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21 May 2017

Lucifer’s Friend "Banquet" 1974 Germany Prog Jazz Rock






Lucifer’s Friend  "Banquet" 1974 Germany Prog Jazz Rock
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Energetic jazz/rock which is very upbeat and moving. Everything about the albums blows me away and I am very glad I found it, so should you! Are there any weak points you may ask? Granted some 5 star albums have a weak point or two (making it a 4.75 in all honesty, but I round up) but there are no real weak points.......... by Carl floyd fan ............

On Banquet, Lucifer's Friend finally pulled together the many different elements to their sound (prog, soul, jazz, hard rock) into one cohesive and totally distinctive style. This time out, the primary focus of the album is epic prog numbers with complex instrumentation that go through a variety of surprising and ambitious changes in their arrangements. The standout example is the opening track, "Spanish Galleon": this pirate-themed epic starts with a Latin-flavored rock groove, that is given further power by the addition of horns, segues into a lyrical, pirate-themed song section that climaxes with a rousing chorus, takes a left turn into an instrumental portion studded with jazzy solos, and then finishes with a stirring reprise of the song section. The other prog numbers continue in a similar vein, reaching heights of almost orchestral complexity, but working in enough hooks and solid songcraft into the compositions to keep the listener hooked. Another standout in this arena is "Sorrow," a keyboard-based epic that features a lovely midsection where a keyboard solo is accompanied by a lush string arrangement. Banquet also balances out these epics with a pair of shorter, poppier songs that still manage to show off the band's firepower and complexity in their tighter format; the best is "Dirty Old Town," the closing ballad that builds to a jazzy, horn-powered chorus. All in all, Banquet is a fine, underrated prog outing and is worthy of rediscovery by art-rock fanatics. It's an ideal introduction to the sound of Lucifer's Friend......... by Donald A. Guarisco............

 The band has pushed towards prog nature in their music in this album. This album is truly prog. My longtime favorite song is "Sorrow" which has a strong melody and excellent songwriting. I like the way Lawton sings in this track combined with stunning lead guitar with jazzy organ sound. The orchestration as background enriches this track. The incorporation of brass / woodwind instruments in this track has made complex yet enjoyable music. One thing I need to emphasize is the transitions between music segments where different instrument takes the lead on solo (especially guitar and organ) has been created smoothly. The way brass section arranged is totally different with typical brass-based band like CHICAGO or BLOOD SWEAT and TEARS. Probably, the way brass section is arranged reminds me to CHASE.
This album has 5 tracks of which 3 of them were co-written by Lawton and Hesslein. One track is jointly written by Lawton, Hesslein and Horns. One track "Thus Spoke Oberon" is written by Bacardi / O'Brian Docker. The opening track "Spanish Galleon" is composed nicely. Listening to the intro of this track may create an impression of latin- rock music similar to SANTANA's. But when the organ sound enters, it sounds differently.

It's an excellent work by the band. I give FIVE STAR for these 3 tracks for great songwriting and composition: "Spanish Galleon", "Thus Spoke Oberon" and "Sorrow". Overall, I recommend you to have this album in your prog collection. It's a different kind of prog. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia......................

 What a stunning album is Banquet. A truly amazing symphonic album with a jazzy elements and a great brass section. Every track is quite enjoyble to me, but the forte ones are the opening piece Spanish galleon and Sorrow, the longest tracks from here. The incorporation of brass section combined with great keys and guitars and a solid voice of John Lawton made this album to be a masterpiece of the '70's, at least for me. Transitions between music segments where the instruments take the lead are very well done, specially the keys and guitars. After all this album has nothing to do with early works of Lucifer's Friend, witch are more rough, more hevy prog, than this one. Here the sound and the entire album, musicaly speaking is much mature and deserve to be included in top of the most amazing albums of the '70's. So a 5 stars for this great and never old album...........by b_olariu ...................

As I said in my review of the band's third album, the Metal purist's interest in Lucifer's Friend is (probably?) limited to the band's two first albums; the Heavy Metal of the self-titled debut and the equally heavy but at the same time very progressive Where The Groupies Killed The Blues. But the present album, though no longer describable as Metal, is nothing short of brilliant! The material here is every bit as strong as on those earlier great albums but it is very different in nature. This great Prog Rock album is filled to the brim with electric pianos, synthesizers, strings and, particularly, brass arrangements in addition to the usual Rock instruments! All the instruments are exceptionally well played and the vocals are simply outstanding. The British lead vocalist John Lawton was later recruited to join Uriah Heep, but the funny thing is that several of Lucifer's Friend's albums, including the present one, are much better and far more interesting than anything Uriah Heep ever did (with or without Lawton)!

