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Atomic Rooster - Resurrection
Akarma Records
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2001-10-01
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Artist: Atomic Rooster (www.atomic-rooster.com)
Title: Resurrection
Label: Akarma Records
Genre: Progressive Rock-Art Rock
Format: 3 CD Boxed Set With Booklet

If you are looking for the model Atomic Rooster collection I have just the remedy for you. This three disc boxed set from Akarma Records is a good way to encapsulate the highlights of a career to very important band. These were the best years in the studio for one of the most influential prog-rockers of our time. This group is one of the original progressive rock-art rock bands that helped to spawn one the greatest progressive bands of all time, ELP. The original lineup for Atomic Rooster was Nick Graham (bass, guitar, vocals) Vincent Crane (hammond organ, piano) and Carl Palmer (drums). Palmer and Graham left after the release of the first album. Palmer of course went on to make more history as the drummer for ELP. The self-titled album was released in February of 1970. Originally there were eight tracks; this version includes three bonus tracks. "Friday The 13th" was the ominous opener for an exciting debut LP. The rest of the songs to follow strung together a strong entrance into a flourishing and relatively new genre. It all pleased their existing fans and won over an entirely new audience. The stability for the entire album was a tribute to their originality and their intoxicating and prevailing music. This startling power trio was to change just as quickly as their rapid ascent to success. This release was a delightful combination of influences expressed with just three men. It’s hard to believe when you listen to this album how they managed to come up with such a diverse layer of sounds with just the three of them. I noticed influences of blues, jazz and classical all tightly woven together, and it was well produced and engineered.

The second release would arrive later that same year in September. They titled it "Death Walks Behind You." John DuCann (or John Cann) came onboard to give the group a lead guitar player and another voice. Vincent Crane would step in to fill the missing Graham’s shoes on bass as well as providing vocals and his steady organ. Now the group had a full and complete sound coupled with the already tasteful and driving progressive keyboards that had set the tone on their first release. This was to be their most coveted album and it remains as their ultimate recording achievement. The lead off and title track would set the stage for the entire session. The concept was one of darkness and brooding emotion. Crane’s influence and personality is what drove the group. He was the talent and musical genius that made Atomic Rooster go. Its to bad that he was so serious about what he sang about, as eventually it would be his undoing and he would take his own life.

The third release came the following year in July. "In Hearing Of" was a complete departure from what had made them so popular. Another member was added to front the band and his name was Peter French. By 1972 there were more changes that are duly noted on the bonus live cuts. Rick Parnell would sit in on drums and yet another lead singer would be present, Chris Farlowe. This release lost the group its core of devoted followers. All of the drastic changes started a growing discontent amongst group members that would result in their demise. After several changes in personal and an attempted comeback with a few more albums afterwards, it would never be the same. I felt that "In Hearing Of" was an excellent album because it showed all the capabilities of the group and how they could change the music so intentionally and be able to make it sound viable as a musical entity. It wasn’t appreciated in the time it was released, although I am sure today people could listen to this in a different light and realize the marvelous talent that this group commanded regardless of what musical direction they decided to go in. Those of you hardcore fans that were discontented when they released this album will enjoy the added bonus tracks that you have never heard before. I also must mention the excellent instrumental journeys that the group endeavored upon with each release. I am sure that they could have enjoyed as much success as a strictly instrumental fusion band. The arrangements were complex and heavily influenced by classical music, just as the groups that came after them, Yes, ELP, and many more.

The booklet that comes with this set gives an excellent career retrospective of the group from start to finish. There are also some really fine pictures of the band members. This was an eye opening experience for me, and a good lesson in the history of prog-rock. The albums the label selected for this set were perfect in sequence. You start at the very beginning, reach the apex, and then witness the downfall of musical giant all in three CDs. I am sure if you asked just about any musician that performs in a progressive rock band today whom were some of the groups that influenced their sound, the name Atomic Rooster would come up quite often. It was a short time span that they made their mark, but oh did they make an everlasting impression, and one that won’t ever wear off anytime soon.

Atomic Rooster
1. Friday the 13th (Crane) - 3:31
2. And So to Bed (Crane) - 4:11
3. Broken Wings (Grun/Jerome) - 5:46
4. Before Tomorrow (Crane) - 5:50
5. Banstead (Crane/Graham/Palmer) - 3:33
6. S.L.Y. (Crane) - 4:56
7. Winter (Crane) - 6:59
8. Decline and Fall (Crane/Graham/Palmer) - 5:48

Bonus Tracks
9. Play the Game (DuCann) - 4:46
10. VUG (Crane) – 4:34
11. Devil’s Answer – (DuCann) – 4:00

In Hearing Of
1. Breakthrough (Crane/Darnell) - 6:20
2. Break the Ice (Cann/DuCann) - 5:01
3. Decision/Indecision (Crane/Darnell) - 3:51
4. A Spoonful of Bromide Helps the Pulse Rate (Crane) - 4:41
5. Black Snake (Crane/Darnell) - 6:00
6. Head in the Sky (Cann) - 5:40
7. The Rock (Crane) - 4:33
8. The Price (Crane/Darnell) - 5:17

Bonus Tracks
9. Devil's Answer - 3:27

Recorded Live At The Paris Theater, London July 27, 1972
10. Breakthrough (Crane/Parnell) - 6:10
11. Stand By Me (Crane) - 4:57
12. People You Can’t Trust (Crane) – 4:29
13. All In Satan’s Name (Crane/Parnell) –3:56
14. Devil’s Answer (DuCann) – 5:39

Death Walks Behind You
1. Death Walks Behind You (Cann/Crane) - 7:23
2. Vug (Crane) - 5:01
3. Tomorrow Night (Crane) - 3:58
4. Seven Streets (Cann) - 6:42
5. Sleeping for Years (DuCann) - 5:27
6. I Can't Take No More (Cann) - 3:32
7. Nobody Else (Crane) - 5:00
8. Gershatzer (Crane) - 7:57


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