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20 Jul 2017

Graphite "Chestnut Loke" 1996 (recorded in 1970-74) UK Prog Psych

Graphite "Chestnut Loke" 1996 (recorded in 1970-74) UK Prog Psych


Graphite are another of those 'almost lost forever' bands whose works have been resurrected, this time by the estimable Audio Archives label. Sadly, unlike their long-overdue issue of the second Fantasy album, Chestnut Loke is all a bit ordinary, really. It's difficult to categorise the music, though not in a particularly good way; laid-back rock, but with an English rather than an American approach is the nearest I can get. In other words, this isn't terribly exciting, but doesn't have either the complexity or the melodic strength to really appeal to the prog crowd. It's perfectly pleasant, but that's rather damning it with faint praise, isn't it? The lyrics are of the 'a little too cosmic' variety, too (see: Starflight Over The Skies and A Dragon's Tale, in particular), dating the music almost to the year.

I can't tell for certain, but it looks like this is material that has never been previously released, so it's not an album with bonus tracks, more a new album of various studio recordings. Most of the tracks just drift along pleasantly, with considerable Fender Rhodes input, but both the title track and Freedom feature a bit of the old 'Tron strings, to passable effect, played by Chris Gore. I'm sorry I can't be more positive about this, as I applaud the efforts of labels Like Audio Archives, but it's really not the sort of album that's likely to grab anyone much, I'm afraid. Of its time, really. File under 'play once, then shelve'...........

Graphite were formed at Reading University in the late sixties. They gigged professionally on the rock circuit from 1970 to 1973 supporting many big names of that era such as Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come, Mott The Hoople and evenT-Rex. Amazingly, Graphite got a billing above Queen at a festival in Truro, Cornwall in 1971.

The band's musical approach dwelt on the imaginative use of sleepy mellotron, drifting vocals and spacey guitar effects laced with melancholic overtones, establishing them as exponents of downbeat, hedonistic prog-rock.

Ever present in the line-up were the band's three songwriters, Keith Allen (vocals), Chris Gore (keyboards) and David Hook (guitar) but the rhythm section underwent a succession of changes.

The group recorded a considerable amount of material using a selection of top studios including Rockfield, Command, CBS and Nova Sound but only two singles were ever released.

The first "Gimmie Your Number"/"Chestnut Loke" came out on the BEACON label in 1972 and was followed by "Come Back"/" Good Time Women" issued by EMI in 1974 (the year the band split up) under the curious pseudonym of Sinbad. Much of the previously unreleased material is featured on this release.
by Pete Sarfas.................

*Chris Gore - Mellotron, Organ, Piano
*Dave Hook - Guitar
*Keith Allen - Vocals
*John Jackman - Bass
*Peter Dry - Drums
*Dave Anderson - Bass
*Billy Rankin - Drums (Track 4)

1. Starlight Over The Skies - 4:51
2. Chestnut Loke - 4:20
3. Tide - 10:04
4. Freedom - 3:13
5. A Dragon's Tale - 4:11
6. Dawn - 4:40
7. Set It Free - 3:27
8. Out In The Rain - 3:18
9. Don't You Think It's Kinda Sad - 3:50
10.In Our Country Home - 3:40
11.Evil Arms - 4:51
12.Spring - 8:16
13.Autumn - 5:15
14.She's Gone Away - 4:26
15.I'm Feelin' Low - 3:46
16.Freedom (Reprise) - 2:12

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..