Jan 30, 2009
RAMASES - SPACE HYMNS (VERTIGO 1971) cardboard sleeve + 4 bonus
Born in the late thirties, in Sheffield, England, Martin Raphael worked as a PT instructor in the army after serving a conscription period and after that started a lucrative business as a central heating salesman in Scotland. One day, whilst in his car he claimed to have had a vision from the Egyptian Pharaoh god Ramases, who informed him that he was actually the re incarnation of this deity and that his duty on earth was to inform the world the truth about the universe. (!!!!!)
The next step for Martin Raphael was to change his name to that of his "original" self, Ramases and try to get himself a recording contract so that he could preach his views via the musical world. Incredibly so, he managed to obtain a recording contract with CBS and released a single (CBS 3717) in 1968 together with his wife under the moniker Ramses And Selket. The tracks featured were Crazy One with Mind's Eye on the B-side.
In 1970, Ramases signed a deal with Vertigo, which was the progressive branch of Phillips. Recordings for an album took place at Strawberry Studios in Stockport. Owned by the future members of 10CC, this is what probably gave this album the cult status it currently has. Four members of this group (which would be formed in 1972) played and most definitely had a hand in the musical input to the album, They were Eric Stewart, Lol Creme, Kevin Godley and Graham Gouldman. The album had a lavish cover, which folded out into a large cardboard poster, designed by Roger Dean.
Space Hymns was released on the Vertigo label in 1971, and is a rather strange sounding album for this label as it possesses none of the normal musical traits usually characteristic to Vertigo. Musically speaking it sounds somewhat folksy having a strong hippy commune feel, very different to the the jazz tinged bands or the heavy/hard rock bands that characterized this label. The album created a certain amount of hype within certain rock circles especially with those who were fans of the more psychedelic leaning style of progressive rock. The main areas of popularity were England and Germany were there was always a certain amount of affinity for rock bands who tried to fuse their music with certain cults especially Middle Eastern religions....