Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1969)
- Eden Abba
-- double bass
line up 2 (1969-70)
- Brian Cresswwell -- flute, sax
up 3 (1970-71)
- Wizz Jones -- acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Mike Moran -- piano
- The Artwoods (Malcolm Poole)
- The Brotherhood
- Gordon Giltrap Band
- Don Partridge (solo efforts)
- The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (Malcolm Pool)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear; cut out hole top right corner
Catalog ID: SOLD
Accolade's one of those short-lived late-1960s/early-1970s English bands that attempted to expand musical boundaries, mixing traditional English folk with some rock influences. In one respect the band (bassist Eden Abba, woodwind player Brian Cresswell, singer/guitarist Gordon Giltrap, drummer Ian Hoyle and guitarist Don Partridge) was quite different from many of their contemporaries - namely they were brimming with talent. Prior to their collaboration in Accolade, both Giltrap and Partridge had enjoyed some solo recognition. Giltrap had released a pair of critically praised solo albums, while Partridge (who was actually working as a street musician (what the English term a busker)), enjoyed a fluke UK hit with the song "Rosie"). Unfortunately, Accolade's pastoral stylings guaranteed instant obscurity in the States. In fact, it's somewhat of a mystery how they even got their 1968 debut released by Capitol which was hardly a label renown for its willingness to take a chance on cutting edge sounds.
Produced by Don Paul, 1969's "Accolade" is hard to accurately describe. Recorded with former Artwoods bassist Malcolm Pool replacing Abba, the collection exhibits a smooth and calming sound throughout. Call it pastoral. Largely acoustic (though you don't really realize it), material such as "Maiden Flight Eliza" (featuring some weird Mamas and Papas-styled harmonies - I'm not kidding), "Prelude To a Dawn" and "Never Ending Solitude" wasn't exactly mainstream rock, nor did it fall under the banner of Fairport Convention-styled English folk. Imagine well crafted cocktail jazz with the addition of a touch of English folk ("Ulysses") and you'll get a feel for the LP. While that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, the result was actually a fascinating album that I repeatedly come back to. My favorite tracks? The album's only cover - a bluesy take on Eden Ahbez's famous "Nature Boy" and the surprisingly hard rocking "Gospel Song".
"Accolade" track listing:
1.) Maiden Flight Eliza (Don Partridge) - 2:42 rating: *** stars
'Maiden Flight Eliza' started out the album with a weird mash-up of folk and blues. Surprisingly impressive the acoustic guitar work was impressive, as were the harmony vocals (guess the song featured both Giltrap and Partridge).
2.) Starting All Over Again (Gordon Giltrap) - 4:45 rating: *** stars
Opening up with some attractive acoustic guitar chords, 'Starting All Over Again' showcased Giltrap's nice voice on a flute-propelled mid-tempo number that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Jethro Tull album. Surprisingly commercial.
3.) Prelude To a Dawn (instrumental) (Brian Cresswell) - 3:10 rating: *** stars
The album's lone instrumental, Brian Cresswell's 'Prelude To a Dawn' spotlighted his flute work. With a slightly jazzy vibe, the result was calming and almost pastoral.
4.) Never Ending Solitude (Gordon Giltrap) - 2:36
5.) Nature Boy (Eden Ahbez) - 9:35
1.) Gospel Song (Gordon Giltrap) - 3:31
2.) Calico (Don Partridge) - 3:03
3.) Ulysses (Don Partridge) - 12:32
4.) Go On Home (Don Partridge) - 2:37
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: Accolade 2
Company: EMI Regal
Catalog: SLRZ 1024
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: UK pressing; minor edge and corner wear;.
