Thursday, June 17, 2021

Greenslade - Temple Songs – The Albums 1973-1975

Formed in 1972 by former Colosseum members Dave Greenslade on keyboards and Tony Reeves on bass and rounded out by Dave Lawson on keyboards and vocals and Andrew McCulloch on drums, Greenslade released four albums from 1973 until 1975 before then disbanding in 1976.  Temple Songs - The Albums 1973-1975 collects all of these albums into one box set (not included is the 2000 reunion album Large Afternoon from Greenslade and Reeves along with vocalist/keyboardist John Young).  First up is their 1973 eponymous disc, an extremely enjoyable set of tunes that does an excellent job of showcasing their use of two keyboard players as they meld prog with a bit of a blues groove.  Bedside Manners Are Extra, their second album, was released later that year and follows a similar path to their debut with the title cut and “Sunkissed You’re Not” among the highlights along with the instrumental “Drum Folk”, a tune that allows McCulloch to showcase his drumming amongst the keys. With the departure of Reeves right after it was recorded, disc 3 Spyglass Guest was the final one to feature the original band.  While still firmly in the prog rock realm, the songs this time around tend to be shorter and more concise.  They also experimented a little more here with the use of guitars for the first time on two songs and stylewise there are elements of a jazzier sound on “Little Red Fry Up” and “Red Light” while the guitars on “Siam Seesaw” really bring out the rock in their sound.  For Time and Tide, the final album in the box set, the band replaced Reeves with bassist/guitarist Martin Briley.  This time around the band definitely went in more of a pop direction than ever before (all the songs with the exception of one that is just over 5 minutes are in the 3 minute or less range). While it does have it’s moments (see “Waltz For A Fallen Friend” and ”The Ass’s Ears”) this is definitely the weakest album of the bunch.  Whether you’re a fan or new to the band, Temple Songs – The Albums 1973 – 1975 is a great place to get these four discs in one nice collection with the biggest drawback being the missing bonus cuts that can be found on the expanded 2-disc versions.

(Cherry Red)

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