Jethro Tull and Comus had a baby, and they named it Gravy Train. That's not strictly accurate, of course, but as the band's eponymous debut opens with the fluid changes of "The New One," it's not too far of a reach, either. Richly harmonic, daringly jam-laden, and peppered with guitar roars that simply defy comparison, Gravy Train is the sound of the British underground at its most joyously liberated peak – a time when a bunch of apparent freaks could simply go into a major recording studio and let rip. Except Gravy Train's concept of "letting rip" has more in common with a symphony orchestra than the Edgar Broughton Band. Without, of course, the orchestra.
Released in late 1971, (A Ballad of) A Peaceful Man was Gravy Train's second — and probably their most praised — album. Unlike their heavier debut, this album sports some lovely string arrangements, provided by Nick Harrison. A unique feature of the album is that it splits the heavy tracks from the lighter tracks: all the ballads are on side 1, while all the rockers are on side 2.
Typifying the excesses that have frequently been denounced in their genre, UK progressive rock band Gravy Train recorded a series of albums for Vertigo Records and Dawn Records in the early 70s bedecked in grandiose, conceptual artwork. The group’s core members were Norman Barratt (vocals/guitar; b. 5 February 1949, d. 30 July 2011), Barry Davenport (drums), J.D. Hughes (woodwind/keyboards/vocals) and Les Williams (bass/vocals). Their first, self-titled 1970 album was dominated by Hughes’ flute melodies, which earned the group initial comparisons to Jethro Tull, as well as extended rock riffs. One of the songs, ‘Tribute To Syd’, was an obvious salute to the genius of Syd Barrett. The follow-up collection, which sold poorly, was Ballad Of A Peaceful Man…
Jethro Tull and Comus had a baby, and they named it Gravy Train. That's not strictly accurate, of course, but as the band's eponymous debut opens with the fluid changes of "The New One," it's not too far of a reach, either. Richly harmonic, daringly jam-laden, and peppered with guitar roars that simply defy comparison, Gravy Train is the sound of the British underground at its most joyously liberated peak - a time when a bunch of apparent freaks could simply go into a major recording studio and let rip. Except Gravy Train's concept of "letting rip" has more in common with a symphony orchestra than the Edgar Broughton Band. Without, of course, the orchestra. But there's a moment in the midst of "Think of Life" that cannot help but put one in mind of later Deep Purple…
Gravy Train is a fine, if not quite exceptional record from Lou Donaldson's initial soul-jazz phase of the early '60s. Actually, given the title and the period in which it was recorded, the album isn't quite as greasy and funky overall as one might expect; most of the repertoire is devoted to pop ballads and mid-tempo standards, the latter of which tends to bring out more of the bop elements in Donaldson's playing. That's not true for the entire album, though; the title cut is a laid-back, conga-tinged, bluesy groover in the classic Donaldson mold, even if it's a bit workmanlike. Donaldson's longtime pianist, Herman Foster, is allotted quite a bit of solo space here, and he concentrates more on thick, rippling chords than single-note lines…
Gravy Train were a progressive rock group from Lancashire, England, formed by vocalist and guitarist Norman Barratt in 1969. Also featuring J.D. Hughes (keyboards, vocals, wind), Les Williams (bass, vocals) and Barry Davenport (drums), the band would record four studio albums. The first two were released on the Vertigo label, the latter two by Dawn Records. In 1973, Gravy Train moved from Vertigo to Dawn Records, the progressive offshoot of Don Kirshner’s PYE Records label. This produced Second Birth — eight tracks, two of which ("Strength of a Dream" and "Tolpuddle Episode") were released as a single. Again it failed to set the charts alight.
Formed in Lancashire in 1969, Gravy Train was fronted by guitarist and vocalist Norman Barratt, along with J.D. Hughes on keyboards, flute and saxophones, Les Williams on bass and Barry Davenport on drums. The band first came to public attention when they signed to Vertigo Records in 1970. Gravy Train recorded two classic progressive rock albums for the label before signing with Pye Records' progressive label, Dawn in 1973. "Staircase to the Day" was the band’s second album for Dawn Records. Issued in 1974, the album was a fine collection of Progressive Rock music that took in influences from bands such as Jethro Tull, Roland Kirk et al.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Mark’s debut solo release Golden Heart in 1996, a new box set, Mark Knopfler - The Studio Albums 1996-2007, will be released on 1st October Worldwide, and 10th December in the US.
Gathering his first five post-Dire Straits solo albums (not counting film scores), and a bonus disc of B-sides titled The Gravy Train, this collection is as sleepy and nonchalant as an old friend’s affable shrug. Knopfler does what he does, blending folk, blues, country and rock into a tension-free take on Americana that’s faintly personal but more about delivering a carpet atmosphere of reflective rumination.
The audio of each album has been newly remastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios in London.
A soul survivor in every sense of the term, this alto saxophonist is one of the few remaining jazz artists who made a major impact on the jazz community via an extensive run with producer Alfred Lion and the Blue Note label (Horace Silver being another Blue Note legend that comes to mind). From his first recordings for the label with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, it was clear that Lou Donaldson put melody and sound at a premium, coming up with an amalgam that combined the creamy smoothness of Johnny Hodges with the quicksilver bop inflections of Charlie Parker.