Catalog ID: SOLD
Price: SOLD $250.00
Following a personnel shakeup that saw singer/guitarist Gordon Giltrap strike out on his own, Accolade returned with 1971's "Accolade 2". Again produced by Don Paul, Capitol executives apparently deciding the set had no commercial potential and passed on the opportunity to release the album in the States. That was unfortunate given the band's sophomore effort was actually far stronger than the debut. With Partridge continuing to serve as chief writer (he's credited with six of the ten songs), his contributions were far more varied than on the first LP. Musically the set was pretty entertaining, mixing acoustic folk and jazzy touches with occasional slices of more pop and rock-oriented material. Highlights included the slinky and lyrically intriguing opener 'Transworld Blues', the surprisingly taunt rocker 'The Spider To the Spy' (sporting some of the year's most inept harmony vocals) and the bizarre 'Cross Continental Pandemonium Theatre Company'. Admittedly it wasn't something that immediately grabbed my ears, but this is one of those albums that rewards patience. The first time around it doesn't sound like anything special, but with repeated spins, it grows on you revealing considerable charms.
'Course I know none of you buy music based on what the critics say ... were you to ever fall to such a temptation, this one's included in Hans Pokora's "2001 Record Collector Dreams". (I've only seen two copies in my twenty years of collecting; explaining the high asking price.)
"Accolade 2" track listing:
1.) Transworld Blues (Don Partridge) - rating: **** stars
Normally a song opening up with acoustic guitar and flute wouldn't do a great deal for me, but on 'Transworld Blues' the combination was simply mesmerizing. Showcasing Partridge's clipped vocals and some hysterical lyrics that named more countries than any song I've ever heard, the result was one of the coolest acid-tinged jazz songs I've ever heard.
2.) The Spider To the Spy (Don Partridge) - rating: **** stars
With Partridge double tracked on lead vocals and turning in some tasty lead guitar, 'The Spider To the Spy' demonstrated these guys could actually pull of a real rock song. Kudos to Brian Cresswwell for turning in one of the few flute solo that actually ended up helping a song rock out ...
3.) Baby, Take Your Rags Off (Don Partridge) - rating: *** stars
A slow, bluesy ballad that actually had kind of a MOR-ish edge, 'Baby, Take Your Rags Off'' was the album's first disappointment. Pretty, but not particularly memorable. Nice harmonica solo (though if you listened closely you could hear what sounded like an additional stanza of lyrics in the background).
4.) Cross Continental Pandemonium Theatre Company (Brian Cresswell - Ian Hoyle - Don Partridge - Malcolm Poole) - rating: *** stars
With a title that was almost as long as the song itself, 'Cross Continental Pandemonium Theatre Company' found the band trying to blend a more commercial pop direction with their patented jazzy-rock moves. It started out slowly, but actually got more interesting when it moved into jazzy territory and the song sported some fantastic acoustic bass. Partridge's lead vocals have always reminded me a little of Greg Lake.
1.) Snakes In a Hole (Wadnius - Borgudd) - rating: *** stars
Hum, if asked I probably wouldn't have thought that a flute solo could be funky, but after hearing 'Snakes In a Hole' I've changed by mind.
-2.) The Time I've Wasted (Don Partridge) - rating: *** stars
'The Time I've Wasted' was a standard folk number. Apparently autobiographical and based on Partridge's life as a busker, the song was kind of interesting in that his vocal reminded me a bit of Greg Lake's ... hum, imagine ELP recording a folk song.
3.) Sector Five Nine (Don Partridge) - rating: **** stars
Described as 'an invitation to extra-terrestrials', 'Sector Five Nine' sported one of the strangest sci-fi lyrics you've ever stumbled across ("humans taste delicious ..."). In spite of the weirdness factor, it actually rocked out with a vengeance.
-4.) If Only I'd Know (Wizz Jones) - rating: *** stars
Penned by guitarist Wizz Jones, 'If Only I'd Know' offered up a laidback, acoustic folk number with a nifty hook, though this time around Cresswwell 's flute was more of an irritation.
5.) William Taplin (Gordon Giltrap) - rating: *** stars
A dreamy ballad, 'William Taplin' was actually an intriguing song built around the reminiscence of an older man, recalling his earlier life. I wouldn't have expected much from the track, but piecing together his life story was actually kind of interesting.
-6.) Long Way To Go (Don Partridge) - rating: **** stars
acoustic rocker with Partridge's best vocal performance, 'Long Way To Go'
was probably my favorite song on the album.
Singer/guitarist Partridge died of a heart attack in September 2010.
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