TITUS GROAN - TITUS GROAN

TITUS GROAN - TITUS GROAN

LP (12"/10" Album)

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Label: LONGHAIR

Release date: 03/09/2021

Barcode: 4035177002690

Catalog no.: LHC0000269

Item ID: 511103

This is an official re-release of Titus Groan's eponymous album originally released 1970 on Dawn under licensed courtesy of BMG Rights Management, UK, remastered from an original master copy out of the vaults of BMG. Titus Groan were a short-lived British jazz-rock quartet, named after the first 'Gormenghast' novel by Mervyn Peake. The original album contained five tracks all over five minutes long, including one extended suite 'Hall Of Bright Carvings' with a running time of nearly twelve minutes. This reissue adds three bonus tracks to the album from an EP also released in 1970. The group, before their premature split, was four-strong, featuring Stuart Cowell (keyboards, guitars, vocals), Jim Toomey (drums), Tony Priestland (sax, flute, oboe) and John Lee (bass). Their sound was a lighter variant on the Van Der Graaf Generator school of prog, just without the discordant rumblings and shrieking vocals. Titus Groan means high energy melodic songs with lots of guitars. Sax, vocal harmonies, and great percussion work/drumming. There's occaisonal organ and electric piano, but mainly a much earlier guitar battling with flute, sax, and oboe sound. The first song 'It Wasn't For You' is very bluesy and grooves along with a restrained hard edge. The vocal sounds eerily like Ian Anderson. The guitar, which is strong and confident brings again Jethro Tull to mind, while the bass and percussion have a jazzier approach like Cream or King Crimson. Now that Titus Groan have grabbed our attention with the lively opening number, it's time for the extended nearly 12 minutes long four-piece suite 'Hall Of Bright Carvings'. This epic song is a real musical tour de force, featuring flamboyant flutes, heavy guitar riffing, booming bass-lines and pounding percussion. The dynamic contrast between the gently melodic pastoral passages combined with sudden explosive outbursts of musical artillery fire are what really sets this music alight with power and passion. Titus Groan can really carve their names with pride for producing stunning jazz-rock like this. Side one closes with bonus track 'Liverpool', a very dynamic track, always marching forward. Side two opens with 'I Can't Change', which ironically, is a song full of constant change. It's a resonant flute-driven refrain that draws obvious comparisons with Jethro Tull, although the song takes a very unexpected turn midway through with a pleasant country rock diversion, before a return to more familiar fluty jazz-rock pastures. Either way, it's a great song that barrels along relentlessly and features enough sudden tempo changes to delight devotees of jazzy prog-rock. The next song 'It's All Up With Us' is very commercially appealing, which would have made it an ideal choice for release as a single. The impassioned silver-toned singer is positively bursting with optimism here and the heart-warming music sounds as bright and uplifting as a radiant sunburst of rainbow colours after a summer shower. This is timeless music where all the brightly-coloured flowers in the garden are blooming. 'Fuchsia', which is sadly the final song on the album, is another flawless funky fusion of pounding jazz-rock energy, which is altogether upbeat, up-tempo and uplifting and offers again frantic jazz-prog with flute and fuzzed out guitar. Two further bonus tracks 'Open The Door, Homer' (in fact a Dylan cover from the 'Basement Tapes' bootleg) and 'Woman Of The World' closes this underrated album. Titus Groan have delivered a memorable timeless jazz-rock classic. This energetic fresh album sounds just as good today fifty years on as it ever did back in the halcyon days of the proggy 1970s. The album comes with an exact reproduction of the original album gatefold sleeve and a 4 sided cover-sized insert with bandstory and photos. Highly recommended.

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