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Quatermass Quatermass

Quatermass

                      Quatermass → Quatermass (May 1970)
↔★••→     Progressive rock trio Quatermass formed in 1969, comprising bassist/vocalist John Gustafson, keyboardist Pete Robinson, and ex~Episode Six drummer Mick Underwood. Underwood had previously spent time with Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) in the Outlaws, in addition to cutting his teeth with Shadows bassist Jet Harris and an early incarnation of the Herd; Gustafson had a background in the Merseybeats and the Big Three.
↔★••→     Quatermass issued their lone LP on Harvest in 1970. Despite being regarded as a fine release by the label, it didn’t do much commercially, and the group broke up by the end of the following year. Underwood later joined Strapps, another Harvest act that enjoyed a longer lifespan. Both he and Gustafson eventually played with Ian Gillan at separate times, and Gustafson also went on to play on the third, fourth, and fifth Roxy Music records. Robinson also remained busy as a session musician.
Location: London, UK
Genre: Progressive rock, hard rock
Album release: May 1970
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, London, 1970
Record Label: Harvest
Duration:      50:23
Tracks:
01. Entropy     1:10
02. Black Sheep In The Family     3:36
03. Post War Saturday Echo     9:42
04. Good Lord Knows     2:54
05. Up On The Ground     7:08
06. Gemini     5:54
07. Make Up Your Mind     8:44
08. Laughing Tackle     10:35
09. Entropy     0:40
Bonus tracks on 1990 & 2007 reissues:
10. One Blind Mice     3:15
11. Punting     7:09
Musicians
ο♦   Peter Robinson / piano, Hammond A3, Hohner clavinet, harpsichord, synth, ring~modulator, string arrangements (4, 8)
ο♦   John Gustafson / bass, vocals
ο♦   Mick Underwood / drums
with:
ο♦   Steve Hammond / backing vocals (1), 12~string guitar (3)
ο♦   Strings ensemble / violins, violas, cellos & double basses (4, 8)
ο♦   Paul Buckmaster / cello (leader)
ο♦   Tony Gilbert / violin (leader)
The orchestra:
Violins:
♦   Tony Gilbert (Leader)
♦   John Kirkland
♦   David Katz
♦   Billy Millar
♦   Charlie Vorsanger
♦   Les Maddox
♦   Gerald Enns
♦   Harold Parfitt
♦   Paul Scherman
♦   Homi Kanga
♦   Jack Rothstein
♦   Henry Datyner
♦   Bill Armon
♦   Michael Jones
♦   Laurie Clay
♦   Derek Jacobs
Violas
♦   Steve Shingle
♦   Chris Wellington
♦   Henry Myerscough
♦   Ian White
♦   Bernard Davis
♦   John Graham
Cellos
♦   Paul Buckmaster (Leader)
♦   Boris Rickelman
♦   Francis Gabarr
♦   Peter Wilson
♦   Freddy ALexander
♦   Chris Green
Double bass
♦   Frank Clarke
♦   Joe Mudele
♦   Arthur Watts
♦ο   Producer: Anders Henriksson
♦ο   Engineers — Jeff Jarratt, Andy Stevens.
Releases information
ο♦   Artwork: Storm Thorgerson/Hipgnosis
AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne; Score: ****
ο♦   Quatermass’ only album is a must~have for prog rock enthusiasts, especially lovers of the keyboard~dominated style which flourished in the early ‘70s. Although there are only three members of the band, their histories are just as colorful as the music they produced. Keyboard player Pete Robinson and bass man Johnny Gustafson met drummer Mick Underwood and founded Episode Six, a band which included Ian Gillan who later fronted Deep Purple. Underwood was also involved with the Outlaws as well as the Herd, only a few years before Peter Frampton arrived. When the band finally formed Quatermass in 1970, they had set their sights on a power rock format which would use Robinson’s keyboards to shape their sound. Both “Black Sheep” and “One Blind Mice” were released as singles which fell mostly on deaf ears, but the band’s sound was equally as moving as the Nice’s repertoire, for example, at around the same time. Quatermass’ sound is far from sounding hollow, isolated, or directionless, but all of the cuts are rather rock~sturdy and instrumentally voluptuous from all points. The string work that swoops in is encompassing, Underwood’s drumming exhibits personality, and the keyboard portions are remarkably striking and distinct. Even Gustafson’s robust vocals work well within the music’s structure, subsiding and ascending when called for, and all of the cuts result in worthy examples of well~built progressive rock, in both ballad and power rock form. Following this album, the band broke up, with Gustafson later doing session work for Kevin Ayers, Steve Hackett, and Ian Hunter, among others, while Robinson found new life within the jazz~prog band Brand X. Beautifully packaged with informative liner notes, Quatermass sounds as resounding today as it did in 1970, and upon hearing it, one can only wonder why it was so overlooked during its release.
ο♦   LP Harvest ~ SHVL 775 (1970, UK)
ο♦   CD Repertoire Records ‎~ RR 4044~C (1990, Germany) With 2 bonus tracks
ο♦   CD Repertoire Records ‎~ REP5087 (2007, UK) As above
Impact:
ο♦   Ritchie Blackmore’s departure from Deep Purple has often been linked with this album: during the recording of Purple’s Stormbringer in 1974, Blackmore’s request to cover “Black Sheep of the Family”.
ο♦         “...fell on stony ground [and] he ended up taking a relative back seat in the studio... Blackmore then followed his own muse by recording it on the Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow solo album in early 1975, backed by members of Deep Purple’s regular support act Elf.”
ο♦   This is considered the pivotal moment that led to Blackmore’s departure.
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Tais Awards & Harvest Prize
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