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Refugee

Refugee

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Album Review

Some four years after the demise of the Nice, bassist/vocalist Lee Jackson and drummer Brian Davison finally found a way of profiting from the prog rock gravy train they'd helped set in motion. With Patrick Moraz filling Keith Emerson's capacious boots, they recorded an album that in many ways surpasses anything the Nice ever recorded, and one whose ambition more than matched Emerson's new outfit, ELP. It helped that along with the standard panoply of prog keyboards — organ, piano, clavinet, Mellotron, and Moog — Moraz brought with him a jazz feel that clearly energized the rhythm section. Though there's no shortage of de rigueur complex time signatures here, this is also a band with fire in its belly, nowhere more so than in the last five minutes of the extended "Credo," where Jackson's bass runs and Davison's drumming combine to truly thrilling effect. Jackson's voice has always divided fans between those who find it an appalling croak, and those who relished its wry phrasing, but it has never sounded more impassioned than it does here. Perhaps the instrumentals "Papillon" and "Ritt Mickley" are a little too pleased with themselves to strike an emotional response. Yet elsewhere, despite the fearsome complexity of Moraz's arrangements and the odd lapse into portentousness, there is usually a soaring melody line to quell any doubts. All told Refugee's only album delivered enough to suggest that they could have delivered at least another two killer blows before punk finished them off. In the event, it functioned purely as a convenient shop window for Yes, who were in the market for a new keyboard player after Rick Wakeman's departure.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s

You have to feel for bassist/vocalist Lee Jackson and drummer Brian "Blinky" Davison. By the end of 1969, the three years of hard work they'd put in as the engine room of the Nice were beginning to pay dividends. From being P.P. Arnold's backing band, through the early days of psychedelia, they had gone on to lay the foundations for what would become known to future generations as progressive rock, and had begun playing prestigious gigs with full symphony orchestras. But Jackson and Davison must...
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Refugee, Refugee
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