Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1979)

- David Nelson -- drums, percussion

- Andy Sino -- bass, guitar 

- Arwen Tooke -- lead guitar, vocals

- Elanor Tooke -- keyboards, synthesizer 

- Loriel Tooke -- rhythm guitar, vocals 


  supporting musicians (1979)

- John Carr  -- cello, percussion




- Mr. Meaner (David Nelson)

- Tookes





Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Paltareon (The Far Memory Of The Elves)

Company: Eldar Productions

Catalog: 36941

Country/State: San Francisco, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: no lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $60.00


First, I'm not a crazed J.R.R. Tolkien fan.  Secondly, I had no idea what I was buying into when I acquired this album.   I guess the album and song titles should have made it obvious ...


There sure isn't a lot of information on these folks.  They were apparently deeply into Tolkien fantasies so it's hard to tell what's going on.  The liner notes credit Arwen, Elanor and Loriel Tooke on lead guitar and vocals, keyboards and rhythm guitar.  My gawd, they seemingly took the names of Elves ...  They were accompanied by drummer David Nelson and bassist Andy Sino and guest musicians John Carr on cello and percussion.  What did I get myself into?


Apparently self-financed and released on their own Eldar imprint, the cover says it all, describing them as "The Trans Rock Elven Band."  Engineered by David Porter, 1979's "Paltareon (The Far Memory Of The Elves)" was clearly a J.R.R. Tolkien-related concept piece, though the plotline was lost on my unknowing ears. Most of the ten tracks featured shared male-female vocals.  Curiously the liner notes didn't tell you who the male vocalist was, though on the female side Arwen and Loriel were credited with vocals.  The guy had an okay voice, though his performances grew increasingly irritating as the album went on, culminating in the grating 'Shining Star.'   The ladies were far better, occasionally recalling a whippet powered Kate Bush.  At it's best, musically tracks like 'Flame On' and 'California' recalled a Dead-styled West Coast jam-band sensibility.  Much of that was a result of Arwen Tooke's Jerry Garcia-styled guitar moves.  At the other end of the spectrum, far too much of the album was given over to sappy and rather tuneless ballads. Those tracks where you could ignore the Tolkien lyrics certainly made the album more palatable to novices, but you just couldn't get away with that across the whole album.  Shame.  I would have given it an additional star.


"Paltareon (The Far Memory Of The Elves)" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Flame On (Aeron) - 3:57 rating: **** stars

The first thirty seconds sounded like you'd dropped into the middle of a band tuning up for a show.  From there on 'Flame On' wasn't bad.  Listening to it trying to ignore the Elvish plotline and 'Flame On' reflecting a nice mash-up of West Coast psych and funk moves.  The anonymous male led singer was okay.  Arwen's voice was a bit sharp, but she was better than the guy and, if that was actually her playing the Jerry Garcia-styled lead guitar, she was quite good.  The track was released as a promotional single and seemingly included with early copies of the album:






- 1979's 'Flame On' b/w 'Celebrimbor' (Eldar catalog number --)








2.) California (Aeron) - 4:46  rating: **** stars

Again showcasing shared male-female lead vocals. the breezy 'California' was actually quite enjoyable.  Tooke's guitar work was impressive, though her vocals on this one reminded me of Kate Bush on whippets. If you can overlook the goofy lyrics (admittedly difficult), the song had a decent, slightly lysergic jam-rock flavor.  Who know California was an island in Elvish lore?

3.) Celebrimbor (Aeron) - 6:15  rating: *** stars

One of the album's longest songs, 'Celebrimbor' added kind of a snarky, punky feel to their sound.  In spite of the clunky story-line lyrics, I have to admit the track picked up quite a bit of energy as it rolled along.  Tolken fans will certainly understand the song, but I had to look the title up.  Per Wikipedia: "Celebrimbor was an elven-smith who was manipulated into forging the Rings of Power by the Dark Lord Sauron. Sauron then secretly made the One Ring to gain control over all the other Rings and dominate Middle-earth, setting in motion the events of The Lord of the Rings."

4.) The Sea (Aeron) - 2:44 rating: *** stars

With a slightly jazzy feel, the ballad 'The Sea' overwhelmed me with the Tolken-esque lyrics. I'm not a massive Grateful Dead fan, but the lead guitar certainly reminded me of Jerry Garcia's sound.  

5.) The Gull (Aeron) - 4:40 rating: ** stars

Complete with Elanor Tooke's atmospheric synthesizer washes and crashing waves and deagull sound effects, the dark, apprehensive ballad 'The Gull' was pretty, but a bit too precious for anyone's good.


(side 2)
Shining Star  (Aeron) - 3:48 rating: ** stars

On 'Shining Star' the anonymous male singer's voice finally crossed over into irritating territory.  His gasping, talk-sing delivery was simply grating.  I think the English description for this one would be twee - "excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental"

2.) She  (Aeron) - 3:19 rating: *** stars

Propelled by David Nelson percussion 'She' found the band returning to a more up-tempo sound and one of the better male-female vocals.  Again the plot-line lyrics lessened the overall impact.

3.) No Way Back  (Aeron) - 3:20

4.) Dolphine  (Aeron) - 4:41 rating: ** stars

Imagine the late Marty Balin on a Tolkien overdose.  Yeah, it didn't do much for me either.

5.) Paltaareon (I'll Await You There) (Aeron) - 6:53 rating: *** stars

Sporting the album's most rock-oriented melody, 'Paltaareon (I'll Await You There)' was another track where the male singer's performance and the lyrics crushed whatever energy the music generator.