is divided into eight movements of stunning symphonic splendour and delight, which just HAS to be heard to be believed. This is incredible!

You can't fail to be over-awed by this stunning display of ELP-style keyboard prog. This outstanding one-off album has a treasured place in the hallowed halls of ProgArchives. Refugee might not be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but they truly deserve to be included with full honours and flags flying with this very impressive powerhouse debut!

 Refugee by REFUGEE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 235 ratings

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Refugee
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by WFV

4 stars 4.5 stars. Only the cover art is a turnoff for me as we find the Nice with Patrick Moraz in for Keith Emerson. He makes the keyboards his b word and elevates good material to great heights, especially with the effective Grand Canyon Suite epic. Lee Jackson does his best with the vocals, I can hear why he'd be give or take with a lot of listeners. He adds color to the songs for me and really performs admirably - on Credo he sounds like a cross between Peter Gabriel and Arthur Brown.

I'd call this a second tier minor masterpiece that all prog fans should hear at one time or another and it doesn't surprise me this is essential prog listening for some

 Refugee by REFUGEE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 235 ratings

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Refugee
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by Rael

5 stars Absolute gem and masterpiece. Really one of the top prog albums in history. Everythings seems to be perfectly on place here. Outstanding composition and instruments. Some seem to complain on Lee Jackson's voice on this album, but for me it suits here perfectly. I think no other vocals could paint a better picture of amazing wonder of nature in Grand Canyon. The sung part in this suite is one of the most epic and emotional thing i ever heard in prog rock. Other tracks also are top notch (Jackson makes another great vocal performance in Credo). It is really pity that Moraz left the band (even thought he recorded another masterpiece with Yes). But maybe this makes Refugee album even more special. This is surely a must have for any prog rock listener.
 Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974 by REFUGEE album cover Live, 2007
3.54 | 31 ratings

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Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Refugee were a short-lived project by any measure, which I suppose explains why the sound quality on this solitary live album of theirs is so mediocre - with so few gigs to their name and not a whole lot of confidence from their record company (who passed up the chance to get a 2nd album from them), I guess we're lucky any of their concerts were recorded at all. The track list begins with "Outro" - yes, we're coming into the thing mid-flow, proper bootleg style - and the sound quality remains highly variable across the album's running time.

Refugee's live set consists of a mash-up of the band's original compositions and various old songs from The Nice, which doesn't exactly help counteract the notion that Brian Davison and Lee Jackson were treating Refugee as a way of continuing The Nice by other means. The original material is captured better on their sole studio album, and Moraz' talents would found better use in Yes after he jumped ship, so the album is really solely for hardcore Refugee fans who are desperate to own all the official releases from the band - and how many people are head-over-heels for Refugee in the first place? Not many, I'd wager. Some CD editions of the debut album include this material as a bonus, but if you already have the debut and the original releases by The Nice I wouldn't put the effort into tracking this down if I were you. because you've already got all this material in greatly superior quality renditions.

 Refugee by REFUGEE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 235 ratings

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Refugee
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Although it would be both incorrect and unfair to write Refugee's sole studio album off as simply being Patrick Moraz' audition tape for his short-lived spot in Yes, I do wonder whether it would have received what attention it has received if it didn't include both an early appearance of Moraz before the work he's most known to prog fans for on the one hand, and a latter-day appearance by Lee Jackson and Brian Davison of The Nice.

Of course, it would also be incorrect to regard Refugee as a continuation of The Nice by other means; despite retaining the power trio format, Moraz showboats less as a keyboardist and has mildly different classical influences. At the same time, the album is a competent and enjoyable collection of prog compositions which fail to really offer anything in the way of a unique selling point. It feels to me as though the band put the album out a shade too early - that if they had a bit more time to both refine their compositions and to actually hit on a distinctive personality and sound for the band rather than sounding as flat and generic as they do here, they might have been on to something.

As it stands, it's nice, but I can see why Charisma passed up the chance to sign them on for a second album and I can also see why Moraz left for Yes, because there were some genuinely interesting and innovative stuff happening in the Yes camp at the time whilst this album sounds like a mild throwback to previous phases of the prog revolution. Quite simply, Davison and Jackson had fallen behind the rest of the prog pack, and Moraz' talents only really had an opportunity to shine when Jon Anderson and crew gave him a chance to join them at the cutting edge.

 Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974 by REFUGEE album cover Live, 2007
3.54 | 31 ratings

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Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars To say the sound quality of Refugee's live album is rough is an understatement- it is almost like a bootleg. But that could have been swiftly forgiven had this group performed as a purveyor of instrumentals. Honestly, Billy Bob Thornton's character from Slingblade sing progressive rock just doesn't work. Lee Jackson's throaty, gritty, hoarse vocals (just listen to "The Diamond Hard Blue Apples of the Moon") make me wonder if I should burst out laughing or run screaming from the room. His grating nasal buzzing is worse than what I could hear at a karaoke bar after midnight; it's so terrible I cannot imagine why anyone would praise it. I can't listen to it with a straight face. A proper singer with a pleasant voice or the absence of a singer altogether would have complemented the music far more appropriately. The bass playing is generally solid, although the keyboards and drums overshadow it most of the time. Speaking of keyboards, I desperately want to spray WD-40 on whatever that "rusty bicycle" sound is that runs throughout much of "Papillon," and some of the cheesy extraterrestrial keyboard tones are dreadful. These criticisms notwithstanding, this is an album of interest for those fond of experimental, organ and synthesizer-driven symphonic progressive rock, and Patrick Moraz demonstrates an incredible presence and prowess throughout the concert as a musician.
 Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974 by REFUGEE album cover Live, 2007
3.54 | 31 ratings

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Live in Concert - Newcastle City Hall 1974
Refugee Symphonic Prog

Review by burgersoft777

4 stars To describe this as a bootleg is wrong as the tape was off the soundboard and belonged to Blinky.

The sound quality is reasonable good throughout, although not super. Even so what you get is an utterly indispensible live document, of one of Prog's shortest lived super groups.

Of course people are going to draw comparisons with the Nice, and indeed at times there are moments that sound very Nice like. Hardly surprising, But Blinky never played this fast with Emerson, and Jackson's bass playing seems to have come on leaps and bounds in the few years between the demise of the Nice and Refugee.

What a great band, and what a shame we only have this and the studio album to listen to now.

The only minus is Lee's vocals, which were never strong, but are mostly acceptable. Technically Moraz is a better keyboard player than Emerson, although maybe just a little less lyrical. Even so he is awesome on this record, as on the brilliant studio album. The good news is that you can buy a 2 disc version of the recording with the Refugee album, at a very reasonable price.

If you do not yet own this, and are a fan of either the Nice or ELP, then really this should be your next purchase because it is awesome. 5 star music, but I will dock 1 star to take into account the less than perfect sound quality. Even so essential for all fans of symphonic prog.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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