Haskell, Gordon

Band members               Related acts

- Bill Atkinson -- drums

- Alan Barry -- lead guitar

- Gordon Haskell -- vocals, guitar

- David Kaffinetti -- keyboards

- John Wetton -- bass, keyboards, backing vocals



- Cupid's Inspiration

- The Fleur de Lys

- King Crimson

- The League of Gentlemen

- The Quotations

- Rupert's People





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  It Is and It Isn't

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-376

Year: 1973

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: white label promo DJ copy; ATCO promo sticker on cover (not shown in the photo above); includes lyric insert

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4522

Price: $25.00

Cost: $66.00


Okay, okay I was on a trip to see my wife's parents and in return the wife agreed to let me stop at a Salvation Army store to scrounge for used records.  This was one of two items I copped that day.   Interestingly, I knew nothing about Gordon Haskell, rather purchased the album for the funky cover and the label (ATCO).


Well it turns out that I did know quite a bit about Haskell.  Somewhat of a rock journeyman, he was the voice of The Fleur de Lys, played with Robert Fripp in The League of Gentlemen, headed Cupid's Inspiration (whose LP is a criminally overlooked gem), as well as participating on a pair of early-1970s King Crimson albums ("In the Wake of Poseidon" and "Lizard").  


With such a varied background I wasn't sure what to expect from this album - Crimson-styled progressive moves, or Cupid's Inspiration pop.  Well, it turns out 1973's "It Is and It Isn't" offers up a mix of the two.  Produced by Arif Mardin (who contributed keyboards to several tracks), the set's far more commercial than anything Crimson ever did, but the folk and rock moves are something Haskell's earlier pop groups never would have attempted.  Haskell has a great voice that's perfectly suited to the radio, meaning that most of these twelve tracks would have sounded great on mid-1970s radio (not that the album generated any attention).  With backing from guitarist Alan Berry (who gets a cool bell sound out of his guitar) and King Crimson alumnus/keyboardist John Wetton, Haskell's at his best on up-tempo rockers such as ''No Meaning, 'Could Be' and 'Sitting By the Fire' and the outright pop stuff ('No Need').  Curiously, a couple of on-line reviews label the effort as being Gordon Lightfoot-styled folk.  Other than the fact tracks such as 'Upside Down' and 'Just a Lovely Day' are pretty acoustic numbers, the comparison doesn't have much merit to my ears.  Anyhow, in total it makes for a pretty impressive album, with my favortie track being the bizarre 'Worms'.


I'm not sure why, but virtually every copy of this LP seems to be a promo copy.  Also, the UK version (issued on Atlantic), seems to fetch a higher resale price.  I think the two releases are identical, so I'd suggest you buy the US pressing.


"It Is and It Isn't" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) No Meaning   (Gordon Haskell) - 3:25

2.) Could Be   (Gordon Haskell) - 3:16

3.) Upside Down   (Gordon Haskell) - 4:38

4.) Just a Lovely Day   (Gordon Haskell) - 4:56

5.) Sitting By the Fire   (Gordon Haskell) - 3:41

6.) When I Lose   (Gordon Haskell) - 0:18


(side 2)

1.) No Needs   (Gordon Haskell) - 2:46

2.) Worms   (Gordon Haskell) - 4:40

3.) Spider   (Gordon Haskell) - 4:15

4.) Learning Not To Feel   (Gordon Haskell) - 2:33

5.) Benny   (Gordon Haskell) - 4:46

6.) When I Laugh   (Gordon Haskell) - 0:25




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