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10 Jan 2017

The Greatest Show On Earth “The Going’s Easy” 1970 UK Prog Brass Rock













The Greatest Show On Earth “The Going’s Easy” 1970 UK Prog Brass Rock
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The second album of TGSOE, released fairly shortly after their debut, is a bit different than the brass-heavy debut. The group is now only a sextet as the Repertoire reissue of the album mentions indicates as only Hanson is mentioned from the brass band, but we get some sax from one other blower. The train-artwork is much tamer, which is wise regarding the band’s name and the album still out on Harvest and reissued by Repertoire in the early 90’s, but I find the sound a bit poor>> remastering needed. 

The album is definitely more appealing to hard prog rockers, especially after an intriguing distorted intro of the 9-min opener Borderline promises and they convince in the UK proto-prog realm. The other lengthy track Love Magnet is definitely in the JR/F territory with some almost-perfect lines and might sound at times as Van Morrison’s Young Lovers and at other excellent Chicago 

But the group was still trying to pump some potential hits like Magic Woman Touch (with some very unwise/ill-advised sound effects), or the energetic Story Times, the rocking- rolling Leader and the album closer piano-dominated sing-along (no doubt it was designed as such in concerts) Tell The Story, which was on the accompanying single’s B- side. As a bonus track comes the single A-side non-album track Mountain Song, which doesn’t really add much. 

The band would tour until the half of next year before disbanding, domestic lack of success being the main reason. Indeed in the mid-70’s, their record company gave the band another try at success by reissuing both albums together, mostly on the band’s strengths and The Hollies’ successful cover of Magic Woman Touch. But as far as this writer is concerned, TGSOE was not destined to become a long running group, but this second album seems a better effort than their debut as it is much more even and progressive. But none are essential to a proghead, and unless you have a knack for brass-rock, they will stay that way…..by Sean Trane …… 
After their debut album “Horizons” I did not think much could better that release and for some reason I think they just may have done this with “The Going’s Easy”. Another superbly fashioned album full of excellent and complex progressive elements. This albums best track is “Magic Woman Touch” and for those who are also Hollies fans will recognize this from their “Romany” album (If anyone out there honestly owns both alnums please contact me ! ). This album is simply killer from the opening number to the last track. The Greatest Show On Earth’s two albums are both stunning and need to be in your growing Prog rock collection. Essentially this album is a a full bodied cup of java that never really sleeps!… by loserboy …….. 
As had been the case with the Greatest Show on Earth’s (GSOE) debut long-player, Horizons (1970), the follow-up, Going’s Easy (1970), made very little impact despite their originality and certainly better-than-average material. The band’s rather auspicious origins were the invention of EMI Records subsidiary Harvest, who set out to manufacture a British version of Blood, Sweat & Tears or Chicago – both of whom successfully fused a brass and woodwind section into the framework of a rock & roll combo. After a less-than-stellar initial outing, GSOE returned to the drawing board and reconvened with a disc of longer and more jammed-out sides. They had also been listening to their stateside counterparts. The extended track “Borderline” is a group-credited composition that seems to lift several distinct features from the David Clayton Thomas version of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Colin Horton Jennings’ (vocals/flute/guitar) bluesy lead vocals seem to practically mimic Thomas’. In fact, GSOE even goes one better than Blood, Sweat & Tears with an exceedingly heavier rock vibe. The acoustic and lilting “Magic Touch Woman” as well as the dark, pastoral “Storytimes & Nursery Rhymes” include some well-crafted harmonies that could easily be mistaken for latter-era Hollies. This is particularly interesting as the Hollies actually scored a minor hit with “Magic Touch Woman.” “Love Magnet” is another lengthy track that features some of the band’s best ensemble work. Mick Deacon’s (vocal/keyboard) electric organ solo is especially noteworthy, giving GSOE a really jazzy workout. Lacking consumer or industry support, GSOE disbanded by mid-1971. Even while the group was able to sell out shows throughout the rest of Europe, the total lack of interest back home inevitably sealed their fate…..by Lindsay Planer……allmusic………… 

The Greatest Show On Earth was an intriguing octet who produced some rather original music in their three year lifespan, including two albums both released on EMI’s Harvest label. Now, Esoteric give us the opportunity to hear these two light-hearted albums once again. 

The Going’s Easy, their second and final album relased in late 1970. The light and airy Magic Woman Touch became later a hit single by The Hollies. Storytimes & Nursery Rhymes features some of the band’s best vocal performances and can be considered to be the highlight on this album on which once again strong progressive rock elements come to the surface. 

The re-release of the second album contains two bonus tracks: Mountain Song and the single version of Magic Woman Touch. However, these tracks have no added value to the original album. Unfortunately this album had little to non-consumer or industry interest which resulted in the split up of the band in 1971. After the decease some of the musicians started to work with acts like Vinegar Joe, Graham Parker, The Darts, Suzi Quatro, Shaking Stevens and The Marmalade. 
by Henri Strik……….. 
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH were one of the more 
stylistically original signings to EMI’s legendary Progressive label Harvest. 
The band was formed in 1968 and featured brothers Garth and Norman Watt-Roy 
(who played guitar and bass respectively), vocalist, guitarist and flautist 
Colin Horton-Jennings, Mick Deacon on Organ, a horn section of Dick Hanson, Tex 
Philpotts and Ian Aitcheson and drummer Ron Prudence. The band began to take on 
board more “progressive” influences, incorporating rock, jazz and acoustic 
music into their sound. 
An impressive live act, Greatest Show on Earth 
released their debut album in February 1970 adorned in a startling Hipgnosis 
designed sleeve. “The Going’s 
Easy”, released in November 1970, was an equally competent work that included 
the excellent rock track ‘Borderline’ and the acoustic ‘Magic Woman Touch’ 
(later covered by The Hollies). Upon the band’s demise Mike Deacon joined 
Vinegar Joe (fronted by Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer), Garth Watt-Roy went on 
to perform and record with Fuzzy Duck. Norman Watt-Roy and John Turnball later 
became founder members of Ian Dury’s backing group, The Blockheads. 
This Esoteric Recordings reissue features two bonus 
tracks, has been newly re-mastered from the original Harvest master tapes and 
features a booklet that fully restores all original album artwork with a new 
essay…………. 

Line-up / Musicians 
- Mike Deacon / keyboards 
- Dick Hanson / horns 
- Colin Horton-Jennings / vocals, guitar, drums 
- Tex Philpotts / saxophone 
- Ron Prudence / congas, drums 
- Garth Watt-Roy / vocals, guitar 
- Norman Watt-Roy / vocals, bass 

Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. Borderline 
2. Magic Woman Touch 
3. Storytimes & Nursery Rhymes 
4. The Leader 
5. Love Magnet 
6. Tell The Story 
Bonus Track on CD REP 4483-WP 
7. Mountain Song 

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