Band members               Related acts

- Alan Cowderoy - guitar, vocals (1968-72)
- Paul Davis - vocals, guitar (1968-72)
- Keith Ireland - vocals 
- Martin Kitcat - keyboards, vocals (1968-71)
- Mark Laird - bass (1964-65)
- Robert Lipson - drums (1968-71 and 85)
- Tim Wheatley - bass (replaced Mark Laird) (1965-72 

  and 85)



- Taggett (Tim Wheatley)


Genre: progressive

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Gracious!

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST-602

Year: 1969

Country/State: Surrey, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $80.00


Attending the same school in Esher, Surrey, England, 1964 found Alan Cowderoy (guitar) and Paul Davis (singer/guitarist) jumping aboard The Beatles wannabe bandwagon and forming their own band. Given they were attending a Catholic boys school it only made sense they'd christen themselves Satan's Disciples, attracting considerable ire from the school faculty and a reputation for instant martyrdom amongst their schoolmates. 

By the mid-1960s The Disciples sported a lineup consisting of Cowderoy, Davis, vocalist Keith Ireland, keyboard player Martin Kitcat, drummer Robert Lipson and bassist Mark Laird. With road manager Tim Wheatley replacing Laird, the quintet was hired to tour Germany. Opting for a name change, as Gracious!, the tour and resulting publicity led to an opening slot on The Who's 1968 English tour (though given Gracious' progressive stylings it's difficult to picture Who fans showing a great deal of patience with these long-haired hippies.).  In the meantime, Davis and Kitcat had written and recorded a concept album built on a theme of the changing seasons. Shopping the demo around they met with limited interest from big labels, though they eventually found a mentor in the form of producer Norrie Paramour. Paramour brought the group to the attention of producer/arranger Tim Rice, who promptly hired Davis to support his "Jesus Christ Superstar" project. That connection helped the  band to get signed by Vertigo (Capitol acquiring American distribution rights).

The band's self-titled 1970 debut teamed them with producer Hugh Murphy. With Davis and Kitcat writing all of the material (much of it reflecting a pseudo-religious theme - blame their Catholic upbringing), "Gracious!" wasn't half bad.  Musically diverse, the set included stabs at art-rock pretense ('Introduction'), classical influences (the instrumental 'Fugue in 'D' Minor'), surprisingly Badfinger-styled pop-rock (the second part of 'Heaven'), banks of mellotron modulations ('Hell') and even an occasional psychedelic meltdown (the extended 'The Dream'). Full of nifty harmonies, intriguing melodies and odd timings and instrumentation, the set's well worth tracking down. Needless to say, domestic sales were nonexistent making the set a fairly expensive acquisition.  (The original English release featured a different, far less attractive cover - what looked like a big exclamation mark ...)

"Gracious!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Introduction   (Paul Davis - Martin Kitcat) - 5:52
2.) Heaven   (Paul Davis - Martin Kitcat) - 8:10
3.) Hell   (Paul Davis - Martin Kitcat) - 8:30

(side 2)

1.) Fugue in 'D' Minor (instrumental)   (Paul Davis - Martin Kitcat) - 5:03
2.) The Dream   (Paul Davis - Martin Kitcat) - 17:00

Having recorded a follow up album the band found themselves dropped by Vertigo and Capitol.  The sophomore LP was shelved and left without a recording contract and faced with a staggering financial debt, personal frustrations exploded, Kitcat and Lipson calling it quits. The survivors managed to complete a German tour, before calling it quits.




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