Band members               Related acts

- Mike Fouracre -- drums, percussion 

- Fred Hasson -- vocals, percussion, harmonica

- Leary Hasson -- keyboards

- Ricky Hicks -- bass

- Dave Laverock -- guitar, percussion, backing vocals

- Mandy Riedelbanch -- sax, percussion

- Jessica Stanley-Clarke -- flute, vocals

- Bob West -- lyrics, vocals



- CMU (Leary Hasson)





Genre: progressive

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Arena

Company: Transatlantic

Catalog: TRA 230

Year: 1971

Country/State: UK, Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: UK pressing with thin cover; light ring wear; vinyl excellent condition

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: 2341

Price: $150.00


A couple of music references erroneously indicate this early-1970s' band were Dutch.  Drummer Mike Fouracre, brothers Fred (vocals) and Leary (keyboards) Hasson, bassist Ricky Hicks, guitarist Dave Laverock and woodwind player  Jessica Stanley-Clarke were all English.  The confusion over nationality apparently stems from the fact that in the face of critical and commercial indifference in the UK, the band decamped for the Netherlands, where the achieved modest early-1970s' popularity.


By the time the band recorded their second LP they'd clearly become a fixture of the Dutch music scene (check out the liner notes), as well as having added Dutch sax player Mandy Riedelbanch to their line up.  Judging by 1971's Peter Bardens produced  "Arena", their musical influences remained varied and  difficult to describe.  Think Camel, East of Eden and even Nektar and you won't be too far off the mark.  Judging by the album cover and extended numbers such as 'Peace of Rome' and the title track, the album was written as a concept piece with a plot line having something to do with the nasty side of life in ancient Rome. I'll readily admit that much of the storyline was lost on my limit intellectual capabilities. Largely written by Leary and outside lyricist Bob West, the set offers up a surprisingly intriguing mix of English folk and progressive moves, with an occasional freak out guitar solo thrown in for good measure.  That may not sound particularly inviting to some folks, but this is one of those rare exceptions where the charismatic performances overcome most of the album's pompous leanings. (In case anyone cares, I think this one is listed in one of the Hans Pokora "Record Collection Dreams" books.  I'm too lazy to look it up.)


"Arena' track listing"

(side 1)

1.) Prelude To the Arena   (Leary Hasson - Bob West) -  

2.) Peace of Rome   (Leary Hasson - Bob West) -  

3.) The Arena   (Leary Hasson - Bob West) -  


(side 2)

1.) Time Shadows   (Leary Hasson - Fred Hasson - Bob West) -  

2.) Spring   (Mike Fouracre - Fred Hasson - Leary Hasson - Ricky Hicks - Dave Laverock - Mandy Riedelbanch -  Jessica Stanley-Clarke) -  




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