A British quartet featuring the talents of singer/multi-instrumentalist Stuart Cowell, bassist John Lee, horn/woodwind player Tony Priestland and drummer Jim Toomey, they pulled their name after a character in a Mervyn Peake novel. Overlooking their literary inspirations, knowing their
repertoire consisted of early 70s progressive moves, you probably wouldn't think their lone self-titled LP had much going for it. Wrong !
Originally released by the English Dawn label (Janus acquiring American distribution rights),
"Titus Groan" teamed the band with producer Barry Murray. With all four members contributing material, the collection found the band attempting to blend extended progressive moves (every one of the five tracks clocked in at over five minutes), with a more commercial orientation. To be honest, nothing here was particularly original and the progressive leanings occasionally dragged (the instrumental segment of Lee's "I Can't Change"). On the other hand, as lead singer Cowell wasn't half bad exhibiting considerable enthusiasm for the material, and selections such as " It Wasn't for You" and "Hall of Bright Carvings" boasted pretty melodies which were worth hearing a couple of times. Needless to say, English and American sales proved miniscule; the band quickly calling it quits. In 1989 the See for Miles label reissued the original LP, adding three UK 45 sides, under the title "Titus Groan Plus". In the late-'70s Toomey reappeared in The Tourists (see separate entry).
"Titus Groan" track listing:
1.) It Wasn't for You (Stuart Cowell - Tony Priestland) - 5:30
2.) Hall of Bright Carvings (Stuart Cowell - Tony Priestland - John Lee - Jim Toomey) - 11:50
ii.) In the Dusty High-Vaulted Hall
iii.) The Burning
3.) I Can't Change (John Lee) - 5:38
4.) It's All Up with Us (Stuart Cowell - Tony Priestland - John Lee - Jim Toomey) - 6:0
5.) Fuschia (Tony Priestland) - 6:24