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The Unreleased Album
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): RRCD-070
Pandamonium reigned when Radioactive Records tracked down and released thsi "lost" recording from the cult U.K. psychedelic rockers.
A little confusingly, the core duo of Pandamonium, singer/songwriter-guitarists Bob Ponton and Martin Curtis, recorded as the figureheads of two different groups in the late '60s and early '70s. At first, with a few other musicians, they did some mid- to late-'60s singles for CBS; then, as Thoughts & Words, they did a 1969 album for Liberty. After that obscure LP, they recorded a 1970 album that went unreleased at the time. That 1970 LP was belatedly released in 2004 in the form of this CD, titled The Unreleased Album, and credited to Pandamonium, though it's not clear whether it would have been billed to Pandamonium had it come out in 1970. Certainly Ponton and Curtis were supported by several notable figures on these sessions, including Gerry Conway, Jerry Donahue, and Pat Donaldson from Fotheringay; guitarist Albert Lee; bassist Chas Hodges, later part of hitmaking duo Chas & Dave; top British session drummer Clem Cattini (that is, assuming the "Clem Katiny" credited on this CD is the same guy); engineer John Wood, who worked on numerous major British folk-rock albums of the period by the likes of Fairport Convention and Nick Drake; and Shel Talmy, who's credited as co-producer. For all that, however, the failure of this material to gain release is no mystery. It's affable, diverse, but rather nondescript circa-1970 British rock that doesn't fit comfortably into either the folk-rock or pop/rock categories. Ponton and Curtis put together some fair minor-keyed, introspective numbers like "It's a Long Time" (which is very slightly reminiscent of the Moody Blues) and "I Am What I Am" (which is in turn very slightly reminiscent of the psychedelic Byrds), with touches of folk-rock, orchestrated pop/rock, and singer/songwriter influences, but the songs aren't exceptionally memorable. At other times, like "Sunrise" and the peppy "Sit and Watch the Sunshine," they seem to be gearing toward a more conventionally uplifting single, though the breezier "Waiting for Summer" is a more successful effort along those lines; the country-rock-influenced "Baby I'll Be Yours" is rather like the most lighthearted moments of late-'60s Fairport Convention with the Sandy Denny lineup. There's certainly no harm done that this album's finally available, of course, but it's only recommended to very deep collectors of British rock of the period, or specific fans of Ponton and Curtis. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Radioactive Records (UK) RRCD-070
Phantom Import Distributi
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