Sunday, September 5, 2021

Rob Gould plays Pawn Hearts (Fruits de Mer Records, Friends of the Fish 51CD)

This is not the first release on Fruits to recreate a classic album from the 70s.  Here we have the 50th anniversary of the Van der Graaf Generator album recreated by Rob and collaborators Cary Grace, Brazilian band ‘Dr. Fantastico’ and The Purple Gang’s Chris Joe Beard. Here is some background info:   Keyboard player and composer, Rob Gould, has already written and recorded 13 solo albums, not to mention an album’s worth of tracks that he’s recorded for Fruits De Mer Records - all cover versions - ranging from Pink Floyd's 'A Saucerful of Secrets', The Beatles' 'Tomorrow Never Knows', Manfred Mann's 'Funniest Gig' to two David Bowie songs, appearing on various FdM projects over the years.

I have to say I have never heard the original. VDGG and ELP since they did not have a of guitar, I never really got into them. Clearly this album had more or Rob and the gang added quite a bit of guitar.  The album starts with the Lemmings (incluidng Cogs) and some beautiful piano and floating synthesizer followed by the bass. About 1.5 minutes in the drums kick in and off we go, with first vocals (mixed quite low at first, as you hardly can make out the words until the chorus, then they sort it out). After about 6mins it gets quite psychedelic with a lot of cool instrument experimentation. Around 8mins we return back to the main theme of sorts and the vocals are back in full. What an amazing spacey track in the end.  Lovely… Man Erg is next for another 10mins. This is classic early 70s prog with the organ dominating the sound until 3mins and then things start to change in more interesting ways and there is a beautiful keyboard solo (actually multiple) that follows.  Quite a track and very different from the first one. The final 26 min track starts slow and spacey with some nice piano playing. A surprise is to hear Carry sing but why not! It is great that they are not trying to do an exact copy of the record but a really cool interpretation.  What a great release…  Only made in 150 copies on CD (at least for now)..

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