The fact that this band was based in Germany (though John Lawton was British) could make you believe that this is Krautrock. Nothing could be further from the truth. This has a British Symphonic Prog sound to it.

As implied, Banquet is quite different from Lucifer's Friend's earlier albums. This is less heavy and more jazzy (though not at all in a Jazz-Rock/Fusion way ? this is still very much a Rock album. The electric guitars are more concerned with solos than riffs here. Lucifer's Friend were never content to stay within one musical style, but always preferred to move on to new territories with each subsequent album. This is one great album, severely underrated and definitely an excellent addition. The only song that might not be too interesting is the short High-Flying Lady Goodbye.

Very highly recommended!..........by SouthSideoftheSky .................

Ever wondered how that would turn out? Maybe BANQUET isn't the best representation of a ''prog musical'', but I hear a lot of theatre music that sounds so campy it works. Listen to ''Our World Is a Rock and Roll Band'' and try not to imagine ''Chicago'' (the musical, although the band might also come to mind). I also see the high octane dance number in ''High Flying Lady-Goodbye'' and the cheeky finale in ''Dirty Old Town''. Then again, I've performed in numerous community theatre productions so I have that kind of bias.

But with three campy musical numbers, are we still dealing with prog rock? To an extent. ''Thus Spoke Oberon'' is the big prog track both in sound and development. The beautiful piano and orchestra parts bring the pomp while the faster paced middle section most closely depicts the Lucifer's Friend of old; one that can let a mean guitar solo go.

There's also two longer numbers that are more jazz fusion with a good Broadway vibe to them. You can easily dance to the vocal sections, yet there's plenty of space for the musicians and brass orchestra to breathe. Bassist Dieter Horns makes great use of the space; listen to some of the licks in ''Spanish Galleon''. And I have not once mentioned how powerful and dominating the vocals of John Lawton are. Rarely matched in the rock world, Lawton is a terribly underrated vocalist that brings life to the whole album.

It's a ton more enjoyable if you get a mental picture of a Broadway show while you spin BANQUET. Lucifer's Friend as a band came from a heavier rock sound earlier in their career, but they seem to have stripped most of it away for BANQUET. Not head-banging but toe-tapping, and certainly one of the most unique prog rock experiences. I have to restrain the rating though, because the showtune-y sound many of the numbers have might be off putting to many prog fans............by Sinusoid ...............

Anyone who has listened to Lucifer's Friend awesome 1970 debut might have wondered what happened when this masterpiece was being recorded. Lucifer's Friend's 1970 debut was heavy guitar and hammond organ driven hard rock. Here on Banquet we have amazingly catchy Progressive Jazz Rock. With the usuall instruments plus a Horn Section and the Fender Rhodes Piano. This album is a masterpiece this is exactly what i like when it comes to long Jazz Rock pieces with vocals. Spanish Galleon and Sorrow both clock in at over 11 minutes long and they are total ear candy. Everyone in the band shines here listen to the bass playing at the begining of Sorrow. Listen to the guitar and fender rhodes at the begining of Spanish Galleon. John Lawton gives some amazing vocal performances on this album he hits some incredible high notes and some great screams. the band Chicago has been mentioned the only similarity is the Horn Section the only difference is that with Chicago's music the Horn Section is used a lot. This album is much more in the Jazz vein with the Fender Rhodes as one of the main instruments. Another great track here is called Thus Spoke Oberon. This album is ranked my number one favorite Jazz Rock album that features vocals nothing else ive heard comes close. For anyone who likes Brian Auger, Steely Dan, give this a shot!!!!!!!......ByRocky G..............

Line-up / Musicians
- John Lawton / vocal
- Peter Hecht / piano, organ, mood, synthesizer, Fender Rhodes
- Dieter Horns / bass, backing vocals
- Peter Hesslein / guitar, 12 string guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals
- Herbert Bornhold / drums, percussion, backing vocals
Guest musician:
- Herb Geller / Soprano saxophone solo on (1) and flute on (4)

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Spanish Galleon (11:50)
2. Thus Spoke Oberon (6:44)
3. High Flying Lady-Goodbye (3:40)
4. Sorrow (11:36)
5. Dirty Old Town (4:46) 

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