Feb 8, 2009
TITUS GROAN - TITUS GROAN (DAWN 1970) Japan mastering cardboard sleeve + 3 bonus
Titus Groan first came to prominence at the Hollywood Pop Festival of the weekend beginning May 23rd 1970.The happening, however, is better recalled as the launching pad for Mungo Jerry, whose brand of goodtime skiffle was apparently received with wild enthusiasm; so much so that it carried their subsequent single into the charts. From there it soared to No.1 and became a multi million seller, in turn providing their record label, Dawn, with its biggest success, a fact which was something of a paradox, as it was set up by Pye as an "alternative" outlet, on par with Harvest, Vertigo and RCA's Neon.Instead they began recording, and in October that year, Dawn announced a major release package with albums and maxi singles by Demon Fuzz, Comus and Heron, as well as the collection here, Titus Groan. However, as an added bonus, also included the three tracks which made up the Groan's only single, none of which has previously been on an LP. The top-side was "Open The Door, Homer", a Bob Dylan song also known as "Open The Door, Richard", which the Groans may have picked up from the "Great White Wonder" bootleg.
"Titus Groan" was released the same month as their maxi-single. Consisting of a mere five tracks, it was abundantly clear that the group intended to continue the progressive aspects found on "Liverpool". They were extremely powerful instrumentally, Stuart Cowell's guitar and keyboard work combined perfectly with Tony Priestland's sax, flute, oboe and assorted woodwind, creating, and indeed suggesting, the mock-medieval textures also found in Jethro Tull (albeit, heavier), while John Lee and Jim Toomey provided the supportive bass and drums, particularly on the album's epic, "Hall Of Bright Carvings". Taking its title from the opening chapter of the novel which gave the band its name, it's here Titus Groan come closest to their inspiration as they wage a way through an ambitious, multi-part composition. The repeated theme adds a continuity as the piece shifts in mood, embracing a further Peake reference, "The Burning" on the way. The second side doesn't slouch either, Lee and Priestland offer contrasts on "It Can't Change" and "Fuschia", while "It's All Up With Us" is a collective offering. "An interesting, listening format... effective in live performances... a promising first album" - such remarks contained in the relevant 'NME' album review can only be echoed here..[net]