the early seventies. The peak of the era
we all lovingly called progressive-rock.
During that time there were the releases
of some classic albums, which have all
stood the test of time. ‘Doremi
Fasol Latido' by Hawkwind, 'In the Wake
of Poseidon' by King Crimson, 'Tarkus'
by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, 'The Debut
Album’ by Flash and countless others,
still sounding as fresh and relevant as
they did over thirty years ago.
Some, on the other hand, have rather
fallen from their illustrious heights.
Greenslade's debut album is a point in
case. This ‘teenage’ Dog can
recall clearly nodding along sagely in
an attempt to look very knowledgeable
when this was first thrust upon his ears.
He was taken in by a rather smashing Roger
Dean Cover (the artist, who became famous
for his artwork for ‘Yes’
amongst others), the fact that here there
was a band, who was a little bit unique
(dual keyboards and no lead guitar), and
that they indeed had a fine pedigree.
Dave Greenslade (who humbly gave his name
to the band) on one set of keyboards had
plied his trade for the previous three
years with the magnificent Colosseum.
On the other keyboards was Dave Lawson,
who had been in 'Samurai' (never heard
of them, but they sounded impressive).
Bassist Tony Reeves had been in ‘Curved
Air’. And drummer Andrew McCulloch
had been in ‘Arthur Brown's Kingdom
Come’, ‘Manfred Mann’,
and ‘King Crimson’. However,
his presence in each band was only a short
one, which perhaps should of given us
some form of clue.
While we were all with great pretentiousness
listening away in our Bedsits, I think
actually we were all pretending to be
listening to the next big thing, not wanting
to seem uncool by blurting out that it
was actually very ordinary and a second
division 'Yes' or 'E.L.P.' Second division
(just above the relegation zone) was where
they stayed throughout their career.
Most of the songs are very mid-paced
with very little to differentiate one
from the other. Sure, the keyboards intermingle
very nicely, but if truth be told they
sound like a very average lounge act with
an over ambitious, dominating keyboard
player stuck with a bad singer. Although
there can be no doubt that Dave Lawson
was great foil for Dave Greenslade's keyboard
playing, a singer he was not, nor could
he write lyrics, his other primary job
within the band. Try this little sonnet
from 'What are you doing to me':
''You murdered the love that I once
had for you,
When you put in the boot cos the shoe
Well if that's how you feel, woman, I
love you, too."
I think it would perhaps have been a
good idea to not have written the lyrics
on the inside sleeve of this album as
there are many more just as cringe worthy
moments. Worst of all is his impression
of the Lord’s Prayer on 'Drowning
Man'. It is so awful that it wants to
make you snicker. There is a time and
place for everything and that was neither
the time nor the place. I believe Dave
Lawson is no longer in the music business.
I cannot say that I am totally surprised.
Tony Reeves plays bass guitar with great
enthusiasm throughout, if a little bit
repetitively. However, at no point on
these songs does he seem to be playing
the same song as the other members of
the band. His most embarrassing moment
comes during 'Melange', where the bass
is very dominant. That’s surprising
for a dual keyboard band. Reeves gets
by definition a bass solo, but it actually
sounds as if the rest of the band gives
up playing for a minute and without realizing
it, Reeves just carries on in his own
Andrew McCulloch drums are thankfully
mixed way down in the production, which
I think is a kindness to the skins man,
same as saying he had rudimentary skills
would be a kindness. How he managed to
stay in King Crimson under the critical
eye of Robert Fripp for three months before
being booted out, will always remain a
The staple of any Greenslade concert
was always the final song on this album,
and throughout their career the last song
of their live set, 'Sundance'. Now this
is not actually a bad piece of music and
at over eight minutes (longer on stage),
it represent a fair portion of the album.
But I’m afraid, it is too little
too late. The first thing that you notice
is that the song is an instrumental, so
already the song is ahead on points as
there is none of Lawson’s yodeling
in it. And for the first time the band
actually seems to gel together and play
with some fire in their bellies. The interplay
between Lawson and Greenslade fair sparkles
at times with the great controlled violence,
mingled with light and shade only a rock
keyboard player can bring to his music.
A bit more of this and less of the lyrics
and the vocals and they might of had something.
All I can say is that if you have fond
memories of Greenslade, leave them in
the past. You may be very disappointed
if you try and listen to your past memories
today. These days Dave Greenslade writes
scores for television and movies. He also
released a solo album of songs inspired
by the disc world based on the Terry Pratchet
Books, which was rather good and plays
with the reformed Colosseum. I don't know
what the other three are doing and don’t
care, as long as Dave Lawson is not singing.
Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew